A Conversation with Peter Baldwin

Peter Baldwin’s smooth electrifying voice and captivating lyircs are bound to hypnotize any ears that take a listen. His tone is a melting pot of Jazz, Pop, Blues, and R&B into what Peter labels as Alternative Soul. After the released of his 2008 unplugged album I Was Here, Peter created a buzz opening for such greats as Earth, Wind, & Fire, Joss Stone, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, and Aloe Blacc. Peter recently released his self produced and arranged album Peter Baldwin In Vodville, and spoke exclusively to JohnSimonDaily.

JohnSimonDaily: Who is Peter Baldwin?

Peter Baldwin: What I can tell you is that a long series of trial and error landed me here in this interview. I’ve managed to avoid any official diagnosis other than displaying every human characteristic at the same time, all the time. Nicki-Minajosis?

JSD: What is “Alternative Soul”?

PB: I am Alternative Soul, rooted in a Gospel/Soul upbringing, but with an ear to do strange things to it. Having an alternative soul means allowing my music to flow freely and my conscience to haunt me.

JSD: What inspired you the most w/Peter Baldwin in Vodville?

PB: My high school sweetheart, this career that I’m figuring out, my family, and my suicide attempts all make up most of the subject matter for the EP. The most inspiring thing is illegal, I mean, love.

JSD: What was your creative process for writing the songs on your EP?

PB: The songs on Peter Baldwin in Vodville were written and performed over and over again for years in more styles than I can remember. I get an idea, put it in Garage Band, show it to my guys, and play it out. Then I go back and change the format. Hardly any of the lyrics are ever written down, and some of the lyrics don’t show up until the vocal recording sessions. This process, as chaotic as it seems, helps me know my songs forward and back and how to bring out the songs’ best qualities.

JSD: Do you have a favorite song?

PB: Suicide Girl

JSD: You have performed all over the country and have opened for many well respected artists in the industry. What have you learned from those experiences and how has that influenced your music?

PB: When I was 20, I got to open for Joss Stone, and I thought to myself,”Shoot, I’m probably going to be famous and get play all the time.” When I was 21, I got to open for Aloe Blacc, and I thought, “I can do better.” At 22, I was direct support for Earth, Wind, and Fire. I sat far away from the stage while they played (it was magical) and realized that I don’t want their career. Whether or not I am ever right in my thinking, being around successful artists helps me define success for myself. No disrespect intended.

JSD: Who were a few of the musical influences in your life?

PB: Amy Winehouse, Danger Mouse, Marvin Gaye, Feist, Kirk Franklin, Lobi Traore, Kanye West, Pharrell, Hova, John Jacob Niles, James Brown, R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz, Thom Yorke, Otis Redding, and MJ to name a few.

JSD: Who would you like to collaborate with? What would the song be about?

PB: It would be a real game changer to work with Pharrell, and I’m almost certain we’d make some sad, druggy thing about feeling misunderstood or a more upbeat thing about womanizing.

JSD: Is there a message in your music?

PB: The message is that each transition I go through, no matter how bright or dark, is part of one beautiful life and that it all leads to perfection. I hope that whoever listens to me can see himself.

JSD: Radio, Internet Radio, or Satellite Radio?

PB: I hardly ever listen to or search for music unless I’m using a smart phone or computer. Internet Radio Nation!

JSD: What’s next?

PB: I always think years ahead about my life (kids, travel, my estate), but I don’t think you’re asking that. So right now I’m jumpstarting all my career interests at the same time, writing pop songs to sell, going to electronic shows, creating blogging ideas, and reading. The next album is in the works too.