Mark Ronson, Britain’s best-connected music producer who guided Amy Winehouse to stardom, has revealed that he is a donor and fundraiser for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
The Anglo-American star, who was invited to DJ at Tom Cruise’s wedding, hopes to persuade other celebrities yet to endorse Senator Obama, that his man can win the White House.
Ronson, nominated for a Grammy and three Brit Awards, told The Times: “I have given a donation to Obama and I intend do so again. I have also been involved in fund-raising.”
Ronson, 32, produced Winehouse’s seven million-selling Back To Black album, as well as hits for Lily Allen and Christina Aguilera. His Version album achieved double platinum sales in Britain.
Ronson was born in London and his relatives include Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Gerald Ronson, the disgraced property tycoon. He can donate to Obama because he is a working resident in New York. His donation is listed on a campaign website. Individual contributions are capped at $4,600 (£2,328) for the primary and general election campaigns under US law.
Ronson could support Mr Obama further through fund-raising club nights attended by stars. Oprah Winfrey raised $3 million for the Illinois senator at a $2,300-per ticket event at her California estate.
“I got to meet Obama at a small fundraiser,” Ronson said. “He is incredibly intelligent and you know that he can talk honestly about who he is. Sometimes I can’t help but feel with Hillary that she tacks which way the wind is blowing.”
Mr Obama’s celebrity donors include Oprah Winfrey, and the actors Will Smith, Chris Rock and George Clooney. But the campaign, which raised a record-breaking $32 million (£16 million) last month, is keen to secure support from music stars in Ronson’s circle, including Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Beyonce Knowles.
Ronson said: “America’s public image is so bad. I think electing an African-American sets a good example. It shows the rest of America that we’re not all like Bush. People now know that when they back Obama he is a guy who can win. The nature of American politics is changing.”
A “cool icon” among dance music fans, Ronson hopes to motivate younger voters to the polls. “I think for a lot of people it’s become the most important thing to get the Republicans out of the White House,” he said.
Ronson’s profile will be even higher in the US after Sunday’s Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for producer of the year, alongside six nominations for Winehouse, whose appearance is subject to her ongoing treatment for drug addiction.
The Obama campaign said that the Illinois senator had attracted 170,000 new donors since the New Year, allowing him not only to advertise in 20 of the Super Tuesday states but, with the Democratic race expected to drag on, also in Louisiana, Maine and Virginia, which vote after tomorrow.
Republican candidates have garnered less Hollywood support. The singer Pat Boone donated to Mitt Romney; film producer Jerry Bruckheimer contributed to John McCain; Rudy Giuliani took money from Kelsey Grammer and Adam Sandler.
Acting out of antipathy to President Bush, Ronson will transfer his support to Mrs Clinton if she prevails in the primaries. He said: “As long as we get the Republicans out, I don’t care.”
Ronson, who numbers Michael Jackson and Sean Lennon among his friends, moved to New York with his music industry family, when he was eight years old.
The young Ronson discovered a passion for hip-hop and was hired by Diddy and Prince to DJ at their parties. He was paid £40,000 by Tom Cruise to spin records at his wedding to Katie Holmes.