Robbie Schaefer, Founder and Executive Director
My mom could have just moved the pots and pans . . . then everything might have turned out differently. But it didn’t. The pots and pans were, at the age of 2 or so, my first instrument, and wisely or not, both my mother and grandmother kept them in the bottom kitchen cabinets where they could be easily reached. I know it’s a common talent at that age, but, by all accounts, I was pretty damn good.
My family moved to Madras, India for a while, where we got a dog we named Sandy. Ever a performer at heart, I would coerce Sandy and my younger sister into putting on backyard plays or circuses for the rest of the family. Rehearsals were mostly good, but Sandy suffered from a bit of stage fright, or possibly indifference, and so the performances were often more flawed than I’d envisioned. A few years later we moved to Geneva, Switzerland where, at the age of 7 and to the relief of all, I traded the 10-inch sauté pan for a guitar. It has been my companion and confidant ever since. I started writing songs soon thereafter. That most of the songs were entitled “Girl” or some variation thereof didn’t seem to bother me or anyone else. Hey, I was 7.
Between the ages of 7 and 25, I did some stuff. Somewhere in there my grandmother told me I was an Artist, as though she was stating that the sky was blue. No one had ever said that to me that before, but I’m pretty sure life hasn’t been the same since.
Right around 1991, I found myself in a band with three dear friends. We called ourselves Eddie From Ohio, and for about 16 years we sang, toured incessantly, became Waffle House connoisseurs, recorded 9 cds (as they were called back then), and generally had a pretty good time of it. We still play when we’re moved to, or whenever we start missing one another, which is more often than you might think.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, I recorded a couple of solo cds, In The Flesh (2003) and Strange and Lovely World (2008), and a kids and family cd called Songs For Kids Like Us (2006).
In 2007, I got a gig at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, hosting a daily show and being the Music Director for the kids channel, Kids Place Live. You know when you’re a kid and you play air guitar on your tennis racket and announce yourself into a hairbrush? It was kinda like that, and I kept playing radio until 2012.
And now? I spend time being what I am—an Artist—writing and recording music, playing shows, and, of course, running OneVoice, traveling around the world helping to remind kids of their inherent creativity, and of just how far that creativity can carry them and the world. It is absolutely what I was born to do.
I am blessed with three teenaged boys–artists, all—and my wife, whose voice sounds like Truth itself to me, and we live in a house full of instruments. We often find ourselves sitting around the living room with guitars, banjos, cajons, and ukuleles all pulled out. Someone sits down at the piano we inherited from my grandparents, and sometimes, we even break out the pots and pans.