An Interview with Skye Peterson

Posted by John Gardner & Other on September 6, 2023
An Interview with Skye Peterson
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Skye Peterson is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, TN. She writes indie-folk style music which emphasizes storytelling, as well as hymns for Getty Music and the local church. In this episode we'll get to know her a bit and hear some samples of her music.

Get tickets to her show at Faith Bible Church on September 25:
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  • Automated Transcription
  • Dan Jarms 0:00
    Today on faith matters we have a special guest that John Gardner is going to be interviewing sky Peterson.

    Dan Jarms 0:12
    I'm Dan Jarms. And you're listening to faith matters a podcast to help update you on matters of Faith Bible Church, as well as equip you in matters of the Christian faith

    John Gardner 0:32
    Hello, Faith Bible Church and other faith matters podcast listeners. This is John Gardner. Joining me virtually here in the studio today is Skye Peterson who will be with us live and in person for a concert on Monday, September 25. Skye, it's great to have you on the program. Yeah,

    Skye Peterson 0:48
    thanks so much for having me. Happy to be here.

    John Gardner 0:49
    We're really looking forward to hosting you and about a month you know, one of my favorite things that's been happening in the last few weeks since we started promoting the concert is having people come up to me and say, Pastor we we looked up Scott Peterson on on Spotify, or wherever and we've been listening. He's really, really enjoying her music. So it's fun for me to watch other people discovering things that I love. But since since you're going to be new to a lot of folks up here in the Northwest, I thought maybe it'd be good for you just kind of introduce yourself. Tell us a little who you are where you're from maybe how you got into songwriting any major life events coming up in the near future.

    Skye Peterson 1:30
    Yeah, yeah. Um, well, I grew up in a really musical family. So my dad is a songwriter. And my mom was a piano teacher. So music was always a very big part of my my life and my story. And yeah, I started writing when I was little. And my son my favorite songwriters are like Sara groves and Sandra McCracken the both of whom are like, really wonderful Christian artists, but also a little bit outside of the typical TCM world. And they love to tell stories and be very real and honest about their lives. And so most of my music is influenced by story and, and wordplay and metaphor. And, and yeah, so that's been really fun to kind of dig into that. And so I went to Bible school after I graduated high school, and I went to a school called cape and right Hall and England, and I studied there for a year, one year program. And that whole time, I was like writing on the side. And really, it was just receiving all of the Bible learning and kind of using those stories to influence a lot of my songs, too. Yeah. And then after I studied at a different school for about a semester, and then I met the Gettys. And so then I started working for them and moved back to Nashville, and moved in with some roommates and, and now doing music full time. And so Getty, like him writing world is kind of part time. And then I, I do my own kind of songwriter stuff. It's a really great bounce. I really love it.

    John Gardner 3:06
    Awesome. Yeah, well, you know, springing into the hymns kind of quite a while before we knew you were going to be touring in this part of the country. I began introducing some of your hymns to our church, and they've been been really well received. For the awkward part, right, right. You know, for our, for our listeners from from faith. There's three songs that Scott has written that have become familiar to you the song, take shelter, and I'm not my own, and love. Still big welcome. Subscribe, personally, I want to thank you for writing the songs for the church, I love. The songs particularly seem to kind of occupy a place in the landscape of Christian community that has been kind of vacant, you know, there's not a lot of people writing songs of confession or songs that talk about what it means like to be made in the image of God or not to belong to ourselves, but but to belong to him. Yeah. So those have been really valuable additions for our church. You already mentioned a little bit about getting connected with the Gettys. How did you how did you get into specifically him riding?

    Skye Peterson 4:22
    Yeah, that's a that's a great question. So Ben chive, who is on the on the Getty team, he is my dad's keyboard player. And so he and I were on a Christmas tour together to two years ago now. And we started just kind of CO writing on the side whenever we had free time. And I had actually never written to him before I had like, I had had this chorus, the take shelter chorus like that I wrote a song about social anxiety actually, like years ago, all the way in high school and the song wasn't a congregational song at all. It was just kind of this like, reminder to myself that here's my safe place in the midst of all of the scary Middle School cafeteria, you know, and, and so anyway, but that I played that chorus for Ben, which I just kind of popped back into my head and he was like, Wow, this would actually be a really great congregational song. So like, let's try to rework the verses. So that kind of like opened the doorway into thinking that the melodies that I just instinctively write, might work for other people to sing. Melodies have always been pretty simple. And, and, yeah, and so that translates really well to kind of corporate worship, which I didn't know. Until, until Ben told me so. So yeah, it's been really cool. Being a part of the Getty team, if you've listened to any of my music, you can tell it's very different from like, the songwriter kind of music that I typically make, it's kind of like learning a new language, it's, it's like really good for you and, and also really hard to kind of switch gears. But one of the things that I love most about it is that it makes me really think long and hard about what I want to say. And most of my songwriter songs are very feeling based, and very, like, I normally write them after midnight, whenever I'm feeling a lot of things and feel like I just need to process something and, and him writing more focuses on like, stripped away from your feelings. So what do you actually believe is true? Like, what do you actually want to remind yourself and have kind of repeated in your heart and in your mind on Sunday mornings, and, and that's been so good for me something as simple as I'll take shelter, where I'm not my own, or like, God still wants me here. Like, he will not pass you out. All those really simple lyrics are, like, they actually, like, form who you are, in a way. And whenever I look back at my church experience, I don't even know if I was aware of what those songs were doing in me. But whenever you listen, you know, if every, every Sunday for, you know, 18 years, you're listening to the same words over and over and over again, of course, they're gonna shape you and of course, they're gonna change the way that you think about things. So yeah, it's made me like really want to be careful about you know, what we're seeing on a Sunday morning. And and to know that Monday morning to like, that those thoughts are going to be, are those words are going to influence how you wake up on Monday morning? You know? Yeah, yeah,

