If you are professional musician who marries a girl from Milwaukee, expect to spend more than a little of your time in her beloved hometown. In fact, anticipate working there too. Singer/songwriter Wil Seabrook has experienced this being hitched to Nicolet High School alum, actress, screenwriter, filmmaker, photographer and director, Ryann Liebl (Ryann London).
Seabrook’s been releasing records since 2000 when he inked a deal with Maverick Records, but found fame on the 2005 reality music TV show "Rock Star INXS." After his elimination, he quickly carved a reputation as a legitimate talent in his own right, who now uses his music to fight for human rights.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has inspired Seabrook to create music based on the 30 Precepts, most recently releasing a single and video (directed by Liebl) called "Roam" that is based on the principle "The Freedom to Move."
I picked Seabrook’s brain about Milwaukee, reality television, his latest endeavors and what’s next.
Catch Seabrook playing an intimate show at Bay View’s Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave., on Aug. 8 at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $7.
OnMilwaukee.com: Since I've known your wife, Ryann for over 20 years … I'm assuming she is partly what brought you to Milwaukee for this upcoming gig. You are from North Carolina and reside in L.A., but has Milwaukee become a second hometown for you, of sorts? Either way, tell me what you LOVE about Mil-town.
Wil Seabrook: Yes, Ryann is the reason we're here as opposed to somewhere else ... I love it here! People are really friendly and down to earth and because everyone is cooped up in the winter they're outdoors all summer, which makes for amazing live music and a great festival scene. I actually grew up in Europe (Germany) as a kid and so the Midwest reminds me of that in a lot of great ways. Feels like home in that sense.
OMC: You are here for an intimate show at Sugar Maple on Aug. 8, what can Milwaukee fans expect?
WS: The acoustic shows are fun because it's all about communicating each song in a really personal way. I throw in a few cover songs that I love, as well. I always tell people that I play two kinds of songs – songs I wrote and songs I wish I had written. So this show will be a little of both.
OMC: What's your "I gotta do that" and/or "I've gotta have that" when you hit Milwaukee soil?
WS: Great steak is a must. The food just tastes better here! I love being right on the water, too. Walks and running on the shoreline are amazing.
OMC: Your new video single for the song "Roam" off your latest EP "Empire of One" was inspired by inspired by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights precept "The Freedom To Move." That's pretty heavy stuff. Can you go into this a little more and detail what that means to you?
WS: I was invited by a friend to help with some of the music for public service announcements that talk about each human rights precept in the Declaration – you can watch them at humanrights.com, they're beautiful! – and I fell in love with the whole concept.
I come from a family of teachers and educators and I believe in the power of telling people useful and helpful information that they can apply in their own lives. You change the world by changing one person's viewpoint at a time. This isn't about being preachy or heavy – it's about celebrating what's best in the world and reminding people that we need to be looking out for each other.
OMC: Tying in with your passion for human rights, you have created a non-profit called "Rock for Human Rights" (R4HR). This is a pretty incredible undertaking. How did you come up with this concept? Tell me in a nutshell the gist of what you are doing with this organization and your new band, Empire of One.
WS: The non-profit came out of the work I did for the PSAs and falling in love with wanting to share the message with as many people as possible. The concept is to tour around and play live shows and hand out simple booklets that explain each human rights precept in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in simple language that anyone can understand. If everyone knows these rights exist, it's a lot harder to be reasonable about situations or governments that don't respect them. It all starts with simply raising awareness in a fun, non-preachy way.
OMC: How can your fans get involved with R4HR?
WS: You can find out more at rockforhumanrights.org and contact us. We'll put you to work!
LG: On a less serious note … you know I have to bring up "Rock Star INXS." What was that like for you – to be battling for a spot in a band on national television? Did it mirror the L.A. audition process at all? Would you do it again?
WS: It was a strange but interesting experience and I learned a lot about how TV works. I was a little naive going in and initially turned the show down, but Mark Burnett called me at home on a Sunday afternoon and said, "I really want you on my show," so it was hard to turn that down! The cool thing about it is that the guy who won – who was my roommate on the show – was the person who I feel wanted it the most. He wasn't necessarily the best singer or performer but he would have given his kidney to get the gig and there's something pretty cool about him winning because of that.
For me, I realized that I'm not someone who would be satisfied singing someone else's music. I was definitely a fish out of water. There's a YouTube video of me performing and that outfit is something pretty special...
OMC: What's next after Milwaukee for you? And when can we expect you back?
WS: We're talking about touring every summer through the Midwest. Also working on more consistent tours in California and we just had an offer to tour in Europe. (It) would be amazing to show my family where I grew up so I'm exploring that possibility, too. I love Milwaukee and I definitely plan on coming back again and again!
Lindsay Garric is a Milwaukee native who calls her favorite city home base for as long as her lifestyle will allow her. A hybrid of a makeup artist, esthetician, personal trainer and entrepreneur all rolled into a tattooed, dolled-up package, she has fantasies of being a big, bad rock star who lives in a house with a porch and a white picket fence, complete with small farm animals in a version of Milwaukee that has a tropical climate.
A mishmash of contradictions, colliding polar opposites and a dash of camp, her passion is for all pretty things and the products that go with it. From makeup to workouts, food to fashion, Lindsay has a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends and is super duper excited to share that and other randomness from her crazy, sexy, gypsy life with the readers of OnMilwaukee.com.