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Every artist has something driving them. For some, it’s fame yet, for alternative rocker Peter Woolston, a higher passion fuels him to share with listeners the hope that they’re loved and not alone, challenging them to make our world a better place.
From a Wellington family of six boys growing food as money was tight, making do with thrift-shop outfits, Woolston’s humble upbringing forged an appreciation for simpler things and gave birth to his music.
Fueled by those influences and bands like U2, The Police, and Switchfoot, Peter studied with Songwriting Professor Pat Pattison and completed a Berklee College of Music Songwriting Certificate. His popularity grew, garnering opportunities to travel, playing places as far flung as the US, Russia, China and Bulgaria.
That commitment to music and mission led to becoming Mercy Ships NZ Musical Ambassador offering his CD title track, Hope On My Horizon, to raise funds.
Woolston invites you to echo his heartbeat, combining passion with art, and join the journey to find Hope On the Horizon.
Hope On My Horizon Official Music Video
I Believe In You Official Music Video
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“like Jon Foreman, Bono, and Martin Smith as he weaves his signature-styled alt rock tales” – Frometa, Vents Magazine
“characterized by Woolston’s melodic and guitar powered alternative rock. Each track draws on his penchant for deep thought and is consistently introspective and serious minded – and memorable.” – Dave Crampton, The Wellingtonian
“He has travelled around the world to Eastern Europe and Asia, investing in the lives of others who are less fortunate.” – Kapi Mana Wellington
“Motivating his guitar-driven songs and gutsy vocals, Woolston’s positive influence goes deeper than his music.” – Gemma Margerison
“Woolston has performed in many parts of the world, including the United States, China, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia – a far cry from singing to his neighbours in Tawa, Wellington” – Stuff.co.nz
“Rock music helps Africa – Rock musician Peter Woolston is helping bring life-changing health care services to poor people around the world.” – East & Bays Courier
“Like U2 in it’s heyday … kicking rock … grand confident vocals … layered guitars … similar timbre to Switchfoot … enjoyable modern rock album that will easily attract listeners worldwide” 4 out of 5 stars – Kelly O’Neil, CrossWalk magazine
“rocking guitars, pounding basslines, and crashing drums … pop/rock edge makes his music incredibly accessible … very distinct alternative rock sound … akin to something from Foo Fighters or a less grungy Pearl Jam … guitars have an almost U2 kind of chiming to them and the drums have a forceful stomp … Peter Woolston has created an album that rocks and inspires with equal measure” 5 out of 5 stars – Heath Andrews (interviewer of David Knopfler, Nils Lofgren, and Bruce Hornsby)
“an arena rock sound.” 3.5 stars out of 5 – Alec Cunningham, Blank Newspaper
“paints an attractive picture of his talents as a vocalist, songwriter and guitarist … Woolston specializes in melodic, guitar-powered alternative rock, and it is evident that he has a knack for memorable hooks. Woolston is as infectious on “Dead Man Walking,” “Obsession” and “I Believe In You” as he is on “Better Man Someday” and the title track (all of which he wrote by himself).” “Hope On My Horizon is definitely an album that counts its blessings and sees the glass as half full rather than half empty.” 3.5 stars out of 5 – Alex Henderson, writer for Billboard, Spin, The L.A. Weekly
“It’s official. I am now a lifelong, sold-out fan of New Zealand songwriters. I’m not sure what’s in the water down there in the land of Kiwis, but whatever it is is producing fantastic music … it is true songwriting-based rock music. That kind of trait is more rare. You could take Peter’s songs, remove all the production and instruments, and record the songs on an old tape recorder as he sings and strums them on a dusty guitar, and they would still carry impressive emotional power. That’s the beauty of original, carefully crafted songwriting, and that’s exactly what Woolston accomplishes … with such earnest declarations, the song paints a wide-eyed vision of persuasive hope — the kind of hope that sounds and feels real, sincere, and contagious as you listen. I walked away feeling better about, well, everything … I’m serious — the melodic writing is that good on this album, and Peter’s aggressive singing on “Better Man” and “I Believe In You” is superb. He has a legit rocker’s voice, not just a gentle songwriter’s voice.” – Kevin Ott, Rocking God’s House
“His songs inspire and are positive. I find his music easy to listen to. Keep on playing Peter.” – Robert, Ontario, Canada
“His heart for an authentic and personal message to be given through his performance has always been there. I loved ‘Hope On My Horizon’ because the Pete in this is the Pete I’ve always heard tell us that there’s hope.” – Eddie, Wellington, New Zealand
“It certainly is one of the best lyrically-driven recordings of recent times.” Simon, United Kingdom
“Peter’s passion for reaching the broken is communicated profoundly and remarkably in his music.” – Graeme, Auckland, New Zealand
“His music is great and his love for people and music shows through” – Ruben, California, USA
“This is one huge-hearted musician. Peter’s passion for reaching the broken is communicated profoundly and remarkably in his music.” – G W, New Zealand
“I love this man. More than his music I love his heart towards others… he has always been invested in people and is godly in wisdom. He dwells in the creative..it oozes from him. “Hope On My Horizon” is a song that inspires, it captures the heart like a net, and points towards God. A fabulous work, listen to it, sing and look up.” – Andy, Vancouver, Canada
” He is a rare gem out there amongst the rocks and stones. His songs inspire and are positive. I find his music easy to listen to” – Robert, Canada
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Each and every artist has something that drives their music. For some, it’s the simple pursuit of fame. For others, it’s a longing for glory or the affection of a pretty girl that channels their musical passions. Yet, for those such as New Zealand alternative rocker Peter Woolston, there is a greater, higher passion that fuels his music making and that’s one that drives him to connect with others and to share the intrinsic truth that they are loved and not alone, challenging them to use their gifts to make the world a better place. It’s a mission that Woolston has spent a long time exploring and is one that he doesn’t take lightly.
