One thing that always seems to come up at New Year’s, at least for me is re-evaluating my dreams and having them reignited. I decided to interview Peter Hollens, who is a pop singer, songwriter, and producer. Peter’s specialty is A Cappella music, which if you have read this blog for long, you will have noticed that I am a big fan of! Peter’s music is always extremely well done and uses only the human voice. He currently has two cover CDs available for sale in his online store. I decided to ask Peter a few questions about how he has pursued his dreams and what advice he might have for others hoping to do the same. Read to the end to get the chance to win one of Peter’s CDs!
1. When did you first know you wanted to pursue singing?
Probably back in High School when I first began singing and realized that it was helping me find my confidence and passion for life. I really never felt alive until I started singing.
2. What kinds of musical activities were you involved in before you launched your own music career?
Well from present to past . . . My wife and I sang for over four years as featured singers with Royal Caribbean in the production shows. Before that, I started my own business recording a cappella groups around the nation. I started a group from the University of Oregon with my friend Leo, called “On the Rocks” and was lucky enough to sing on national television with them numerous times as their soloist on NBC’s “The Sing Off”
3. I first encountered your music when you sang on The Sing-Off with On the Rocks. What did you think about that experience, and how did it influence your career?
It really helped push me to make my own music after so many loving fans requested more music from me! I had never thought about doing my own music, or that people would be that interested in watching, listening and buying my music!
Sidenote: I just released physical CDs for the first time, and they ship internationally!
4. What inspired you to pursue A Cappella music specifically?
A Cappella Music has always moved me more than any other genre of music. It’s unique, it’s raw and you can’t fake it. It’s also such a great art to foster right now as the budgets in our school systems are being drained since it costs very little money for a school to support an a cappella group. Most of the time they can be self run, and require no instruments!
5. What were the best and worst things about launching your music career?
Best things: I get to inspire others and make others happy for a living. I get to do what I love and share my gift with the world. I could never think of anything else I would ever want to do. I am so blessed.
Worst: Probably just not knowing if I can sustain my growth enough to continue making music for a living.
6. Where do you get your inspiration for which songs you choose to cover and also the music videos that you create?
I think it’s all part of the process. It’s very hard to get away from the cover song top 40 routine, which many youtube musicians get forced to follow to find exposure and to pay the bills. Sometimes I just hear a song and know that I adore it and want to cover it. Other times, my supporters (which I call the #Hollensfamily – because I see them so much more as my family than my fans) recommend songs for me to do, and I LOVE making them happy and doing recommendations!
7. What is your favorite song that you have covered so far?
Favorite songs: Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Shenandoah, I Won’t Give Up, Skyrim, Misty Mountains — I adore songs that allow me to just flat out sing, and not copy another artist’s version. Sometimes members of my creative team give me awesome ideas and suggestions as well.
8. What advice do you have for singers out there who have the dream of pursuing a music career?
Just follow your heart, be yourself, and try to be unique. Know that if you truly want to do this you will have to work your butt off to accomplish your goals. Never stop singing – it’s so good for your soul, and it makes you happy. Whatever you do, never ever stop.
9. What advice do you have in general for anyone pursuing their dreams, whether music-related or not? What characteristics do you think are important to be successful?
First I would say just start…. whatever you want to do, stop talking about it, and thinking about doing it, but try it. Start the process. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, but never trying is just a travesty. Never ever look back and say “I wish I had tried that” DO IT!
As far as characteristics, you need to have passion, and drive, and set goals for yourself that are attainable … and keep on setting new ones when you reach your goals. I could talk about this forever… 🙂
Thanks so much, Peter, for answering my questions! It was fun to get to know you a little more, and to hear your ideas about chasing dreams!! If you’d like to connect with Peter, you can find him on youtube, twitter, and facebook!
Also, today I am going to be doing a giveaway of Peter’s first cover CD!! Here’s the deal. To enter, you have to leave a comment on this post telling me what dream you’re chasing this year. The contest will only be valid after 20 people have entered. You can only leave one comment, but you can earn extra chances by tweeting about the contest once a day, just click the link below to gather your entry points! The contest will close on January 31, 2013. Good luck!!