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War Poets
With a timeless rock feel and poignant message, this group's single 'Close Enough' has roared up the charts, proving that music is still a powerful medium for social discourse and change.

War Poets is a Minneapolis-based band that writes and plays music about social issues that impact all of us, with Rex Haberman and Jenny Case at its creative core. The success of their debut single 'Close Enough', which quickly ascended the radio charts to the top spot, offers proof that fans are inwardly seeking music with deeper meaning. Propelled by its pro-LGBT message, sublime lyrics and musicianship, 'Close Enough' represents musical social commentary at its best. The depth of War Poet's integrity and committment to their ideals is impressive. In 2014 alone, they've release three EP's containing songs addressing a range of social issues from income inequality, gun violence, homelessness, unemployment and prostitution to financial hardship. Now working with acclaimed Grammy-winning producer Joe Baldridge, War Poets is back in the studio working on their new album. Reporter Alexis Adams recently caught up with War Poets to learn more about this avant garde group and what inspires them to create such exceptional music.

ALEXIS: When did you first discover your love of music?
WAR POETS: I started playing music in a band when I was twelve years old. We played in church basements and anywhere they'd have us. I wrote songs almost every day during my teenage years. I found that was a gift I had- to compose at a prolific pace. I still play one of the first songs I wrote called ‘Lost in My Dreams’. During college, my love for music intensified and became more introspective, but that gradually changed to my style now, to reflect on current social issues that impact us all. 

ALEXIS: Your song 'Close Enough' has been a big hit on radio for its third straight month. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
WAR POETS: We were very happy to hear of the radio play. It is great to think that others are listening and appreciating the message we're communicating. 

ALEXIS: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
WAR POETS: My mother was a vocalist and my older sister is a vocalist and pianist, so yes, there was always music in our house growing up. I initially played the accordion but soon became interested in guitar, which was cool since all my friends were playing guitar or drums. One of my daughters, Lauren Haberman, is an accomplished jazz guitarist and has started to write pop songs too. She's one to keep an eye on. We've been playing together since she was a young child. 

ALEXIS: How would you characterize yourselves as musicians? (ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving...)
WAR POETS: I have a definite rock edge that hasn't waned over the years. Most of the songs I write are about serious subjects with a message. However, every so often I get a bit sarcastic, which makes our producers raise their eyebrows in disbelief. I also tend to be a romantic and write about the sensitivities of love in its various forms. War Poets live has an energetic feel and a very tight rock sound that people seem to enjoy. We're serious musicians that I feel have real chemistry that translates into great performances. 

ALEXIS: The music video focuses on arguably one of the biggest civil rights issue of our times. How did you feel while creating and shooting the video?
WAR POETS: We wanted to create a story that focused on two LGBT couples, male and female, and their desire to be married in a religious ceremony in a church. We were able to find a great location to accomplish that, St John's Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was moving and humbling to shoot the video, realizing how many LGBT people have suffered over the years in their attempts to be treated equally. Today it is inconceivable to us that any discrimination would still be present. During the storyboard work, our staff became emotionally affected as we put together the plot and sequencing. Even during the shoot, there were tears shed as we filmed scenes depicting love and reconciliation. The entire process was very rewarding.

ALEXIS: Would you say that the mood of your other songs is in the same vein as 'Close Enough'?
WAR POETS: Yes, our new releases - 3 EP releases in 2014 - are mainly about other social issues. The first EP, ‘American Police State’, was released on June 3, 2014. It features songs about the American gun violence epidemic, income inequality and Native American issues. 

ALEXIS: What do you find most rewarding about being musicians? What do you find most challenging?
WAR POETS: The most rewarding is having an avenue to reveal to the public our innermost beliefs. It is an honor really to have the capacity and mechanisms to do this. The most challenging aspect of music is to become noticed and financially viable among the myriad of other talented musicians. 

ALEXIS: Who are your role models in music?
WAR POETS: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. I have always admired the social messages of Dylan and Springsteen, and love the simplistic genius of Petty's style that catches the listener and pulls you in. 

ALEXIS: What advice would you give to young, aspiring musicians out there who are unsure and need guidance?
WAR POETS: Write songs from your heart and try to say something. Persistence is required and humility will serve you better than arrogance. 

ALEXIS: What's next for War Poets? Is there a follow-up single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
WAR POETS: Our 3 EP releases in 2014 and another USA tour. We hope to make it to Europe and other places too. Our next single is ‘Better Place’ from the EP ‘American Police State’, which was released digitally on June 3rd and on radio June 23rd. It is about American income inequality. This song was produced by Grammy winner Joe Baldridge and was mastered by Grammy winner Richard Dodd from Nashville.

ALEXIS: Excellent! Thanks for taking time out to share your story with me. I wish you and the group continued success and good luck!

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