On January 12, 2024 St. Paul Peterson hosted the 200th episode of Funk Friday, a creative community of musicians collaborating to foster unity and positivity. We caught up with the renowned musician, St. Paul Peterson, to delve into his journey, exploring his role in fostering connections and positivity, especially amidst challenging times.
Discover firsthand experiences from the heart of the music industry, where mentorship and access to instruments empower young minds through initiatives like Free Guitars 4 Kids. Hear inspiring advice for finding your unique musical voice and witness the transformative power of music in action, all in a celebration of FunkFriday’s 200th episode, supporting a cause that resonates with the soul of every beat.
Q: As I understand it, Funk Friday was born out of the constraints of the pandemic and needing to still gather and be creative. Is this true and how has this musical initiative evolved over time? In your experience, How do you think initiatives like Funk Friday contribute to fostering a sense of community and connection through music, and what role do you see music playing in bringing people together, especially in challenging times?
A: At the time, FunkFriday was a vehicle to draw attention to my Music on the Run podcast. My intern Jake Miller suggested it, and at first I was reluctant because of how busy I am. We were in NYC, rehearsing for my show at the Iridium, and the day of our gig, Broadway shut down! We decided to perform, and filmed it for FunkFriday 2, but from that point on, it became a way to try and stay creative and “normal as possible” as time went on. Musicians/entertainers were the first out and the last to come back, so many people were looking for positive things to do. FunkFriday became a vehicle to bring great musicians together, where the time commitment was manageable, and they got to play with other musicians they may have never played with before.
FunkFriday now has become its own positive entity, fostering friendships, musical bonds, and most importantly positivity on the internet, one funky minute at a time. Music is the great uniter, something we can all agree on no matter your politics. It’s a way to escape and groove!
Q: You’ve been deeply involved in the music industry. How have you personally witnessed the positive impact of music on young people, and how does this drive your commitment to support causes like Free Guitars 4 Kids?
A: I was an educator for 20 plus years, and I’ve seen music change young people’s lives for the better. It is a positive outlet, and it doesn’t matter your skill level. You can express yourself through music. FG4K is a perfect partner for FunkFriday…..Together we bring music to those who need it most….FunkFriday with it’s weekly commitment of a 1 minute jam on the internet, and FG4K, bringing guitars to kids who might not be able to afford an instrument.
Q: In your opinion, why is it crucial for young individuals to have access to musical instruments and mentorship, as facilitated by organizations like Free Guitars 4 Kids?
A: At the end of the day, being a mentor is what life is about. The passing down of information; it’s been going on since we were created. Putting a guitar in the hands of a child empowers them to explore their creative side…
Q: Your musical style is distinct and influential. For young people aspiring to pursue a musical path or express themselves through music, what advice do you have for finding their unique voice and using music as a powerful outlet for personal growth and creativity?
A: Listen and learn from your favorite music…..don’t be tied to one genre, love all kinds of music. If you do that, it will show up in how you approach your instrument(s) Learn all you can, and then make it your own!
Q: Can you share any impactful stories or moments that stand out from your night of hosting the 200th episode of Funk Friday as a live event and an event that supported FG4K?
A: Watching these world-class players flock to this concert to play these songs was a clue to me that we really were making a positive impact. I feel that most musicians want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and these musicians really showed up. It was a celebration of what we ALL had accomplished, not just me. I was happy to be the facilitator, but the beautiful thing was seeing how important FunkFriday was and is to everyone who showed up. That also includes the people who paid to come and see the show in terrible MN weather. The place was packed, and it was a testament to how important being a positive influence is.