    John Gardner 7:39
    I'm sure it's, it's a different kind of task when you know, you're writing words for other people to sing. It seems like a pretty pretty weighty responsibility. But I love the simple melodies that are easy. It's been really nice for our congregation to pretty much. By the time we finished singing the first verse, they're like, Yeah, we got this, and they're ready to jump in and sing along, which is great. It's interesting, as you have been doing this job for a little while, there's not a lot of hymn writers yet that we've seen from kind of Gen Z. So it's, it's refreshing to see. See your work come out. I was wondering, are there some things you see kind of on the horizon for him writing from others in, in your generation? Getting getting new songs for the church out into the world?

    Skye Peterson 8:35
    Yeah, yeah, that definitely, I am the youngest person on the Getty team. But it's been cool to see how a little bit of like pushing the boundaries of what handwriting is, the more younger people are kind of stepping into the worship zone. It's been cool to see how the subject of the songs seem to have switched, switched a little bit, because the issues in the church have looked a little bit different now. Like, shame, culture is huge right now. And also like identity problems like sexuality. And it's interesting to, to write with all of the political disagreements and everything and yeah, all the differences about sexuality and all that, to know that like, there's, there's still a truth that can be true for everyone, or that everyone can get on board with which is as simple as I'm not my own. I belong to Jesus. Like that's, that's true. That's scripture. That's what we're gonna remind ourselves every morning, like, like, view all of your political views through that through that lens, you know. So yeah, and I also also think the sound of worship music is probably going to change. It's been like, hard to figure out okay, well, most most of the people in my church, love, love to get A's and also loved Phoebe Bridgers and Coldplay and Tyson Motsenbocker and like, have this respect for like different sounding music too. And so how do you merge that with these, you know, words that have been sung for hundreds of years when these prayers that have been prayed in the church for hundreds of years. And I think that it's kind of beautiful to meld those two things together. But I think it's gonna take a lot of time to figure out what that actually looks like. Yeah, I don't know. I definitely

    John Gardner 10:25
    have appreciated your, your kind of songwriting perspective, you mentioned, identity politics and those kinds of challenges. There's not a lot of songs that we get to sing together that speak to those issues. So I do hope we see more more things like that entering our hymnody our church is pretty eclectic, musically and so we like different styles of music so that's that's another thing I think it'd be really encouraging in the in the coming years

    John Gardner 11:51
    of course, most of the songs you write are not hymns for, for our listeners, would it be fair to describe maybe your songwriting style is like indie folk. Do you have like a genre? Okay,

    Skye Peterson 12:05
    I think Andy folk.

    John Gardner 12:08
    Yeah, and whatever, whatever you call it, I dig it. I think it's a sound music. I think it's a style of music that that will play really well, here in the Northwest. You know, you mentioned having a, like a storytelling background, in in your songs. So when you're writing more of those songwriter type songs that maybe draw more from your life experience? How does that approach differ from what you're doing when you're when you're writing hymns for other people to sing?

    Skye Peterson 12:44
    Yeah, well, a lot of it is more feelings based, I think there's a little bit more of an emphasis on self expression, and processing your own emotions, it feels like a little more self centered. And I don't mean that in a selfish way. But just more like self reflective is maybe the better word or phrase. And, yeah, so when I, when I write my kind of songwriter songs, it's a lot of it is like, using very specific details, and handwriting, it's a little bit better or more helpful to be a little bit more general. To kind of, like, make statements that, you know, everyone will kind of understand.

    John Gardner 13:28
    Yeah, it's harder to have hymns that are more personal pronouns, unless it's something that the Bible says is true for everyone.