Woolston’s journey began in the Wellington region of New Zealand, growing up as the youngest in a family of six boys that took to growing their own food in order to sustain themselves as money was tight, making do with hand-me-downs and thrift shop outfits. Yet, this humble upbringing allowed for a deeper appreciation for things and when the artist’s older brother took up the guitar, Woolston followed right along, falling in love with the music and learning to play on a makeshift guitar his brother fashioned for him out of wooden offcuts, aluminum squares, and fishing line for strings. From there, the artist’s talents began to bloom.
“When I was around 10, I would sing songs off the radio for neighbors on the back steps and was drafted into school choirs and concerts,” shares Woolston. “But it was as a 14-year-old that I witnessed Randy Stonehill live in concert as he wrestled his trademark raucous rhythm from a Martin D28 and spun the stories of life in his lyrics … and I was hooked.”
Fueled by those influences and the love of other artists such as U2, The Police, and Larry Norman, the artist dove into his music, seeking to learn and create along the way. His explorations saw him study under teachers such as Pat Pattison and Jason Blume as well as complete a Certificate in Songwriting with Berklee College of Music. And as his songs began to take shape and form, he began to grow in popularity, garnering the opportunity to travel the globe, playing in far-flung festivals, concerts, cafes, and correctional institutes everywhere from the United States to China and Bulgaria.
Yet, while Woolston grew in his success, he found himself reflecting on what was truly important.
“When I was a young musician, I enjoyed national success but I always knew the real stuff of life was more than prancing about on stage so I gladly settled into the privilege of marriage and raising a family. I’ve grown so much as a musician and person through every day of monotony and struggle with the ordinary grind. I never stopped playing and writing through that entire time – it sometimes seemed like a struggle because I traded my musical heyday in for what appeared to be family ho-hum but it has made me a better artist and a better person.”
That commitment to both the music and the mission has led to Woolston being named the Musical Ambassador for Mercy Ships NZ, a task which he’s tackled with gusto. His first order of business was to offer the title track from his upcoming effort, Hope On My Horizon, to the organization to use in promo reels and to sell in order to raise funds and he’s doing the same once the album drops, using his art to benefit others.
But the art is still at the forefront, with Woolston drawing comparisons to artists like Jon Foreman, Bono, and Martin Smith as he continues to weave his signature-styled alt-rock tales. Comfortable in that genre, the artist delivers time and again and draws from the collective work of his team to create great music each and every time. Lyrically, the songs run the gamut from offering up personal tales of success and failure, with “Dead Man Walking” reflecting upon a desire to be accepted through material things while “I Believe In You” reaches out to listeners with a heartbeat of encouragement.
And critics from across the board have responded to Woolston’s work. Challenge Weekly New Zealand shares that through his “motivating guitar-driven songs and gutsy vocals, Woolston’s positive influence goes deeper than his music,” delivering “a high energy performance,” according to the NZ Baptist.
Through it all, the songs stand strong and maintain Woolston’s intent focus, a focus on sharing truth and hope.
“My songs tell the stories of life – the good and the bad – pointing to hope and courage with lyrics that are distinctive to how I write as a songwriter. I connect with fans one person at a time in an honest and authentic way, trying to see how I can encourage them or inspire them to take what they’ve got and make a difference in the lives of people around them.”