Ian founded My Voice Music in 2008 to provide a creative outlet for youth living in foster care and residential treatment settings to express themselves and find their own voice. Prior to founding MVM, Mouser worked as a Program Director at Wilderness Trails (a free wilderness camp for youth in foster care), and as a Treatment Counselor and Music Teacher at Albertina Kerr Centers, serving youth experiencing mental health challenges. Music and songwriting was a way to build real relationships with youth and it became a transformative tool in his work. The stories Ian shared about his work soon inspired others to get involved…and the rest is history!
Since founding MVM Ian has received a Skidmore Prize, presented by the Willamette Week to excellent emerging non-profit leaders (2011); he was one of 32 recipients nationally to receive a “Top of the Class” recognition by the National Afterschool Alliance, “celebrating passion, creativity and commitment to youth” in after-school settings (2014); and was a “runner up” for the Portland Business Journal’s “Forty under 40” awards recognizing leading executives under the age of 40 (2012). As a musician, Mouser has performed with NW bands whose songs have been played at the MTV Video Music Awards and other interesting spots. He continues to write and perform original music in his spare time.
Programs Outreach Coordinator
Monica is in charge of all things program related. Contact her to learn how to sign up a young musician, or have MVM come to your school or program. Monica is finishing up her graduate degree in Marriage, Child, and Family Therapy at Lewis & Clark where her focus is on Somatic and Expressive Art Therapies. She runs many of our groups in residential treatment centers using music as a therapeutic tool to transform difficult emotions and trauma into a positive and empowering experience. Monica is a multi-talented musician, performer, singer-songwriter, and recording engineer with years of experience working with youth in the community. She has worked for various organizations in the Portland area including Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, Ethos Music, Youth Music Project, and OHSU. Her creative passions include songwriting, poetry, musical theatre, recording, and playing live shows under the name, Forest Veil.
Luke is My Voice Music’s Studio Engineer and Producer. If you are looking for studio time and information, he is the guy to speak to. Luke runs weekly programs out of our studio space as well as our therapeutic program at Albertina Kerr and various rock camps. He is a Portland, Oregon based singer/songwriter, producer and artist manager. Born in Nebraska and the son of an opera singer, he lived all over the world as a military brat before calling southern Oregon home in 1999. In 2009 he received a B.S. in Music Industry from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and worked in music publishing until 2013 when he returned to Oregon. While in LA, he worked for Chrysalis, Bug and BMG in Film/TV and A&R as a scout and creative point person for various artists.
Karen Mouser Darr
Karen is the logistical master of event operations and individual donor communication. Karen is from San Francisco and has sung in choirs throughout her life. She has a B.A. in psychology from Lewis & Clark College and has worked with children and families in various settings from residential treatment, to foster care, to early intervention. Karen has lead My Voice Music’s fundraising initiatives since its founding in 2008 and has a passion for people and connection.
Program Leader & Individual Lessons Instructor
Tim X Sweeney is a Musician and Educator originally hailing from Washington DC, currently living in Portland OR. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. While self identifying as an Upright and Electric Bassist, Tim is fluent in many instruments including Guitar, Piano, Drum set, Ukulele, Classical strings, Brass and Woodwinds. Upon graduating, He taught at the high school level for 2 years in Massachusetts ultimately leaving to pursue his touring and private lessons goals. A move to Portland afforded him the opportunity to exclusively teach private lessons for 3 years averaging 1,200 lessons a year.
Tim was lucky enough to have a teacher early on that taught him the rudiments of music through the current popular music at the time. This combined with constantly playing with other musicians, has led him to his educational philosophy. To teach music as if it were a language. Humans have always learned to speak and form ideas before they could write them or understand the grammar of their ideas. He teaches music in the same ideology. Allowing students to explore their instruments before being bogged down by “how” to execute a thought. This leads to unique voices from all individuals despite experience or understanding. His ultimate goal is to pass the gift of music to his students just as it was passed to him.
Trent is a multi-talented musician who works with our Artist Mentorship Youth. Trent began volunteering for My Voice Music in 2010 and has been integral part of the MVM team since. His passion for serving Portland nonprofits is profound. Many local charities can point to Trent as a vital resource who assisted them at a critical time including, PHAME Academy, p:ear, Live Wire Radio, The Pongo Fund, and others. He’s a founding member of northwest bands Sweet Lou & the Trent Foundation and Wester Daywick, and co-hosts a podcast with his friends that will probably never be published (or named, for that matter).
Kiew Nikon has been involved in music and art his whole life due to family members from various artistic backgrounds such as musical groups Dan Reed Network and Fishbone influencing him. In the early 90’s he was able to travel the world under a record deal as a solo artist. He has also been in several groups such as the world famous group Analog Brothers with Ice-T and Kool Keith. He has performed with such artists as Heltah Skeltah, Souls of Mischief, Tame One of the Artifacts, Saafir, Gangstarr to name a few. Kiew Nikon has traveled all over the world performing for festivals such as Warped Tour and Rock The Bells. The most recent group, Kinetic, has done extremely well and he is now currently in a group with Abyss Infinite under the moniker DRCRSHR. Kiew Nikon has established himself as an accomplished producer, multimedia designer, and all around creative think tank.
Rayawnie Paris is a 20-year-old recording artist residing in good old P-Town. Coming from a vast background of creative direction, some of her talents include playing instruments such as the drums, guitar, vocals and the occasional kazoo! From working the stages at Northwest Children’s Theater to teaching little ones the basics of music, Rayawnie has always pursued art and how it positively affects us all.
Indira is a first generation Latinx performer, musician, video artist, and dancer based in Portland, OR. She teaches outreach programs through My Voice Music in Spanish. Her work and teaching methods are based in the belief that everyone is a creative being. She uses improvisation as a tool for accessing intuitive forms of creating. She has a B.A. from Oberlin College and trained in movement based expressive arts therapy at the Tamalpa Institute.
Isaac, a Portland native, is a prolific songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He participated in the MVM AMP band during middle school and high school and now co-teaches the program. He’s also taught at our summer rock camps. Isaac has a knack for connecting with people on a personal and creative level and helps facilitate the process of bringing songs to life. He plays in multiple Portland-based bands and is currently in the midst of recording his debut album.
Mica comes from a tiny quirky town in Northern California. Her father, a luthier and musician, inspired her love for music, so when he passed away she was driven to choose a life path that kept her close to him. She graduated with a BA in music theory at Whitman College in 2016. While at college, she petitioned the music department, striving to change the “keep the top on top” mentality and opening the department up for people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and skill levels, believing that music should be accessible for everyone. After college, she moved back to her hometown to give back to the community she grew up in. There, she started a children’s choir and wrote and recorded songs with children of all ages. She now lives in Portland, working as an ABA therapist for children with autism and her favorite animal is the polish chicken.