Hello friends! My name is Michael Darby. I am that crazy Dad who turned down a Masters Degree from Harvard to teach my children Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi and of course English! I'm that ridiculous Dad who found a way to work directly and indirectly with the 44th and 45th President of the United States. I'm that preposterous Dad who beat an NBA player in basketball and motivated Bill Gates to put my business card in his wallet. My hand has been raised at the Olympic Training Center where I earned a victory over one of the world’s best Greco Roman Wrestlers and I know how to balance 200-pound rocks. 20 United States Governors, The World Bank and even a member of the United Nations supports my work. NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBS, MTV, CNN, VH1 and FOX NEWS have acted as underpinning components toward my altruistic efforts. I accepted an invitation from The CCSD anti-bullying/anti-cyberbullying committee to help oversee more than 320,000 students regarding safe learning environments. My favorite subject is neuroscience and I stand 6'6" tall! Additionally, I am just a regular guy who shares many of the same dreams most people have. To love, to be loved, to have a family and to help repair hope for those of us who have lost it. I grew up in a small town in Northern California. I am a small town guy with those big city dreams. The story you are about to read is a story of hope, perseverance, and the understanding that it is not what we get, but what we give that makes us who we are.
I was 18 years old. I had 65 dollars in my pocket. There was no way out. Like many abused teenagers, I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to hurt my father. It could have been my last day. My Dad pinned me to the floor with a coffee table. He smashed my head into our steel fireplace and then threw his recliner chair injuring me. Even though I was ranked number one in the Redwood Empire in high school wrestling I was emotionally and physically broken. Hope is a commodity for children. For some of us, that's all we have. My hope had been fiscally and emotionally deduced to a days labor at a part time job. Something really bad was about to happen. As I walked toward the other side of the law fight or flight said fly. Run Michael run! My mother followed me to Ukiah's greyhound bus station violently crying. She chased the bus begging me not to go. Two days later I would spend my first night homeless where I slept in Seattle’s South Lake Union Park. I didn't really realize what I had done until I took my first step off that last chance bus. I was free from hate, but I was alone. Absolutely alone. The stress from my childhood cultivated a student who barely graduated from high school. Confidence was just a word I read about. I was a, "Lost cause, loser, pi** ant, tweedled dumb and tweedled dumber, all you will grow up to be is a loser who digs ditches." I would say more but my children and your children might read this.
The only people that understand the Seattle rain our the people who are homeless in Seattle. After a few weeks of living off the land I found myself standing underneath a two story apartment complex on Queen Anne Hill. I was cold. I was shaking. I was crying. An older lady on the first floor kept pulling her curtain back, looking at me with great concern. I figured she was going to call the police. So, I just stood there waiting for them to show up. But I was wrong, she called the landlord. Their names, Paul and Nancey Narling. After a five minute conversation, they gave me a job and let me stay in one of their vacant apartments. Some people out there just work for God! Soon I would walk in balance and my Mom would help me enroll at Evergreen State in Washington. Somehow, I graduated with a scholarship presented by Ron Sims, deputy secretary of the United States of America in 2 years and 3 months with a four year degree. The deputy secretary modeled and demonstrated superlative leadership, encouraging me during my formative years through these words, "Michael Darby's efforts will carry a thoughtful and inspirational message globally." I was 20 years old with bachelor’s degree. Trust me, I was just as surprised as anyone with this success. How could this happen? My whole life I was verbally and physically abused. I was told that I was stupid and "a lost cause", and daily that I was "not good enough." I think the reason I did so well in college was because I chose the best part of me. I chose the part of me that loves. Everyone has their own story, and yes, I was told that I was stupid; but many people hear those same words every day. Look at Herbert Hoover. He was an orphan raised with great adversity and still managed to become President of the United States. Our trials really can define who we are in a positive way if we just say, "Love and inclusion are more important to me then hate and discrimination". Discrimination has been one of man’s most embarrassing inventions. For example, “In 1937, the seven-year old Ray Charles was sent to St. Augustine, Florida to attend what was then known as the Florida School for the Blind. The school was strictly segregated, dividing males and females as well as African Americans and whites.”
College was this impervious crescendo of events; a carnival of success and confusion. I found myself producing, directing, and writing music videos and documentaries; some of which have been broadcasted on MTV, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and Evening Magazine. I am an entertainer at heart, and with this novice success there was no turning back. I wanted to experience and learn everything I could regarding the music biz., so, even though I had all this going on, young ambition would be the conduit in adding radio to a larger entertainment summation.
