Music Made for Veterans – Rafi Sebastian
Standing in the freezing cold and pouring Indiana rain, Rafi Sebastian waited front-row in a sea of Garth Brooks fans for his dream to become a reality. When the moment was perfect, Rafi took out a T-shirt printed with the title of his song, “Be So Proud America” along with a CD and handed it to the country legend who was reaching for the crowd.
“It’s been my dream for Garth Brooks to sing my song since 1991,” Rafi said, “His voice would be perfect for it.”
Although the singer has yet to call Rafi, he remains hopeful that someday he will, and that the money they make together will go towards Veterans of America.
Rafi, who was born in Lebanon, ridden by civil war at the time, came to the United States when he was 21. “My real home is America,” he said with a smile.
He was an orphan and grew up playing music, picking up a guitar when he was 15. He looked up to the early to mid-seventies band Deep Purple, who are considered the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock. They are known for their song “Smoke on the Water”.
Rafi also idolized Carlos Santana, a Mexican and American musician who fused rock and Latin American jazz. He began dabbling in Latin style music himself.
“But I also love listening to country music,” Rafi said.
For Rafi, music was always just a hobby. When he was younger, he even played in a band in San Francisco for fun.
About 15 years ago he made his first and only CD, Acoustic Heaven (available for download on itunes), mostly representing his Latin style taste with guitar instrumentals. On the CD, however, one song stood out from the rest as his proudest accomplishment: “Be So Proud America”.
“It was like saying, ‘Thank you America for putting up with me’,” Rafi laughed.
On the CD, the country rock song is performed by Robbie Wyckoff, who in 2010 was asked by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd to join “The Wall” tour. Rafi hired the band and singer to play the song, but was also featured as the rhythm guitarist.
According to him, this is the perfect song for America to come together to, especially now. It wasn’t until about seven years ago he made the decision to dedicate the song to fallen soldiers and first responders.
“I used to work with an ex-army friend who crashed his car and died,” Rafi said on a more serious note, “I wanted to dedicate the song to him and his friends.”
Rafi admitted writing the lyrics to the song was the hardest part. “I’m not much of a lyricist,” he said.
It took a couple months for Rafi to write and compose the song, but the finished product was much more than he could have ever dreamed of.
Now, the dream is to have it sung by someone big in the country music scene to generate a lot of revenue. “This song has to get out,” Rafi said, “Whoever ends up singing the song, my share will go to a local veteran’s organization. I’m not going to give up hope.”
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