Peter Walker is an enigma, but it's not like he means to be.
The 31-year-old singer-songwriter from Boston acknowledges that there isn't a lot of information out there about him, but it's not a purposeful attempt to make him look mysterious or complex. For example, his explanation of how he became a musician is pretty simple: "I started playing music at a young age - forced to play with stuff like piano lessons, but I kept doing it. I really got into it when I was in university, then starting being in bands after I finished school. So I finally just decided that I wanted to do it for a living, and it's working out well right now."
That last line might be a bit of an understatement. Walker's most current album, Landed, has finally received its Canadian debut thanks to distribution from MapleNationwide, and new album Young Gravity is slated for an April 2006 release. In speaking about the new album, Walker describes process of piecing together as being a "collaboration of a bunch of different songs from different times."
"It was all from different sessions and stuff," Walker explains. "The bulk of it was done by myself and this bunch of incredible musicians, and we recorded the whole thing out of our pockets. There was no label involved, so the idea was to make this record on a really low budget, then see who might want to pick it up. So I was kind of shopping it around, and I finally got a hold of some people who could help me out."
Walker also isn't hesitant in crediting the number of people who have helped him along in his career. Despite being defined as a solo artist, Walker is keenly aware of all the support he's received, and is quick to acknowledge it.
"I definitely believe that you can't do anything alone," he says firmly. "I mean, I could play all the instruments on the record, and I could record it myself, and it would probably be pretty good. But I think that in life - and definitely in business and in art - no one is really alone, especially in trying to achieve something. To be able to let others in and still feel that you have something that's so personalÖ That's kind of the key."
And it's this type of personal feeling that's deeply ingrained in all of Walker's music. Although he describes the live material as being more "a bit heavier, tougher, more rock," his album material aims right for the heart of the "indie" style that's so ubiquitous - and rightfully popular - these days. As a singer-songwriter, Walker freely admits that he's also excited about the current flux of non-corporate music.
"I was actually just talking about it with a friend yesterday," he begins, "and the 'indie scene' is so massive and wonderful right now - especially out of Canada - and it seems like no one really listens to top ten radio for good music. I mean, no one really cares about that kind of radio music. And yet there's such a great scene of people who love music and care about itÖthey're like people who still buy vinyl. People who buy records and have record players - they care about music."
As he cites two popular ever-changing artists - Beck and Ryan Adams - as influences, Walker clearly has aspirations to stay on the scene as long as possible. And it seems like he's got the right game plan in mind, particularly with the belief that creative longevity shouldn't require that much effort.
"I definitely aim to stay relevant. I might be a little mystified or something, but it seems like it shouldn't be that hard, as far as what I'm doing in my art and everything. Because just over the few years I've been doing it, I've found that it's all such a learning experience. It always seems that there's so much to learn, from reading about musicians and talking to people."
His casual shrug is almost audible over the phone. "It just seems like that's the same case for everyone who's making art, you know? It's always growing and changing. So if that's your goal, it shouldn't be hard to achieve it."
Check out his site here: www.peterwalkermusic.com.
Writer: Caitlin Hotchkiss