Terrestrial radio would unreservedly change my life. Before I knew it, I would become a morning show personality on KUBE 93.3 FM, the number one radio station in Seattle. When college ended, the craft took me to Wild 94.9 in San Francisco, KZSU 90.1 Stanford radio in Palo Alto and Power 106 in Los Angeles. Radio opened up many doors for me. The medium gave me the chance to work with such stars as Donald Trump, Michael Jordan, Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Cindy Crawford, Robin Williams, Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Carmen Electra, Mike Tyson, Shaquille O'Neal, Ken Griffey Jr., Drew Carey, Bill Gates, Olympic athletes, politicians and many others. The power of radio still fascinates me! Success was great, but it was foreign to me. I was not sure how to handle it at such a young age. As I searched for humility during those accomplishments, I found myself lost. I felt a little like British scientist Sir Isaac Newton, plotting how I was going to lock myself in my bedroom. Was I going crazy, or did I just need to ask myself some more serious questions? What was my purpose in life? Did I have a destiny? Not to be too dramatic, but did it even matter if I was here? After many months of contemplation, I came to the conclusion, that of course I have a destiny. We all have a powerful calling in life. I really believe we are all here for a reason. No matter how big or small that reason maybe I'm confident of every single person's uniquely individual and collective destinies to serve and help each other, and the world in which we live.
My individual plan was to help by sharing my music. Ever since 4th grade, I have had this dream of writing positive music and since I was doing so well in the entertainment industry, I thought to myself one day," You need to go for it!" And I was right, I did need to go for it. I mean I had a real dream! I was no Martin Luther King, Jr. ready to lead an American civil rights movement, but I had a heart filled with hope and direction. Not everyone receives these blessings. I have had many friends who graduated from college and still had no idea what they were going to do. Who am I to know in my heart what I am supposed to do with my life and walk away from it? I know we all fall short sometimes, but this was a time period in my life when I felt strong, loved and optimistic. So, it was time to make it happen! At that point I recorded a live album at the USC Massman Theatre in Los Angeles. Then I was off to the races. I toured the United States and Japan for eight years. From these experiences I had the opportunity to perform and sell thousands of records in every state except Alaska and Hawaii. (We can add Hawaii now! Let's make it happen Alaska.) I performed for about one hundred thousand people each year. Some of the highlights included working on the song" Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" with Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera, performing at VH1 in New York, performing in major market radio stations, and private celebrity gigs. During these tours I was also recognized by the John Lennon Song writing contest and nominated for "Music Video Of The Year" by the Los Angeles Music Awards. Additionally, my music took me to The Super Bowl! Hello! : ) The end of this eight year tour was spent in Japan where I realized I was getting older. Not old for music, but for my other dream.
Yeah buddy, I forgot to tell you guys God gave me two dreams! Every good story has a surprise in it. This is my surprise. The other dream, to wrestle at the Olympic level and win. So even though I had a great deal of momentum with my music, I could not deny the dream God had given me to wrestle. With great veracity, I can tell you, I did not think I could win at the Olympic level. I just felt it was important to play a hand so that when I was old and gray, I would have no unanswered questions. I did not want to tell my future children any "would have", "should have", "could have" stories about my younger years. I wanted to tell them I was given dreams and I went for those dreams! So, I left Japan for Utah to train with a past Olympic resident athlete and two college all-Americans. Although all of these guys have turned into amazing friends, my opponent, John Fagged, was the most helpful. He was like Socrates and I was like Plato. I trained with him for a little over one year. Then I was off to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Wrestling at the Olympic level and earning a victory over a country is something I have dreamed of ever since I was a little boy. It is a dream that is so big at times even I thought I was being silly to think it could come true. As I arrived at the Olympic Training Center, I started to realize what, exactly, I had gotten myself into; and to be honest, there was a part of me that felt scared. In the dining hall I saw countries like: Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Mexico, Italy, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Korea, Kazakhstan, Colombia, etc., etc. The men that represented these countries were, at that time the toughest men in the world. I thought to myself, "Who am I?" I am just that little boy who has grown up but unlike most boys who grow out of their crazy dreams I was still finding a way to believe in mine. It would have been nice if I could have been like Mozart making historical accomplishments by the age of 13, but I was not that little boy. All my successes have come from hard work and faith. Then the worst thing happened, I became really sick. When I arrived at The Olympic Training Center, I was 260 lbs. of fine-tuned athlete. I was so sick by the time I weighed in, the scale would read 248 lbs. My Michelangelo Sistine Chapel turned into Savannah Georgia's 16 chapel! (Love you Savannah!)
