MEET THE MUSICIANS

J Mack Slaughter, Jr., M.D.
Founder and musician
Guitarist and percussionist

Hey guys!!! My name is J Mack and I’ve taken a long, crazy road to get here, but it makes me so, so happy to see everything really coming together! Long story short-ish, I grew up surrounded by music and began performing on stage with my “partridge” family when I was 3 years old. After years of time on stage, I became a member of a “boy band” that was put together by syndicated radio DJ, Kidd Kraddick. We ended up opening up for national acts like Bon Jovi and Jessica Simpson, and even went on tour with Beyonce and her former group, Destiny’s Child. The band led to a career in acting in Los Angeles, where I solidified a role in the Warner Bros. TV series Like Family and was featured in Bill Cosby’s Feature Film, Fat Albert. After years of fun and excitement, it was time to change things up completely and dive into the world of medicine. On the track to becoming an emergency medicine physician, I was inspired to create this non-profit. I could not be happier with how much it has grown since 2008 and I cannot WAIT to see how many lives we can positively impact through Music Meets Medicine.

Rick Spence
Guitarist and mandolinist
Cook Children’s Hospital
FullHouseBluegress.com

Music has always been a large part of my life. At an early I discovered that I had been blessed with a talent and an ear for music. It wasn’t long after this discovery I began to notice how music can do extraordinary things like bringing people together and bridge gaps between people.  People are touched by music in some way or the other.  Couples have “their song” that expressed their love for each other, some have a song that comforted them during a difficult time and others use music as an therapeutic outlet to express what they are feeling.   Music for me has a specific purpose. I know I have been given a gift and I am supposed to use it to help others. Working with Music Meets Medicine has been a rewarding experience beyond measure.  We are not only providing a therapy, but therapy and a skill that will last a lifetime.

Will Northern
Percussionist
Cook Children’s Hospital
NorthernRealtyGroup.com

I have played the drums for sixteen years. I began performing in middle school with the choir teacher while all my classmates sang. Once in high school I began playing drum set with the school’s jazz band and had my first chance to perform in a true music hall, it was exhilarating. That junior year a group of friends and I started a rock band and recorded my first album and got played on a local radio station. Finally, while getting my BBA at TCU, fellow classmates and I had the opportunity to perform in several venues across Texas. Music has been a passion, a discipline, and an enjoyable escape in my life. Today I run a successful real estate brokerage, Northern Realty Group, and enjoy sharing my passion through Music Meets Medicine by giving volunteer drum lessons at Cooks Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas with kids in need.

Chris Blonkvist
Guitarist
Scottish Rite Hospital

Hello! I’m Chris Blonkvist from Midland, Texas. I’ve been writing and playing music for more than a decade. I have always been fascinated with the craft of songwriting and I truly believe it is an important form of expression for people to possess. In college, I decided to minor in music with a focus in piano, which humbles me to this day. I am drawn to Music Meets Medicine because I believe in the tranquility that playing an instrument has to offer, and the importance of sharing this gift.

Deepak Ramesh, M.D.
Guitarist
Dallas Children’s Medical Center

Hi, my name is Deepak Ramesh, and I’m a graduate in the Class of 2012 from UT Southwestern where I’ll be completing my Ophthalmology residency as well. In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar, trumpet, and other assorted instruments as well as writing/recording songs in my home studio. I was drawn to participate in Music Meets Medicine due to my interests in pediatric ophthalmology, music, and making kids feel good. MMM is one of the best things I’ve ever done — the eyes that light up when a little girl hears her favorite Taylor Swift song in the chemotherapy infusion unit, the wide smile of a boy as he plays (and drools on!) my guitar for the first time, the bravery it takes for a middle school girl to spontaneously sing her original song in front of the whole group — these are things that can never be foreseen or forced. I believe that medicine is much more than molecules and receptors, and spreading love to these children through a smile and a song can truly transform.

Dan Weatherall, M.D.
Guitarist
Dallas Children’s Medical Center

My name is Dan Weatherall, and I’m currently a medical student at UT Southwestern. I’ve been involved in music since age six when I took my first classical guitar lesson, and I’ve been playing ever since. Music has been a great pastime for me over the years, and whether I was recording solo music or working with a cover band, I’ve always enjoyed it. A few months after Music Meets Medicine was founded, J Mack invited me to play at Children’s with the group, and that first experience was so rewarding that I’ve been hooked ever since. It has been so gratifying to play for the patients thus far, and I look forward to continuing to work with Music Meets Medicine.

Keerthan Somanath
Guitarist
Dallas Children’s Medical Center

Hi everyone, my name’s Keerthan. I’m a medical student at UT Southwestern and have been part of Music Meets Medicine for about two years now. Previously, I volunteered at the Texas School for the Blind and Austin State Hospital and witnessed the profound impact that music therapy has on students, patients, and their families. So when I heard about MMM, I didn’t have to think twice about joining. It’s awesome that we’re able to bring music to these patients on such a personal level, and interacting with them has been the best part of my experience. I’m fortunate to be part of Music Meets Medicine and plan to stick with this amazing organization as long as I can!