Friday, August 25, 2017

Artist Spotlight - Rev. Peter Unger

Pastor Unger was a finalist in the USA International Song Writing Competition.
New Album - 'Songs of Grace By Rev. Peter Unger' -

1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do the music? If so who? Influences? Role models?
I am really not in the music business. I am a pastor who mostly writes songs for worship. Some of the songs were written to be paired with a sermon. Others were written to be sung with the congregation in worship. My earliest inspirations and influences were folk, folk rock artists like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. Later on, as a young adult, I came to love Celtic music, particularly mystical ballads. The Scottish artist Dougie Maclean Is one of my favorites.

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed.
As a pastor my singing and songwriting serve as an extension of my ministry. Though I have tremendous respect for professional musicians I never sought this as a separate career. I am aware, that while it is easier than ever to promote your music as an independent artist on the internet, it is harder than ever to to stand out. My only strategy is to keep writing songs that I believe speak to an innate human spiritual hunger. I write most of my songs so the lyrics have more of an open-ended spiritual quality than a religious sectarian one.

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why? Why not?
As long as I can write songs as an extension of my ministry I don't have a strong preference here. It helps that making money from my songs is a secondary consideration for me. In the past money from my CDs has gone to my church.

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why? Why not?
I am far from an expert or insider on this topic. As an outside observer it seems that the music industry is going through a radical transition. Digital technology has made it possible for both music industry professionals and independent artists to promote and sell their music on the internet. Platforms offer a variety of tools with which independent artists can promote their music. Music industry websites are making CDs, and the stores that sell them, seem antiquated. Songs can be downloaded, individually and collectively, to a variety of devices. This, and a variety of other factors, are definitely changing the landscape on which the music industry operates.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media are affecting the music industry, and how musicians are able to market themselves?

The internet and social media are helping to level the playing field for smaller music companies and independent musicians. They can now set up their own websites, and promote their music directly to the public through these sites or through music platforms. As stated before, though, this can also make it harder for artists to stand out. One constant in the music industry is the greater financial means that the larger music companies can bring to bear in promoting, managing, and producing their artists whatever the venue. Still at least now, with the internet and social media, many more artists can be heard by a greater audience than ever before. With the evolution of, and advances in these forums the playing field may be leveled even more.

6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?

At the age of 12 or 13 my family moved from an urban cosmopolitan area to a rural provincial one. I was at an age where fitting in was developmentally critical to my sense of self worth and identity. As it was difficult, at first, for me to fit in, this experience had a lasting traumatic effect on me. Learning to play the guitar and write songs, at this time, gave me a much needed sense of self worth. Later on they became a primary way to make friends. Within a spiritual context I experience these abilities as a gift of God's grace. It is my hope that my songs might also serve as a vehicle of that grace for others.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell outs". Do you see it that way and if so what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your band, and make a good living at the same time without having to sell out?
As a pastor I have not been in a position where I had to depend on my music to make a living. I have the greatest respect for musicians who have had to do this, and I can imagine how difficult it is to strike a balance between doing what is necessary commercially and staying true to one's music.

8.) When you do music what would you like your listeners to get out of it?
The self acceptance and self worth that comes with the gift of God's grace can be experienced in a variety of individual ways. My hope is that each person who listens to my songs will experience the spiritual love and nurturance in a way they need it most.

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