Five For Fighting Biography
Ondrasik's first album Message for Albert was released by EMI in 1997. Capitol Records re-released this album after the success of America Town.
In 2000, Five For Fighting signed with Columbia Records and released America Town on September 26, 2000. The album made little impact, but "Superman (It's Not Easy)" became an anthem after the September 11 attacks. Ondrasik would perform the song at The Concert for New York City in late 2001. Five for Fighting contributed a live performance version of his song "Superman" to the charity album Live in the X Lounge IV. While America Town failed to make the top 50 of the Billboard 200 album charts, its consistent sales eventually led to its going platinum.
His third album, The Battle for Everything, debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 in February 2004. Two years later the album Two Lights was released; this became his first career Top 10 album, debuting at #8 on the Billboard 200 in August 2006. Its first single "The Riddle" became Ondrasik's third career Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #40. A video of the second single, World, has been used to raise funds for various charities (see Philanthropy, below).
In 2005 he recorded the song "Penguin Lament" for Sandra Boynton's Dog Train book and CD. In 2007, he again collaborated with Boynton, performing "Big Band Sound" on the Blue Moo album.
On the weekend of January 27/28, 2007, John Ondrasik filled in for legendary radio host Casey Kasem on the American Top 20 and American Top 10 radio programs. On AT20, he counted down his own hit "World," and on AT10 he counted down his own hit "The Riddle."
In March 2007, Ondrasik began appearing in a series of short videos profiling Republican presidential contenders in an interview format at gather.com. So far he has interviewed Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.
John Ondrasik writes and co-writes music for other artists' CD's. Those artists include The Backstreet Boys and Josh Groban. He also writes and co-writes for movie soundtracks. Those movies include August Rush, We Were Soldiers, Chicken Little, Everyone's Hero, Jimmy Neutron.
In 2008 Ondrasik wrote and recorded the song "Brothers in Arms" for the award winning documentary film Brothers at War. "Brothers at War is an honest glimpse into the reality of our troops and their families. I wrote the song two hours after seeing the film," Ondrasik said. "The final production you hear is the demo I recorded that night in my living room, accompanied by a string section Lee Holdridge composed and directed a year later." Ondrasik collaborated with the film's production team of Jake Rademacher (Director/Producer), Norman Powell (Producer), Gary Sinise (Executive Producer) and David Scantling (Executive Producer) on the project.
In May 2009, Ondrasik announced on his Myspace page that people will be able to submit their ideas for the title of his next album. Fans can submit their title ideas to Ondrasik through email, and they will be considered when Ondrasik chooses his next album title.
On July 17th, 2009 Ondrasik announced on the Five for Fighting website that his fifth studio album will be called Slice and will be released on October 20th, 2009.
On July 21st, 2009, the first single from the album, called "Chances", was released for download.
In August 2009, Ondrasik announced via Twitter that the "Chances" music video has been shot, and will be released in late August 2009. According to the music video website "Video Static", the "Chances" music video is being directed by Steven Drypolcher (Beyonce, Kanye West, Boyslikegirls) and produced by Partizan.
In the spring of 2007, Ondrasik created the first video charity website. The website allows fans to upload videos answering the central question, "What Kind of World do You Want?" (taken from his hit song, "World"). The charities the site raises money for are: Augie's Quest, Autism Speaks, Fisher House Foundation, Save the Children, Operation Homefront and several other charities and foundations.
Ondrasik, under the auspices of the USO, performed for service members on a USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour of Guantanamo Bay and other bases in Cuba in February/March 2007. He followed up with another USO tour in November 2007 of Japan, Guam and Hawaii. "I am struck by the sacrifices the troops and their families make for our way of life and I felt was important to show my support," says Ondrasik.
In November 2007, Ondrasik coordinated the release of 13 free songs for US military members called CD for the Troops. Ondrasik worked with AAFES to deliver more than 200,000 CDs to US troops around the globe and to offer the music from the CD as free MP3 downloads from www.aafes.com. The songs donated include:
* Billy Joel - Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
* Brooks and Dunn - "Keep on Swinging"
* Five for Fighting - "100 Years"
* The Fray - "How to Save a Life"
* Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band - "Sweet Home Chicago"
* Goo Goo Dolls - "Feel the Silence (Remix)"
* Jewel - "Hands"
* Josh Groban - "February Song"
* Los Lonely Boys - "Heaven"
* Maroon 5 - "She Will Be Loved"
* Nik Kershaw - "Wouldn't It Be Good"
* Melissa Etheridge - "Come to My Window"
* Montgomery Gentry - "My Town"
* The Neville Brothers - "Brothers"
* Sarah McLachlan - "Wintersong"
Any US military member is eligible to download the music through AAFES.
In November 2008, Ondrasik released another free CD for US military members. "CD for the Troops II" has 14 free songs and was released on Thanksgiving. 200,000 CD's were pressed for the release and will again be available online at www.aafes.com. The songs donated include:
* 3 Doors Down - When I'm Gone
* Daughtry - Home
* Five For Fighting - Freedom Never Cries
* Good Charlotte - I Don't Want To Be In Love
* Gretchen Wilson - California Girls
* Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft
* Joe Perry - Shakin' My Cage
* Josh Groban - Machine
* Jude - I Think It's Time
* Keith Urban - Everybody
* Maroon 5 - Won't Go Home Without You
* Roy Orbison - In Dreams
* Alan Jackson - Where I Come From
* Trace Adkins - Fightin' Words
He also performs on the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and has done various events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Augie's Quest, raising awareness and funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
In 2008, he got involved in the musical movement of spreading awareness about current slavery and human trafficking by performing a live version of "World" for the rockumentary, Call+Response.
The live CD and DVD released on November 6, 2007 comes in 3 formats: Live CD, Live Back Country DVD, and Live Back Country Special Edition CD/DVD. Back Country was recorded live in concert in Orlando. The Live CD includes "100 Years," "Freedom Never Cries," "Superman," "Two Lights," "The Riddle" as well as other fan favorites. The "Back Country" DVD, in addition to the live concert footage, features all of the Five For Fighting music videos, an interview with the inspiration for the song "Two Lights", charity videos from www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com, and Five For Fighting photo montage.