theaussieword.com catches up with international singer/songwriter Peter Serrado.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
I was exposed to music from a young age. It all started in the arms of my mother. As a baby I wasn’t a pleasant sleeper, but turned out music was the key form of anaesthesia. Before putting me to bed my mom would turn on the TV, and turn on CMT (Country Music Television), and she would pick me up and dance with me until I fell asleep. We were listening/dancing to some of the country greats at the time during the early 90s. I still believe this is why I have a sweet spot for country music, and a lot of my tone/sound is driven from a country background. When I was about 4-5 years old that’s when I remember my dad showing me a record player, and funny enough the first record that I was exposed to was Blue Christmas “Elvis Presley”, and for Christmas that year I got my first little Fisher Price guitar toy guitar, and I fell in love with music right there and then. I fell in love with the crooners, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis Jr. My love of music continued throughout my entire life, but I was always shy about my ability to write, create, and sing. At the age of 18 I decided that I wanted to be heard, and I wanted to make music a career path. There are many cut scenes to this story but we would be here forever. Essentially I entered a singing contest just to see the response, was successful, got great feedback, it boosted my confidence, connected with a fantastic human/friend/mentor/family Zack Werner (who introduced me to the industry), and I continued playing/writing music til this very day. I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by incredible people who have guided me through this tough career choice.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
There are so many answers to this one! I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by incredible people, friends, band mates, musicians, and family, and because of them and their support I’ve been able to stay motivated and work on my craft. This bond I have with every single one of these people has come across my music, which leads me to part two of my answer. I’m all about stories, and human experiences. The music doesn’t have to be about me, I much rather sit behind the lens of someone else and tell their story. I’m in love with the world we live in, and every detail, every person in our world comes with a story, and that’s what I’m all about, and that’s what motivates me. Lastly, my parents are my biggest influences in my life when it comes to anything music related, they are my driving force, and my backbone.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
I want to stay healthy and make records until I physically can’t, and I want to tour the world as much as I can, and share my music with people all over the world. I would love to meet Bono as well.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Of course, the current times are extremely difficult due to Covid 19, but that isn’t stopping us from moving forward. I’m releasing my New single “Run”, on all platforms April 24th, and I’m releasing the full-length album on May 8th, and the album will be distributed by Warner music in specific regions in Europe, and orchard for the rest of the world which is pretty cool! The plan would be to ultimately have the opportunity to tour and work the album; hopefully once this virus slows down, and we start climbing back into our regular routines, the team and I can start planning our tour.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
My latest release is called “Run” and the song is about internal beauty and finding the goodness in everyone. It’s that lesson we all learn “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, a very cliché concept, but I believe it’s such a relevant lesson to all. The song has a nostalgic element to it. It’s nostalgic in the sense that it takes you back to being a child during a time where nothing really mattered, you were allowed to be naïve, you absorbed anything and everything that your friends, older siblings, or anyone would tell you. It’s about having a good time, just being a kid, growing and learning day to day through interaction, and creating memories and stories that turn into little life lessons. The song was also inspired by the movie Home Alone.
This album “Sunset & A City” which will be releasing May 8th is a canvas of multi-faceted stories and colours that express time, emotion, history, and human experience. The idea behind the album was to capture true moments in human interaction, and human nature, and to provoke the listener by painting these stories in different ways. In each song the story is told in several facets. I wanted each song to be narrated lyrically, melodically, and sonically through production, and instrumentation. As a lover of film and cinema, and inspired by some of the greatest songwriters to grace our earth such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen. I wanted to, and was inspired to blend both streams into one. The idea was to take the visual, the mood, and the expressional component in the cinematography and score of a film, with a blend of delicate words, and powerful melodies. I wanted to create an honest album, where the listener isn’t just listening to an album, but they are able to picture the album through their own lens.
On this particular record I’d define the songs as epic, emotional, folk, acoustic, bluesy, pop rock with a ton of soul. Americana maybe? I was heavily inspired by so much during the writing/recording of this record, and I think all of my influences came out on this one.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
Human Experience. I’m so fascinated by everything we do as humans. How we act, and react, love, hate, emotions, history, politics, absolutely everything to be honest. I love taking all of it, and turning them into musical stories. Personal experiences of course, but I’m mostly interested by other peoples experiences, whether it’s friends, family, or strangers that I meet or cross paths with. Before going into the writing process I will take at least a week to get in touch with myself, and everything around me, and I will wander out into the city and people watch, and listen to conversations. It’s weird, but it has sort of become my routine, and when I hear someone say something interesting, or I hear a cool story, or humans interacting in a specific way, I write it down in my little pocket size note pad. Once I have ideas I’ll go home and try and create something. I’m always working on melodies, and tracking instrumentals/ideas, usually the words will come later with a little inspiration, but every writing session for me can be different, and unique in terms of process (what comes first etc.)