    Skye Peterson 13:37
    Right, right. Yeah. And that's kind of the joy of songwriting is is getting to take what's like use the context of what's already in front of you and and pull it in and it actually invites the listener into your life and into your story which which I love and it's like, which maybe is why songwriting feels a little bit more vulnerable. Whereas him writing like I can kind of go underneath the radar and know sing songs that you know, Keith Getty will also say and believe are true to his story. But I love a love stories. I grew up on, you know, Narnia and Watership Down. And yeah, just I think that stories are almost more helpful to me than theology can be sometimes. Sometimes I feel like they paint an even truer picture of the gospel than sometimes reading a theology book can and I learned that at Bible school a ton I remember having some like really dark, hard spiritual battles and, and my dad calling my dad and him being like, I know this sounds crazy, but like don't read the Bible and go read Narnia instead. And which to me was like the best advice not to throw away your Bible reader. Bible for sure. But to like aren't remember that like, like Jesus is this person this human that, you know, lived and breathed and had a personality and had tastebuds and thought some some things were funny and, and to remember that like that's that's the mystery, the mystery of like Jesus's humanity is more easy to sing about whenever you have the freedom to describe specific details about what that would have been like. And there's a there's a time and a place for theology and I think that that's in the church. And it also depends on what you mean by theology, because I think stories are its own kind of theology.

    John Gardner 15:42
    I think just the concept of story itself is so integral to the Christian life in the Bible is theology, but the Bible is also story. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I think learning to interact with story is, is almost its own discipline. And so I know, I've been really shaped through a lot of great literature as well, that, that helps me when I read my Bible to, to interact better with with that story. That's true. And, and you recognize things that are true by by looking at that story from from the Bible. So Scott, you've got, you've got a new album came out a few months ago called where the winter was. And it will get to hear a lot of those songs at the concert and a couple of weeks. It's your first full album, right?

    Skye Peterson 16:35
    It is, yeah, I put out an EP beforehand, but this was about first. Okay, cool. Yeah.

    John Gardner 16:40
    So first of all, it's a, it's kind of a really fascinating album, title, maybe you can tell us a little bit where that came from. And tell us a little about the album.

    Skye Peterson 16:51
    Yeah, um, the the song or the album title is called where the winter was. And it That's a line from the song resurrection. And you, which is that song was it's kind of the thesis of the record. It's all about, like learning to see God in the world, and what's already around us. And it was written, after seeing one of my friends come to know Jesus in the church, and seeing her every day in the church, like looking very, like, Yeah, I'm interested in the Gospel. And then one day I saw her changed. And I just looked up and realized that she was on the second row with her hands up in the air and like praising God, and it was, it was such a good reminder that like, the choruses, I know, it's true, because I see the resurrection in you. And then goes on to say, the second verse is kind of about creation, and how I've seen the daffodils rise again. And so I know that it's true, because I've seen the resurrection in the daffodils. And then third verse is kind of the thesis of the record that's, that says, I know, I'm dust to dust, and death will come to each of us. But everywhere the winter was, he's making all things new. And I know, I know, I know that it's true. Because I'll be resurrected to this idea that like we're all these like, sinful, human broken human beings that are one day all going to be made new again. And I can I get I'm reminded of that, the things around us. That's kind of what the whole album is about. And it kind of says that in different ways. But man, it's good news to me. About It.

    John Gardner 19:34
    Searching for us is one of our favorite family's favorites also. Oh, yeah, I definitely think the album has something for everybody. But I've got to say my daughters are in particular really, really big fans. Yeah, I've got a daughter who's in seventh grade this year, who's been listening to your song not so sure. On repeat a lot lately. And I think that song in particular kind of really resonates with her not Not just because it's got the line in there about being a kid in middle school, but because it speaks. So honestly of that struggle that we all have, we all know to put on a show that makes it look like we've got our act together. We've got the line in there that are really like masking all our fears and failures with a painful kind of pride. That almost seems like it could be a slogan for our culture right now, particularly kind of youth cultures, in the schools. What are some ways you found that help you overcome that pride and to find that real connection that you write about earlier in that verse? The

    Skye Peterson 20:35
    other night, a month or two ago, I was having a really hard night and was crying. And most of the time when I had these really hard nights, My instinct is to just go to bed or journal about it. And then, but not let anyone in. And I ended up just whatever, for whatever reason, the other night, I felt like, okay, maybe I'll call my friend Lydia. And so I called her and immediately she picked up and was so like, excited to bear this burden with me. And she drove over to my house, and we just had tea. And we just talked it through. And it was just like this reminder that like being real. Like letting people in allowing people to see what's going on your heart and your mind doesn't isolate you, it just includes other people in your life. And you'll end like the last verse of that song is like, we might be a little less alone if we're brave enough to let ourselves be known. And yeah, I've like I've experienced that. That's not just something I hope is true. It's something I've seen to be true. And I've experienced it to you in a way that I love other people. It's such an honor, whenever someone shares something deep or hard with me.

