Singer/songwriter Doug Levitt specializes in war zones. Initially working as an overseas reporter for outlets like CNN and MSNBC, he'd gather firsthand accounts from people in Rwanda, Iran and Bosnia.Singer/songwriter Doug Levitt specializes in war zones. Initially working as an overseas reporter for outlets like CNN and MSNBC, he'd gather firsthand accounts from people in Rwanda, Iran and Bosnia. But now the Washington, D.C., native is "reporting" on conflicts of a different kind.
Four years ago, after returning to the United States, Levitt boarded a Greyhound bus with a bag and a guitar and crossed America for six weeks. He interviewed other travelers—many of them armed service veterans—and began writing songs based on stories of poverty and sticky social issues. He performed in bus terminals and at political rallies and city meetings. When he returned home, he burned some CDs of the songs and wrote a book, "The Greyhound Diaries," published by Dogged Pony. Then he did it all again. And again.
"I'm political to the extent my music reflects what people are feeling and speaks to the conflicts of the moment," Levitt says. "I write on our human portrait. We're dealing with a different war here."
Levitt has since created a Web series that features his music and narrative accounts on douglevitt.com, a home for his thoughts on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and hopeful musings on America's shifting political climate. His support of the Democratic party has also lead to a unique way to share his music: He is a surrogate for the Barack Obama campaign and has stumped for the presidential candidate when he was unable to make an appearance at rallies himself.
"I consider myself a musician first, but there's a shift toward being a multiplatform artist," the 36-year-old says. Levitt has been moving forward with licensing opportunities with the help of powerhouse lawyer Ken Hertz (Will Smith, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera) and is in talks with TV producer Bryn Freedman ("TMZ," A&E's "Intervention") about bringing "The Greyhound Diaries" to cable. He has already released a "Greyhound Diaries" EP, produced by David Henry (Guster, Josh Rouse) and is planning to release a full-length by September—just in time for election season.