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
I think that’s more for the listener to interpret. I don’t usually write with the solemn intent to create a hidden meaning, but everyone interprets a song differently, and there might be songs on the new record that might have different meanings, but I don’t necessarily purposefully try to do that. I think my writing style and approach is super simple.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Success comes from hard work, dedication, and being obsessed with your craft. Working on your craft every single day, and getting better at it. Success is making your own path, and reaching your own goals. We don’t have to follow someone else’s path to success, I think there are many ways in achieving success, but it comes down to what works for you. I also think along with success comes luck. Luck is a huge factor in the industry, being at the right place at the right time, networking, but ultimately I think you can do well if you put in the work. I measure success differently. To me success at the moment isn’t selling out Wembley stadium, for me success is trying to work this album as best as we possibly can for it to be heard by the masses. My grading of success is incremental. I guess the question really depends on who you ask.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Without a question one of the highlights in my career was taking part in the Portuguese Eurovision Qualification Grand Finale, playing to millions in the country, and playing in an Arena. It was such a surreal opportunity, and it led to another career highlight where I got to play and open up for a top Portuguese Artist Aurea, and we played for thousands outdoors on the beautiful beach of Nazare. I will never forget those two moments and I hope to have more of these moments in the coming years.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Tricky question! So many but I’ll name a few: John Mayer, Leon Bridges, Bryan Adams, Ray La Montagne, Bruce Springsteen, Bono/U2, Coldplay & Mr Chris Martin.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Releasing a full-length album called “Sunset & A City”, but currently on the move and working on new material during this pandemic. Trying to remain creative and sharp, and I’m always looking ahead and working on new music. I want to be prepped for 2021, and I feel like I’ve matured a lot after completing this first album, and I have some new flavours to explore and present
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
The music industry is indeed constantly changing, and when you think you’re doing something right, something else comes along to either facilitate or make it difficult on you, but the team at MDC and I have been going with the flow of things, and working with what is presented to us, and doing what works for me. Everyone’s path is allowed to be different, and can be worked in different ways, but what’s important is that the path through the industry works for you, and has a positive outcome big or small. Hopefully in a few years I will have a larger following, a lot more music to share, and will be used to this touring phenomenon.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
My favourite part about being a recording artists/singer-songwriter is that this line of work, doesn’t feel like work. I mean it can be stressful, there are many roadblocks, but when things are working out you feel a certain way, you feel happy, and it’s fun. Music has also taught me lessons such as breaking out of my comfort zone, and sharing my emotions with people through song writing, and performing. It has also allowed me to meet some incredible people that I can call family.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
No brainers: Matt Corby, Tame Impala (LOVE Tame Impala), Crowded House, AC/DC, Keith Urban.
I love you Australia.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I think social media is a phenomenal tool that I’m still really learning, and trying to improve on. Social media has become a skill, and a tool to get you out there to the public eye. I think the industry will forever be difficult, but everything in life is difficult. We got to do what works for us as artists, use the tools available today in getting our music out there, and just keep working hard. The industry loves hard working individuals, and the community appreciates that. Getting my records out the public eye is why I write and create, I want to leave lasting impressions, stories, and emotions on people across the globe, and I’m working my way towards that!
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
The team at MDC and I have really focused on creating ground forces/teams on certain territories and regions across the globe, and I believe that my sound is very universal to begin with, I think given the opportunity the music could do well on the international market, but I could also be very wrong! I think it’s hard to say how one will appeal to the international market! Now that the record will be out, let’s find out and see what happens together! We are working very hard to get the project out to different regions across the globe, commercial radios, non commercial radios, college radios you name it, and I will just continue to be myself, and work hard.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I collaborate with a ton of local artists, musicians, songwriters in Toronto, it’s really one of my favourite things about the music industry, being able to collaborate, create, and meet new people. You learn so much from collaborating, and often times your best material comes from a few hands in the pot. Right now on my wish list to collaborate with, open up for, write with would be Ray LaMontagne, Leon Bridges, John Mayer, Jack Savoretti, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Paolo Nutini… in no particular order. I have a LONG wish list that’s just a few. You think Kevin Parker would be down, if I head down to Australia? I would love to pick his brain and process apart.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Simple, create your own path, figure out who you are as an artist, be yourself, stay humble and be kind to everyone you cross paths with, be obsessive about your craft, and work hard. I think the most important of all is to look at failure as a stepping stone to success, and just be an artist. Create, and don’t give up, don’t place boundaries and limitations. There will always be noise, opinions good and bad, but block out whatever you feel is impeding you from getting to where you need to get. Lastly surround yourself by good people.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
To the fans that I’ve got! I love you all! Thank you for the years of love, patience, and support. It has been a long road, but you have all been there with me cheering me on, and sending me luck and good vibes, and that’s why I’m able to stay sane, have fun, and do what I do. Can’t wait for y’all to listen to my new record “Run” and my Album “Sunset & A City” coming out on May 8th on all platforms.
Any last words?
I have always been fascinated by Australia, and I hope to tour Australia in the near future if all goes well. It’s a place that carries a lot of significance for me. My mother before immigrating to Canada with my father she wanted to move to Australia, and wasn’t able to at the time, but we’ve always wanted to visit Australia, so I’m hoping that a musical opportunity arises and I can see you folks soon. Would like to thank my team at MDC, Morris Media Group, Music For All, Rhodes Entertainment for all your hard work, and would like to thank Warner Music, Orchard, Quattro music for the support on this album. Love you all! Thank you the Aussie Word!