Musical artists come to their recording careers in lots of ways, many of them rather typical, e.g. listening to music as a teen, joining or forming bands, hearing a particularly influential album, and then setting off to find fame and fortune. Peter Sterling’s journey to where he is now, as one of New Age music’s premier harp players, was less conventional. Propelled by equal parts happenstance, serendipity, and spiritual epiphany, the tale of how he arrived at his current place in life would make quite a movie, although some would no doubt state “Now THAT would never happen in real life!” However, they would be wrong.
Flashback to about 20 years or so ago–Peter Sterling is earning a living as a ski instructor in Aspen. While he displayed an early talent for music, playing tunes on the piano by ear and showing some skill with flute and guitar, music didn’t reach out and tap him on the shoulder until one day as he was skiing down the Rockies’ magnificent slopes. He had an abrupt realization that his life had to change and that he needed to unleash the creative force which had been dormant all these years. Peter’s grandmother helped him as a young boy listen to his inner voice and at once it spoke to him of a place–Sedona (Arizona), known far and wide as a vortex of power, spirituality, rebirth, and mysticism.
As it has done (and continues to do) to so many others who live there, Sedona worked its magic on Peter. Changing his diet to one centered on wellness, Sterling immersed himself in the lifestyle of the area, focusing on transforming his life. Living in a van in the red rock canyons surrounding the city, he would take walks deep into remote areas, finding spots beside creeks to sit, be quiet, and meditate. Eventually, Sedona’s unique power unveiled itself and Peter began hearing music–beautiful, celestial music, an angelic choir singing to him as he sat in isolation within the presence of all that earthly beauty. He realized what he was hearing was the often mentioned music of the spheres and it re-invigorated his soul, unleashing a strong desire to allow the music to flow through him, using him as a vessel for delivering its transcendent beauty. However, even while this epiphany was occurring, Peter struggled with which instrument to play, as nothing he had tried in the past truly satisfied him.
Happenstance tapped him on the shoulder and Peter made contact with a woman who was sellinga small Celtic harp, which he tried and immediately felt a strong connection to it. He and his harp soon were a pair, hiking way back into red rock canyons where Peter began playing the instrument as if born to it. While he took some lessons from the woman who sold him the harp, it only took a few weeks before Peter felt that the “inner music” from his earlier experience was now manifesting itself externally through his harp playing. He was now ready for a second epiphany, one that held even deeper implications. He had come to believe that it was angels who were “speaking” to him by inspiring his music, and he now actively sought them out, asking for them to appear. One day at sunset, sitting and playing in a forest, they did appear, first as mere pinpoints of light, hovering in front of him, and then in a more defined status. Peter was not just playing through them, but now was playing for them. Eventually, the angels communicated to him that he needed to embark on the next phase of his journey, and this time the destination was on the other side of the planet in Byron Bay, Australia.
It was in Australia that the dream of recording his music for others to enjoy first came to fruition. This humble beginning (which yielded a cassette tape) fueled Peter’s vision to return to America and become a full-time professional musician. Once back in Sedona, he bought a larger harp and booked some studio time. Serendipity gladly intervened in the form of guest musicians who joined Peter in the studio, playing for free. While recording, Peter felt such a deep connection to the music’s source that it was as if his hands were moving by themselves. The recording session produced an eight-song cassette, the accompanying cover of which Peter hand-colored and then
marketed to Sedona area gift shops.
Success followed soon after and here Peter’s story finally takes on a more typical aspect. The music label World Disc released his first two recordings, including Harp Magic which was nominated in 1994 for NAIRD’s (now A2IM) Best Album award. Peter then founded his own label, Harp Magic Music, as well as signing on with New Age music giant Real Music (the label released Sterling’s 2005 album, Shadow, Mist and Light). In 2004, Harp Dreams, released on Peter’s Harp Magic label, sat at the top of New Age Radio’s Top 100 for eight weeks.
Currently, Peter is promoting his new CD, Patterns of Reflection (also released on Harp Magic Music) as well as getting ready for the promotional tour for his first book, Hearing the Angels Sing (published by Light Technology), a memoir of his musical awakening with the aid of the angels. Besides recording, he tours and plays live, here in the US and abroad, both as a solo artist and in an ensemble setting, frequently incorporating multi-media visual elements of nature and the cosmos. He will be a guest artist on the upcoming album Global Force from the successful jazz fusion group Third Force. In addition to his music, Peter also teaches classes on sound healing and the effects of sound and music on consciousness. When he finally slows down enough to come home and rest, he is joined in Ojai, California by his partner Crystal and their 10-month old son, Micah.