A few years later, the same man sings-this time, with an acoustic guitar in hand, wearing plain jeans and a T-shirt and surrounded by a belting choir.
"What happened to you?" interviewers asked Sal Solo, a musician and national speaker.
"I found God," he answered.
Solo, former lead singer of the 1980s British rock band Classix Nouveaux, was the keynote speaker at the fourth-annual New Jersey Pro-Life Youth Rally, which was held on April 19 at Seton Hall University. Solo showed the crowd two music videos as an illustration of his profound musical and spiritual evolution.
Over 31 high schools throughout the state and 12 organizations attended the pro-life rally that was sponsored by the Salesians of Don Bosco and organized by Father Steve Ryan, director of youth and vocations for the Eastern Province. An estimated 1,000 people attended the event.
The issues young people face in modern society everyday can prove to be obstacles in the pro-life mission, Solo acknowledged. However, religious figures had similar pressures in their day. "We wouldn't even be Christians or Catholics if a young, 15-year-old girl (Mary), 2,000 years ago, didn't say 'yes' to the Lord. She could have aborted Our Savior. Jesus was a teenager once and, like you, had the same hormones. Jesus died for every life, even those that have not yet been born."
Solo, in his career, toured 30 countries, played to audiences of up to 25,000, achieved numberone records and has had gold and silver discs. After years of the glamour and fame of a "rock star lifestyle," Solo changed his tune. "I thought that if what all the world has to offer is not enough, maybe something outside this world would make me happy."
He attended Catholic school as a boy in England, but for years was not a practicing Catholic. After saying a prayer to lead him in the right direction, Solo went on a pilgrimage to an Italian shrine. During that time, he opened his heart to the Lord and found new purpose in his life.
"I had this 'Catholic guilt,'" he confessed. "I thought that because I had lived a rock and roll lifestyle, I couldn't be saved. Then someone on that trip said that young people listen to music and I should use music to tell them about the Lord. That is why I go around the world and spread the truth."
To celebrate his renewed faith, Solo recorded a pro-life record about an unborn baby singing to a mother who did not want it. "I thought I was being crafty and stealthy by making it sound like a love song. When radio stations and found out what the song was about, they blacklisted it. The radio stations said that it wouldn't be suitable for a family audience," Solo explained.
Dismayed by the hypocrisy, Solo left the secular music industry. "Fans were shocked when I recorded the (Christian) song," he said. "Everything goes (in music) except the right to life. You can talk about rape, murder and degrade women, but a child's right to life cannot be heard," he lamented.
A dynamic speaker, Solo used multimedia images, including original songs and film projections, to involve young people with his presentation. He opened his speech at the pro-life rally by shouting out to the crowd: "We are here to change the world!" The audience responded in agreement with joyous shouts that echoed throughout the auditorium.