    John Gardner 22:52
    so my longer term goals here at our church is to encourage artists and creatives to use their the very gifts to exalt Christ, and to display his beauty to the world in every way that we can. A big part of that is encouraging songwriters, we've got several in our church who are gifted in that way. It's definitely not one of my strengths. But I want to be able to equip and encourage others. Is there any any advice you can give me about? That might be useful in building a culture of songwriting your faith Bible? Yeah.

    Skye Peterson 23:26
    I love that question. That's so good. I would say create spaces where artists can share, I would not have been able to, I would not be doing what I'm doing. If, if my worship leader had asked me to help lead her, even though I was 12. And I yeah, I wouldn't be doing what I was doing if there weren't house shows or, or hosts that knew I was young, but still wanted to be encouraged. And yeah, so whatever that means for you in your church, I would, I would say, just create spaces for that to happen.

    John Gardner 24:05
    Cool. I love how early you got started in that we actually for your show here in Spokane, we've got a corporate sponsors, one of the local schools, the oaks, classical Christian School. So we're hoping that a lot of students are going to be here that night. Some of them are interested in in songwriting, and storytelling and just writing in general, an encouragement that you can give to students who are looking to begin their writing career at a young age.

    Skye Peterson 24:37
    Yeah, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it. It's so fun. Songwriting is the best and it's so helpful, not just for other people, but also for your own self development. And yeah, I think finishing songs is the hardest part. It's really easy to start songs but finishing them even if they're bad is like some of the best advice that I I was given as a kid and made me kind of get through all the bad songs and then maybe slowly now starting to get to some of the better ones. And yeah, I couldn't encourage you more. Yeah, whoever, whatever kids are listening to this like, dude,

    John Gardner 25:16
    do you tend to, like nitpick a lot at the end of songs? Or are you more of a let's just finish it and move on to the next one.

    Skye Peterson 25:23
    Um, I didn't pick it on possessiveness for sure. But that's changed over the years,

    John Gardner 25:29
    you end up with a good product. So whatever we're doing, it's a good process. So what's next for Skye? Peterson you know, after this tour? Yeah, you got a wedding coming up? Our podcast listeners can't see but she's waving her ring. That's awesome. Are you taking a break from songwriting? Touring forbid you're gonna get back at it? When's the next album? Any any new hymns? We can look forward to?

    Skye Peterson 25:56
    Yeah, well, we're so the same conference that the Gettys put on is next week. And so I'll be sharing a couple of new songs there, which I'm sure will hopefully be released soon. At least over the next six months or so. And then yeah, I have five songs ready to be released. And so we're just kind of trying to figure out timing, but we'll put out an EP sometime. Probably before the end of the year, which is really exciting. And yeah, the the wedding day is kind of the the biggest thing on the horizon right now. We're 46 days away. You Yeah, so just over six weeks, which is crazy. But yeah, after. After we get married in October, then we have a couple more shows. And then build the Lamb of God, the Christmas tour that my dad puts on starts which we're both going on so it's not it doesn't really stop but it's all such good things are yeah, those are labs are very full of really, really wonderful things. So

    John Gardner 26:58
    Well, Scott, I want to be respectful of your time. We've We've got like some sign off stuff that I can do. After going is there anything else that you want to say? Well, while we've got you here for our listeners,

    Skye Peterson 27:11
    no, I just I just I'm really thankful that I get to come and play for you as I've also never been to Washington before. So this is this is a first for me.

    John Gardner 27:20
    It's beautiful. You know, as somebody who who came here I was in Tennessee 20 years before we moved up here and love Tennessee, love Nashville. But we've we've found a home here. We hope it's a welcoming place for you when you arrive in a few weeks.

    Skye Peterson 27:36
    Thank you I'm so excited.

    John Gardner 27:38
    Well thank you so much and we'll see you very soon.

    Skye Peterson 27:41
    Sounds good bye bye

    Dan Jarms 28:06
    what's great to hear that interview with Sky Peterson I love the music and any version of modern hymns really encourages me and the songs that we've been singing from her had been really, really soul stirring and encouraging. She's going to be in concert. If you want to come and enjoy the concert. You can go to FB That's how you get tickets. Thanks for joining us

John Gardner

John is the pastor over Music Ministry at Faith Bible Church. He is a coffee aficionado who loves most kinds of music, but has a particular fondness for big band (especially when he's playing trumpet in the band). He and his wife, Laurie, have 3 kids who enjoy reading, hiking, and the symphony.

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