Pete Hopkins: Up Close and Personal

I met Pete Hopkins on Twitter. One day, he just bounced into my Twitterverse, and has been a constant ever since. Who wouldn't adore someone that wakes you up with dedications of his song Become and calls you Sunshine.

Pete is an incredible singer and songwriter who recently wrote and performed a tribute song after the death of Michael Jackson. The song was inspired by his memories of the King of Pop and even shows similarities to Michael's musical style.

In this interview we get up close and personal with Pete to find out more about him. Enjoy ...

How long have you been performing?

All my life from a small child up until now.  My family is musical and my Mom had me and my cousins performing tunes from Chicago (razzle dazzle 'em by the time I was 6... haha thx mom They tell me I could sing before I could talk.

How long have you known this is what you wanted to do?

Same answer really.  All my life.  I am drawn to music on a level I can't fully explain.  I'm the kind of guy who if a song comes on over the speakers anywhere and I'm out with friends I will encourage everyone to stop talking and shut up and listen.    It speaks to me with more meaning than I can describe.

What are the names of  each of your band members? Where are you all from?
I have different band members in different regions of the country and know a ton of great players.  My current most regular LA crew are up on my myspace.

How do you classify your music? What made you decide to become a musician?
I prefer not to label my work with genre classifications.  When people ask me what section you would find my music in in the music store I like to answer "hopefully the best seller section"  Basically if you like clever pop with some r&b flavor and a bit of rock thrown in with a dedication to originality and diversity, you will probably enjoy what i do.  Or if you just like pop music... Adam Curry (Legendary MTV VJ) said "F*#k it man! You sound like yourself...I liked that.

Why did I become a musician?  I think the music is in me and always was and was destined to come out.  I started playing the guitar to win the heart of a girl who dug musicians and the rest as they say.. is history.  Super glad that happened!!

Who are your major influences?
I try to avoid specific names.  I've definitely got my faves.  My hope is for my music to be experienced free of bias or influence i.d. markers.  I won't it to be taken for what it is and not what it's supposed to be.  Suffice it to say, I love great songwriting... clever wordplay...  If it's funky or soulful, I'm gonna love it.  I've got a real affinity for R&B flavor and have some rock roots.  Also, I like to be surprised.  I try to infuse all those elements into all of my music, all of the time.

Are you signed to a record label? And if so since when and for how long? Do you have an album release date?
I am an independent artist.  I have an internet distribution agreement with  and my music is available through all the major download sites.  I have a new album coming which I hope to have out by the fall

Do you have any upcoming shows?

Jul 25 2009 9:00P
The Mint Los Angeles, California
Jul 25 2009 10:00P
The Mint Los Angeles, California
Aug 15 2009 9:00P
Molly Malones Los Angeles, California
Sep 24 2009 12:00P
San Diego State University San Diego, California

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
My favorite venues are large shows such as The House of Blues in Los Angeles, CA and large outdoor amphitheaters like The Koka boothe Amphitheater in NC. I have played lots of venues, too many to remember...

Least favorites...?? I don't talk trash haha! (especially in public) there are a lot of political rules to follow to survive in this business. Basically, I am experienced enough to know what to look out for now and no longer have to play gigs that I believe would make my "least favorite" list, for which I am very thankful! 

Do you write your own songs? 
Almost exclusively!  I have done some co-writes with well established writers who collectively have written songs for and with artists as diverse as Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Rascal Flats, Usher, Goo Goo Dolls more...I love the art of songwriting and it is really special when you can find someone who you click with and tap into each other. 

How have your family and friends responded to your success so far?
They are all very proud of me.  They see it as a glamorous profession because they are basically only privy to the super cool highlights. A few of my very closest friends and family know everything and they are amazed at my drive and persistence in the face of such insurmountable odds.  They are very supportive and tell me all the time to keep going, keep rocking, never give up and that I should already be a household name. 

I luv my friends family and my fans.  They are all my family really.  We share a special kind of bond that I am grateful for daily.

How has your music evolved since you first began performing music?

Here is a brief recap: Picking out musicals on the piano as a young child a little older got into pop, then a little older it was metal, then to virtuoso guitarists, then to jazz, then to funk, then to fusion, then to r&b, then to songwriters then back to r&b all the while staying up on pop culture and absorbing it all like a cerebral sponge.. I would say it is going exactly as it is meant to and is an ongoing process...Meanwhile through the years.. learned to sing, learned the drums, learned the bass, attempted the violin learned better off not to try  learned the piano, learned how to produce, learned how to engineer.

Still learning every day.  This is a lifelong journey of discovery and experimentation.  Awesomeness!!  

What has been your biggest challenge as a musician?
Staying patient, finding the right team of people to align myself with who together can kick open doors and really crack the system. There is a great amount of noise you have to rise above to be heard and it takes persistence, more work than anyone could ever imagine and a will of steel.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own groups/bands?
There are all kinds of bands and groups and it can mean so much or so little.  It's up to the people involved. I will address the ones that are serious and really catch the fever... cause your life will never be the same once you do... here goes... Don't do it for money or for fame.  Do it because you love it.  If those things come then great, but the rewards of truly living this life come from within yourself. If you want money, become a doctor.

One more thing.. always remember the greats who have come before you and do not let down that legacy.  You have some tremendous shoes to fill.  Have enough respect for the music and it's audience to be that good or better. You are potentially carving your name into the annals of history.  Make sure it's worth reading.
How can fans gain access to your music? Do you have a website? is the place i would prefer you order my music from but I am also available on over 500 download sites including rhapsody, itunes, amazon etc.

What are the best ways to keep up with your your music? (ie myspace, twitter, facebook, youtube, etc)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I wish to have toured the world once or twice.. Win a Grammy or two... Release at least three more CDs, co-write with some of my favorite writers for ex. Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder...Sting.  Basically i just hope that my music gets to touch as many people as possible and that I'm doing the same thing i am now, only bigger and hopefully always better.

Give us your funniest backstage experience?
My very funniest backstage experience is just too racy sooo, i will never tell...

But i will tell you this one: A very well known venue (name not disclosed for security purposes) has a green room.. a very nice one. It is suppose to be VIP entry only and guarded by security.  Well the night i played, they must have been asleep or something because before and after the show it was packed with my fans who had bum rushed the room and made it into their own private party palace.  So what is normally just me and a couple of the band guys and the chosen ladies, became a freaking free for all.  It ended up gettin pretty crazy and even when we all left they were still all partying it up in my green room.

I could have got someone to shut it all down and kick'em out but we were having too much fun to bother and they all loved it.  I am after all an entertainer. It is in my nature to give the people what they want.  Good good times!

Any pre-show rituals?

Nope.. no chicken dance or group mantras...usually just thinking about what to say between songs...or handling business... making sure everything is where it's suppose to be and such...

When you are not performing and rehearsing, what  do you like to do? (hobbies, sports, etc)
I love movies, the ocean. I love 2 eat! if the music is jammin, I am known to dance my ass off!! Basically regular cool stuff everyone likes to do.

In your wildest dreams, who would you most like to perform on stage with?

Stevie Wonder. He is so monumentally talented plus an awesome guy and exudes the purest joy I've ever seen from a performer.  I have several runner ups but he's the one I'd choose if I was rubbing the lamp to find the genie to grant my wish.


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