Peter White: It's All Confidential

Cheryl Hughey By

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Guitarist Peter White is set to release Confidential on March 23, 2003. Full of smooth grooves and romantic undertones, this CD features guest appearances by Chris Botti, Brian Culbertson, Christopher Cross, Mindi Abair, Paul Brown and Michael Paulo. White took the time to share with the Jazz Review his road of success that led to this ninth solo album.

White began studying the guitar as a teen and knew by the time he was sixteen that he was going to make a life in music. However, big breaks aren’t free. “I was living in a small town in England and had no idea how I as going to get into the music business. I was working in a soup factory. I’d given that up and decided I was going to go for it,” shared White.

Although he’d played locally at the Holiday Inn, he’d never connected with any major names in his London suburb of Letchworth. He thought, “What was I going to do? I want to be musician.” In a moment that would define the rest of his life, he caught the first train to London. As brave as this move might sound to the rest of the world, White admits he was “petrified.” Simply sharing, “Everything was telling me [to] turn back. You’re a twenty-year-old kid with no experience in the music business. There’s people who are going to be there far more experienced than you.” Yet, he pressed on.

“So, I didn’t turn back. I played, they loved me, I joined the band . . . within a few weeks, I was playing in Al Stewart’s band,” said White. It was this defining moment that would shape the rest of White’s life. Reflecting back on the experience, he believes that “the greatest lesson” is that “everybody has fear.” Continuing, “You think you have fear and no one else does. Everybody has fear. The only thing is some people let fear make their decisions and some people don’t. I was determined that fear would not make the decision for me. I acknowledged the fear and went past it. I said . . . yes, I’m scared, but I’m still going to do it.”

White expands on this “life lesson” to his fans during performances. Telling them to “be themselves.” He isn’t afraid to share the stories of his own battles won and thrives on connecting with the audience. The greatest compliment a fan can give White in return is to just enjoy the music. If someone says to him, “I love that song you recorded. It helped me through a hard time,” he believes “that is what it is all about. That is my reward.”

White sees himself as an entertainer and a musician. He doesn’t cut records to impress. The quality of the sound and enjoying what he does is far more important. White took his time in the making of Confidential. “The last album I thought was very good and I’ve been working for a whole year to try and make one that’s as least as good as that one,” said White.

The idea to make a new album actually came from producer Paul Brown. Brown invited White over to the house and played him a rough demo for the song that would become Talkin About Love. Later, they would take a look at the Brenda Russell tune, She’s in Love. White shared, “I wanted to do this song because I like the song. It’s written by Brenda Russell. I’d played it with Brenda many times.” The original piece was written for the piano, but White rearranged it for the guitar with fabulous results. The addition of Christopher Cross on vocals added a romantically fickle touch that brought it all together. An assortment of special guest appearances would create an album full of sensual layers and alluring ambience. For instance, you’ll hear the passionate side of Culbertson in Confidential and sexy trumpet lines from Botti in Stormfront.

White’s favorite song on the album is Endless Journey. Of all the songs on the album, this one took the longest to finish. It is “really two songs in one,” said White. However, what is most fascinating about this piece is the minimalism of the guitar. “In the last three minutes of my own album, the guitar is barely there and I like that,” he said.

White feels that one of the biggest mistakes a musician can make is playing too much. Saying, “Every time I went back and listened to the album, I realized I wanted to make it even simpler.” Perhaps there is one more lesson we could all learn from Peter White – Life is much easier when you just let the music speak for itself.

Visit Peter White on the web at www.peterwhite.com .

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