If you were to ask Michael Peterson the one thing he would most like people to know about him, he would likely reply, "The Music." Listening to his Reprise Records debut album confirms that the easiest route to an understanding of Michael Peterson, the man, is through an understanding of Michael Peterson, the album. For the eleven songs on that offering capture the compassion, strength, insight, intelligence and fun-loving spirit of the man that a brief meeting or lifelong relationship would reveal. He is an artist driven with a desire to invite us all to laugh, dance and consider our own lives -- often simultaneously.
Michael was born in Tucson, Arizona and raised on
the Columbia River in Eastern Washington. Between
playing sports and hanging with his friends, he spent
countless hours in front of a record player at his
A Who's Who achiever in football and music, Michael earned a scholarship for both from Pacific Lutheran University and soon found out that he had to make a choice. Forced to make a decisive commitment, Michael chose football over music for the first time in his life. Ironically, it was that decision which opened the door years later to his first shot in the music business.
Playing football, Michael earned a starting spot for two-and-a-half years as left offensive tackle, and a National Championship ring he still proudly wears on his right hand. More importantly, he developed a relationship with quarterback Brad Westering, whose post-college success as a producer for Denise Williams gave Michael his first professional opportunity as a songwriter. His first three cuts came through that relationship and confirmed his lifelong belief that he could succeed as a commercial songwriter. It was about this time that a friend told him that if he really wanted to grow as a writer and artist he should move to Nashville. Committed to building working relationships with Music Row's songwriters, Michael began traveling to Nashville once a month for nearly two years.
Leo and Orrall championed the call for Michael to not only be a writer, but to record his own songs. The two eventually came to co-produce Michael Peterson, an album which is a testimony to the creative growth Michael has experienced. Nine of the ten songs he co-wrote were culled from an extraordinary concentration of creativity between October 1995 and June 1996, during which Michael penned more than 70 songs.