Episode 17 - Benjamin Lerner
Songwriter, pianist and rapper Benjamin Lerner is the great grandson of Irving Berlin - the songwriter of “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.” Lerner has continued his family’s musical legacy, first as an award-winning classical pianist, then as a promising rapper who collaborated with Raekwon and Mac Miller. But his hip-hop career was halted when Lerner started using hard drugs, eventually becoming a full-blown heroin addict. Now four years sober, Lerner devotes much of his time to helping others through the recovery process. He talks to VERSED about his new album Clean, a fearless narration of his journey from piano prodigy to IV drug addict to recovery advocate - all set to a unique combination of solo piano and rapped vocals. PLUS: We talk to Mollie Farrell from HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. At the end of the episode, we’re joined by Loras Schissel of the Library of Congress, who explains why it’s never too early to create an archive of your life as a music creator. +ASCAP has partnered with HeadCount to make sure your vote, and your voice, are heard. Join the ASCAP Citizen campaign - make sure you're registered to vote today! +Visit the ASCAP Legacy page to find out how your music can benefit your successors, long after you wrote it. +Read more about the Irving Berlin collection at the Library of Congress.