Five years after losing his brother to suicide, Ryan Chiaverini is singing a happier tune -- for a good cause.
The co-host of WLS-Ch.7’s “Windy City Live” wrote and recorded an upbeat summer ode to Chicago, incorporating local musicians, celebrities and venues in a new video posted to YouTube Monday night. The song, which is titled “Chicago,” is also available for download on iTunes, with the proceeds to benefit The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
He called the coincidental timing of its release “ironic and sad” in light of the apparent suicide Monday of actor/comedian Robin Williams.
Chiaverini's inspiration for the music video was to raise awareness after grappling privately for years with the suicide of his 20-year-old brother, Zach. He shared his story earlier this year on “Windy City Live."
“Finally, after 5 years, I felt like it was time to try to help other families who have gone through this,” said Chiaverini. “It was by far the toughest thing I have ever done on TV.”
The song features Chiaverini on lead vocals and guitar, with help from local Chicago musicians such as Robbie Gold. The video includes cameos by everyone from Chicago Cub great Ernie Banks and ABC 7 sports anchor Mark Giangreco to model/actress April Rose.
“This song has special meaning to me because it was the first upbeat, happy song I could write after Zach died,” Chiaverini said.
A California native, Chiaverini played football at the University of Colorado, and started his career as a sports reporter, joining ABC 7 in that role in 2006. He became the inaugural co-host of “Windy City Live” in 2011, an hour-long local talk show which airs weekdays at 11 a.m.
The “Chicago” video is available on YouTube. It includes links to the iTunes download and direct donations to the Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Walk, a suicide prevention fundraising event in September.