Ben Kweller

Children are often raised in musical families, but few receive the same introduction to music as singer/songwriter Ben Kweller. Before he was old enough to enter kindergarten, a young Kweller emulated Nils Lofgren (who, during his time with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, would hang out with Kweller's father) by playing his toy version of the guitar. He also played piano, and by the age of eight, Kweller had begun penning his own songs. The following year, he received a nod of encouragement from Billboard magazine when it conferred an honorable mention on the youth for his entry into Billboard's yearly songwriting competition. By the time he hit his teenage years, Kweller was an accomplished guitarist and had begun playing drums as well. He pulled together his first band, Mirage, and followed up with groups like Green Eggs & Ham and Foxglove. All the while, he honed the skills that would later launch his respected solo career.