When we tweeted that we were about to interview Emmy-winning Peter Buffett, the musician-composer-author who is the youngest son of billionaire Warren Buffett, a wag quickly posted in joking response,”Will you ask him if he would like to be my sugar daddy?”
Not only has the younger Buffett been happily married to his wife Jennifer Buffett since 1996, but the “sugar daddy” mentality is about as far from the Buffett family ethos as the moon is from Omaha. (In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Warren Buffett is photographed picking up breakfast in the McDonald’s drive-through.)
“I was never handed a big check,” Peter Buffett said during the telephone interview. “I was just told, ‘figure it out.’ ”
He’s managed to do pretty well for himself. He worked on part of the “Dances with Wolves” film score, which won an Academy Award. His score for a documentary about Wisconsin won a best-soundtrack Emmy. His many projects include a collaboration with Atlanta-based rapper Akon, which resulted in the social-action site Is There Something I Can Do?
“Akon heard a song of mine that I wrote when I came back from Liberia on a foundation trip,” Buffett said. “He certainly didn’t want to collaborate with me because he thought it would further his career!”
The two might be about to connect this weekend, when Buffett will be in town for a performance benefiting the Atlanta Girls’ School. “Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation,”is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for students and the event benefits the Atlanta Girls’ School. For tickets call 404-733-5000 or see http://bit.ly/AGSPBuffett.
Buffett’s career began in music but he made the transition to author-speaker performer when his affable personality inspired someone to suggest that he branch out.
“You’re Warren Buffet’s son – but you’re so normal!” was the revelation. When your dad’s one of the richest people on the planet, naturally people are going to have “assumptions about the way I grew up,” Buffett said. This got him putting his thoughts together about “growing up normal, and how to get your kids to be motivated to have their own life,” which resulted in the book “Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment.”
In the book he spends time talking about philanthropy, and loves talking to young people who come to his appearances. His message to them: be grateful, and get moving.
“All of it goes back to what is privilege, and what is success,” Buffett said. “I grew up in a house in the Midwest with parents who loved me and said, ‘You can do anything you want.’ That didn’t mean they were going to write a check for it.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org