Michael Peterson to perform at fun fest

August 11, 1999

Michael PetersonBy KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

Michael Peterson, the man country music fans selected as Male Star of Tomorrow at the 1999 TNN Music City News Awards, played football and majored in psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

[cont. from lifestyle]

Then he spent 12 years as a motivational speaker in high schools.

"I figured it was a place for me to do what I love - move people," he said in a phone conversation from somewhere in Ohio, with a little more sleep in his voice than you hear on his recordings.

He'll perform at Red Run Park in Rouzerville, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 15, as part of the WAYZ Summer Fun Fest. His show is at 4 p.m.


It proved to be an opportunity for him to experience every kind of performance situation. Sometimes it was an full auditorium. Sometimes it was just five kids in detention. It was very fulfilling, he said.

Michael's favorites

Food: Whatever he's hungry for

Recent books: "The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense," by Carol Adrienne, a book by songwriter Jimmy Webb, a biography of Elvis Presley.

He honed his communication and entertainment skills while sharing his story of being a special education kid, of having his father die when he was 15 and his stepfather die two years later.Standing on a high school auditorium stage looking like a "million bucks," he told kids he understands how it felt to be the "fat kid."

Peterson knew what it felt like to be ridiculed. He'd play games with the students, handcuffing together two popular, powerful kids and having a kid who was one of the least powerful, a "loser," have the key they needed to be free.

Today, Peterson, 39, is moving people with his music.

He wrote 70 songs in a nine-month period and co-wrote nine of 11 tracks on "Being Human," his second CD.

"I'm a melody guy," he said, but a song usually starts because there's something he wants to say. The words come first, but not all at once.

He wrote a new song, not yet recorded, for the Special Olympics. He's Tennessee's official spokesman for the organization.

"Trust Your Hopes, Not Your Fears" has a message that can apply to anyone, he said almost irritably. He's adamant about not being patronizing.

The song tells people to face their fears and prove them wrong, and anybody can benefit from that, Peterson believes.

"I am a very blessed person," Peterson said. But he quickly pointed out that he really has paid the price to have this blessing.

He works hard, but he loves his work, writing and performing and moving people with his music. "This is what I do," he said.

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