On a positive note, I was not the only dreamer there. I met a Greek Statue impersonator named David Schenk (no pun intended), who was a California State Champion and a Pac Ten Champion. Both of these are consummate accolades, but we are talking about the world level; so, just like me, he was a huge underdog. We were roommates for the tournament, and I can tell from our experience that we will have many more adventures together. There is so much that happened that weekend, that honestly, I could sit here and write on about it forever, but I won't bore all you music lovers. To everyone's surprise, David pulled out a huge upset by beating Italy and one of my largest childhood dreams came true when I upset Puerto Rico in the second round. Now that I had accomplished my wrestling dream, it was time to jump back into music. But how was I going to do it? I had been out of the game for over a year. You see wrestling at the Olympic level was a full time endeavor, so for that year I literally had no time for music. From a songwriting point of view, there are many pros and cons to the new technology in the music industry. One of the cons is that people steal your music, and one of the pros is that people steal your music. You see I was still in the game, because during that year thousands of people had been trading my songs on-line. So even though I stopped performing, I continued to receive fan mail. One of the fan letters I received was from Jennifer Bush, an elementary school teacher in Sacramento. In fact, she didn't just send me one fan letter. She sent me a book filled with tender fans letters from her students. One day she had decided to play my CD for the children in her classroom. The kids liked my music so much they chose to write me. One of the letters said, " I love your music Michael. It makes me want to change the world too. When I grow up, I am going to play music and change the world just like you." Furthermore, during this time period, a vender at Walmart asked me to write original songs for all their greeting card kiosks in North America. At that moment the light bulb went on in my head! My official dream, the reason I feel I am here on this earth, is to use my music as a catalyst in helping the creation of safe learning environments for all children. Additionally, I wanted to give children a voice through the universal creative process of writing. With this ratiocination, I created the One Million Letters book. This book asks one million children to write one million letters describing how they would change the world and make it a better place. Once this epistle is done, my goal is to turn these letters into a book that will be placed and read in every library in the United States of America. The book will also include letters from all 50 Governors and the President of the United States. I knew I always wanted to create positive music but now I had a blueprint for my journey. I had a canvas with color. This color has grown into financial support from Céline Dion, Whole Foods/Amazon, Skechers Shoes, Wynn Resorts and 5x world champion Adeline Grey.
Currently, I am on a mission, a quest, to create safe learning environments for all children and to make "The One Million Letters Book" a reality! As I read the thousands of letters that are coming in, I can feel a sense of peace in my life. I feel that I am finally doing what I am supposed to do with the time I have been given. Also, the journey is starting to get much easier. This last self-induced chronicle has been amazing! I spoke in front of 3000 people; something I never thought would happen. I had dinner with United States Ambassador Swanee Hunt. I enjoyed the opportunity in experiencing multiple e-mails with Noam Chomsky, the world's leading public intellectual. Received endorsements from: Adeline Gray, Anthony Pettis, Ariel Helwani, BJ Penn, Christopher "Big" Boykin, Billy Corgan, Brandon Ruiz, Bryan Kehl, Cael Sanderson, Carl Banks, Cedrick Hardman, Charles Barkley, Chael Sonnen, Evander Holyfield, Fui Vakapuna, Gale Sayers, Georges St-Pierre, Jeremy Horn "Gumby", Joe Warren, Jonathan Ogden, Ken Shamrock, Kerry McCoy, Kevin Richardson, Larry Holmes, Matt Lindland, Matt Mitrione, Megan Fox, Mike Tyson, Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Paul Pupo, Randy Couture, Ralphie May, Rafael dos Anjos, Rashad Evans, Ricky Lundell, Robert Horry, Ryan MacMillian, Seal, Stephen R. Covey, Jacob "Stitch" Duran, Tony Dorsett and Urijah Faber. I was afforded the latitude in procuring a meeting with the Governor's Office in Nevada, then I walked the red carpet at the Grammys. Subsequently I went to the Grammy after party, where I was asked to be in a Universal Pictures film. Five days after the prestigious Grammy Awards I received this letter from Universal Pictures. "Dear Michael Darby, My name is Jonathan Watson. I am producing a documentary film with director Tom Shadyac. Tom Shadyac, the feature film director responsible for such successes as Bruce Almighty, Liar, Liar, Ace Ventura, Patch Adams and Evan Almighty, will now apply his film making skills to a feature length documentary that asks the pressing question, "What's wrong with the world?" That question usually spurs a variety of answers from poverty and crime to the environmental crisis and war. But Tom believes that to call any of these the "problem(s)" is actually a fundamental misperception, that these are, in fact, symptoms of an underlying, endemic problem. We will not only attempt to identify this problem but then dare to imagine a better world, in the hope of inspiring and empowering our audience to make that world a reality. To explore this subject matter, Tom would like to include on-screen interviews with some of today's leading social commentators, writers and thinkers, including Mary Oliver, the Dalai Lama, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Jimmy Carter, Maya Angelou, Thom Hartman, and Steven Hawkings . We'd be very grateful if you'd consider participating. If you have any further questions, or would like to speak with Tom, you can contact us at 818-***-****. Thank you very much for your time. Sincerely, Jonathan Watson". OK, we need to stop this biography right now! I just want to remember my first show which took place twenty years ago in a Las Vegas coffee house with three people in the audience. Two of them being my mom and my brother! I was so nervous I felt like my fingers where literally sticking to the guitar strings. Now, let's forward to today. I have performed for over a million people and Tom Shadyac wants me to be in his film with the Dalai Lama. Only in America my friends. I am not saying I am successful, but as far as I know that kind of experience does not happen everyday.
In closing I would like to quote one of my hero's mothers. Her son Art Berg was a man that inspire a nation. He had the gift to include people. One day he was not sure if his dreams would come true? In fact, he had almost hit rock bottom. Looking to his mother for advice she smiled and said, " Dreams are born in your heart and your mind, only there can they ever die." To all the children that listen to my music and read my books I need you to promise me something! I need you to promise me that no matter how hard life gets you will never forget how special you are. Everyone of you has a purpose. Everyone of you has a destiny. All you need is a little hope, a little faith, and you will come to realize you are just one dream away from changing the world.
Michael's Darby's Bio