Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Purcell.
Peter, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always loved music. For most of my childhood, I fell asleep each night with an old Discman and headphones listening to Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eminem, Sublime, and Blink 182. I would close my eyes and just get lost in the colors of the music and the meanings of the lyrics. This led to my passion for writing music, which started when I was 14 years old. One day I was lying on my bed, listening to John Lennon, and I had this epiphany moment where I thought to myself, “he just described exactly how I feel, and gave me the words to make sense of it. I want to give that same gift to people.”
Soon after that, I picked up my dad’s old Takamine guitar and learned a few chords. I began humming melodies and writing lyrics. Before long, this experimentation turned into a daily songwriting habit that has stuck with me to this day.
I grew up about 320 miles northwest of New York City, in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. Much of my growing up was spent playing in the woods and the water, building things with scraps from my dad’s woodworking business, and skateboarding with my friends. I was always outside. From there, I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I began working with local producers to develop my songwriting. This was extremely exciting to me because, for the first time in my life, I had access to a network of professional producers and musicians. Because Boulder has a great music scene, I was also able to go to concerts and see touring artists for the first time, which vastly expanded my library of music. I was exposed to singer-songwriters such as Trevor Hall and Ed Sheeran, both of whom influenced me a lot and showed me that there was a market for acoustic folk/pop artists and singer-songwriters who wrote lots of love songs. Heavily influenced by both my college sweetheart and my parents’ divorce, my songwriting became intensely personal and sensitive.
On the flip side of my sensitivity, it’s safe to say I am an adrenaline junkie. While living in Colorado, I snowboarded competitively. I also rock climbed, downhill mountain biked, whitewater kayaked and summited as many mountains as I could all over Colorado and the surrounding states.
Not wanting a traditional life, I became interested in entrepreneurship and threw myself at several entrepreneurial endeavors – all of which failed. I learned a lot, however, and am grateful for that rudimentary business education they provided. After college, I lived out of my car and vagabonded all over the American West. I then traveled to Southeast Asia to surf, Argentina to study Advertising, snowboard, and trek in Patagonia, Europe to explore, and Haiti to help with disaster relief. All for months at a time. I went to New York City for what was supposed to be a weekend trip and ended up staying for nearly six months. My adventures in New York gave me the courage to pursue my dream of a career in music. I moved to LA with a fresh perspective and got to work.
I worked with countless producers and musicians but was never quite happy with the music. It took a lot of sessions and recordings for me to gain enough confidence to know what my vision was and not let it get lost in the production. I performed between three and five times a day for over a year. I played in yoga classes, open mic nights, at corporate dinners, bars, small venues and festivals, creative events, and pretty much anywhere that would have me. This was perhaps the most effective learning experience I could have asked for. Playing in your bedroom is one thing, and you may think you sound great, but you really have no idea until you’re in a room filled with people and there are countless distractions and everyone is expecting you to entertain. You have to be able to get into it and make the audience feel it.
Eventually, I started to find my sound and after what seemed like way too long, I finally recorded a song I was proud of and that I felt I would stay proud of forever. My debut single, “Where I Belong” is out everywhere as of May 1st, 2020. I originally wrote it to be performed at my cousin’s wedding at the Boston Public Library, but then adapted it into a personal and potent love song for those who really know when they’ve found their person.
Because I write constantly, I have a very large catalog of unreleased songs. I am excited to follow my first single with more to come in the fall of 2020.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Relatively, it has been a smooth road in life. I come from a dysfunctional but generally happy middle-class family and was fortunate enough to grow up in the U.S., so that’s pretty damn lucky relative to many people in the world. However, we all have challenges in life and as an artist, it has been chocked full of failures, and struggles.
One challenge has been that my family, who I am very close with, was not always supportive of my pursuit of music. They have often told me that being an artist is not a realistic or worth-while endeavor. I have always tried to deflect their discouragement with a stubborn disposition that they are simply not open-minded or courageous people in that respect and therefore should not be listened to when they naysay, but I ‘d be lying if I told you that it didn’t get to me or that it didn’t instill a significant amount of self-doubt that has both slowed me down and held me back.
Other than that, I am generally a person of extremes, which means I often live in high highs and low lows. Depression has been a difficult thing to overcome at several points. My parents went through a nasty divorce and I stupidly put myself right in the middle of it. I wanted to be there for both of them and at the time, I had no idea how much damage it would do. It impacted both my health and relationships and I was truly a mess. I eventually overcame it through sheer determination to be happy, a ton of exercise, and radical lifestyle changes but it definitely left some emotional scars. I pride myself on being resilient.
Lastly, song-writing did not really come naturally to me. I just wanted to create art that I was proud of so badly that I worked extremely hard to develop the craft. It is a constant struggle, but one that I love.
Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am most proud of my debut single, Where I Belong. I am a singer-songwriter of folk-infused pop and this is what I specialize in and am most known for.
What sets me apart: I’d like to think I am an old head on young shoulders and that I am a deeply honest songwriter chasing “give me chills” moments. Warm melodies mixed with vulnerable lyricism create songs that listeners find difficult to not feel. Other than that, I am generally unguarded and almost always authentic. I wear my emotions on my sleeves and am always myself, no matter who I am with.
What were you like growing up?
Wild. I had a ton of energy and loved being both active and creative. I was also very sensitive and emotional. I loved climbing everything that could be climbed and jumping off things that could be jumped off. I still do.
- Website: https://www.peterpurcellmusic.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peteypurcell/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeteyPurcell/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/peteypurcell
- Other: https://open.spotify.com/track/5xAac7nMoWp1LaACHCkTij?si=HlpEg2X7S9KlpNmPKtQ4TA