My name is Brett Hammerman, and I’m a senior at The Dalton School in Manhattan, New York. In 3rd grade, I began playing guitar and immediately fell deeper into my already existing love of music. I was hooked on the instrument: I spent countless hours, gaining calluses and all, dedicated to improving my technique. Soon after I learned the guitar, I began songwriting, and continue to use it as a creative outlet in my life. However, this is only one side of my identity; my zest for politics, conflict resolution and civic engagement is another. I have worked for a congressman, volunteered at organizations geared towards increasing political involvement among citizens of all ages, debated everything from whether the US should end arms sales to Saudi Arabia to whether the deployment of anti-missile systems is in South Korea’s best interest as a member on my school’s Public Forum debate Team, and represented nations in committees through Model UN.
But, a question that has been nagging at me, is: In what ways are these passions of mine -- music and politics -- related? It took me little time to realize that music, as an art form, has long served as a vehicle for activism. Musicians have historically used songs to protest the status quo and comment on current events that pique my interest. This website was created not just to explore this question of the impact of the message in our music, but also to contextualize how those messages go further to fuel social change.