Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Give Your Love To Me

In a Manhattan landmark eatery on the Upper Westside,
the conversation in the corner began after surveying the
collection of signed memorabilia adorning the walls.
Peter Angel, an aspiring Pop/Latin/R&B singer, sat at the table,
fingers interlaced. A study in detached urban cool.

Peter is a native New Yorker, who grew up as the youngest child of two working class parents in the housing projects in Alphabet City, on the Lower Eastside. His father, a singer and guitar player, was his earliest inspiration in pursuing music, although he firmly believes his talent is genetic. The earliest sparks of wanting to be a performer took place while he sat in awe watching The Sonny & Cher Show and Donny & Marie Show when he was four years old.

“The first time I sang in front of an audience was in the sixth grade, I sang We Are the World. A teacher that I didn’t expect to came over and complimented me.”

Peter Marquez Angel, or Petey, as family and close friends know him, did not know at such a tender age that tragedy would visit his life a few years later. A hit and run car accident claimed the life of his older sister when he was fifteen. “That’s when my life changed emotionally, I was distraught. I wanted to express something inside of me.” During the days following his sister’s death he wrote his first song.

“It was as if something exploded inside my heart,” he continued. “I sang the song to my mother and she cried.” Listening to his singing voice on tape, it is clear that his past has shaped what will become a signature sound. Peter’s parents realized that he was serious about a career in entertainment after seeing how much work he put into his tribute to his sister. Vocal, acting and modeling classes gave him a technical foundation to hone his natural talents, which were at times a financial burden to his parents who were both factory workers. After having dealt with tragedy early on, he says it is the simple, mundane things in life that gets him out of bed in the mornings.

At eighteen, his lucky break came in the form of a backup gig. A local rock band modeled after Santana, Brother’s Bailey & Cruz, seasoned veterans in the local New York band circuit, well into their forties, put out the call and he responded. “I was so nervous. I mean, these guys could have been my father. I had something to prove. I was going to show them that I had the talent and drive to keep up.” Peter remembers standing on stage, mouth opened, and singing the first song that came to mind. Soon after the audition ended, he was welcomed into their fold. Being in front of an audience was scary at first for him, but the fear turned into a solid stage presence that borders on sensual and fun.

Artists that have inspired him to reach higher in his own life and career include Stevie Wonder, George Michael and Billie Holiday. Perseverance is what he gleans from his favorite artists. “Billie Holiday. She had such an interesting style. Loved by many people and yet so destructive at the same time. She had an irony in her voice. She sang from deep places. I don’t often hear people sing from such depths. You knew something was going on.”

“I am a dream chaser. I know what I want. I know who I am and what I want out of life.” The soulful singer makes no excuses about life. He realizes that people are in charge of their lives, for the most part. “Anyone who knows me knows my priorities. I am determined to succeed.”

Peter is not always so dogged about pursuing music; he allows himself down time. Collecting Japanese Anime and shopping are high on his list as ways of recharging his inner artist. “I will myself from sinking into despair. I have learned that we are here one day and gone the next. “I can’t force my writing. Creativity comes in spurts for me. When my muse visits, I write.”

Who is Peter Angel? Stay tuned and buckle your seatbelts.

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