Ivan L. Wilzig (born January 6, 1956) is an American recording artist and songwriter who is best known for his pop-dance remakes of 1960s and early 1970s peace songs. He created The Peaceman Foundation, a non-profit organization that battles hatred, violence and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the US alone, he has appeared on various reality television shows, such as Who Wants to be a Superhero?, on Syfy, Epic Homes on the Travel Channel, The Fabulous Life of the Hamptons on VH1, Chef Roble & Co. on Bravo, and most recently on Super Heroes in 3D TV on 3Net.
Early Life and Banking Career:
Ivan Wilzig was born in 1956 and raised with his two younger siblings, Alan and sister Sherry, in Clifton, New Jersey. Wilzig's father Siggi Wilzig (1926-2003), came to the United States as a Holocaust survivor from Germany. Fifty-nine of his relatives were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. His mother was collector Naomi Wilzig (1934-2015). After multiple salesman positions, Siggi B. Wilzig ultimately became Chairman, President and CEO of Wilshire Oil Company of Texas, then listed on the NYSE; and Chairman, President and CEO of The Trust Company of New Jersey, then listed on NASDAQ. Naomi Wilzig owns the World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach; his brother Alan owns Wilzig Racing Manor in upstate New York.
Wilzig graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1977, earning a B.A. degree in European intellectual history. He then earned his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in 1980. Instead of practicing law, he joined his father in running The Trust Company of New Jersey, a full service commercial bank founded in 1896. Under Wilzig the Trust brokered various deals that allowed 50 bank mini-branches to open up in A&P, Pathmark and ShopRite supermarkets, in affluent New Jersey counties.
Wilzig began voice lessons at the age of 10. In his youth, he attended an Orthodox Hebrew school, where he sang in the synagogue choir. His first professional gigs were singing at Kutsher's Country Club in the Catskill Mountains, and then as a soloist at Town Hall in New York City with the Samuel Sterner Choir. Later, he performed in both high school (Fiddler on the Roof) and college (Bye Bye Birdie) musicals. His father Siggi discouraged him from continuing in music as a career, wanting his son to have a more secure profession.
In 2001, Ivan Wilzig knew recording artist Dave Jurman, Executive Director of Dance Music at Columbia Records. Jurman introduced Wilzig to two-time Grammy-Award nominee and record producer Ernie Lake, who produced Ivan's remake of John Lennon's "Imagine" with Ivan performing vocals.Tom Silverman, owner of Tommy Boy Records signed the track and released it on September 4, 2001. "Imagine", sold 10,000 vinyl copies in its first three months and became a Top-40 hit on the Billboard Club Play Chart.
His follow up single, "San Francisco" was signed by label owner Jellybean Benitez, and released on Jellybean Recordings, reaching #7 on the Billboard Singles Sales Chart. Wilzig's third single, "Peace on Earth", was his first original song, and was released by Artemis Records, making the Billboard Charts and reached number #2 on the DMC (Dance Music Community) World Chart in the UK. His debut full-length 15-track album, I Am Peaceman, was released in September 2010 under his own label, Peaceman Music, and was produced by FORD, who had earned 18 gold and platinum records throughout his own career.
Wilzig's single off the album, remake of "Hare Krishna" went Top #10 on the Billboard Dance Charts on April 16, 2011. The success of "Hare Krishna" in Billboard lead to an album distribution deal in 2012 with Worldwide Records, the leading music distribution company in India. "La La Land," the first song co-written by Sir Ivan, is his biggest hit to date, having made the Billboard Top 40 Airplay Chart, the leading pop radio indicator.
Television & Film:
During the first season of Who Wants to be a Superhero? in 2006, Ivan attempted to audition with the producers as Peaceman, but he was too late to be included. He was encouraged to audition for the next season. His Peaceman character made the cut for Season Two, but as a precondition, the SyFy channel owned by NBC, was to obtain the trademarks to contestant characters. Ivan refused to give up the trademark to Peaceman, and attempted to create a new character Mitzvah Man, but the name had already been trademarked. Mr. Mitzvah, however, was not trademarked, and he took on the identity of Mr. Mitzvah for the show. He was, however, eliminated after the 3rd episode by Stan Lee.
Sir Ivan has appeared on numerous lifestyle and reality television shows since 2000. He was on the Travel Channel's Manhattan on the Beach in 2000, the WE show Single in the Hamptons in 2002. VH1's Hopelessly Rich (Hopelessly Rich)VH1's (The Fabulous Life of the Hamptons). in 2007. In 2012, Wilzig appeared on "The Crazy Hamptons Blowout," Episode 5 of Bravo's Chef Roble and Co., which aired January 1, 2012. Most recently, Sir Ivan made his first 3D TV appeared on 3Net's Super Heroes show, which first aired on February 10, 2013.
He appeared on the German TV channel ProSieben right after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, where he discussed his single, "Imagine". In early 2004, this time as part of the series So lebt ein Milliardaer! Lifestyle of a Billionaire, he appeared as Peaceman next to supermodel Naomi Campbell, DJ Paul Oakenfold and tennis player Venus Williams. In 2006, ProSieben featured him in Die Maedchen und der Milliardaer (The Girls and the Billionaire). In the late 1990s Ivan and Alan Wilzig built a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m) medieval-style estate in Water Mill, in the Hamptons, on Long Island, New York.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license