As the pandemic sent people into isolation and the forced slow down resulted in the COVID 30 padding many people’s middle, others went a whole other way.
As things wound down Valemount singer songwriter Michael Peters’ creativity ramped up and with that came his debut EP Have I Lived a Good Life.
Peters collaborated with Prince George singer songwriter, Lego movie voice actor, actor, and Vinyl Deck recording studio owner William Kuklis to make the four-song extended play album a reality.
Songs in the EP include I’ll Still Be Here, Like You’re Still Five, You Can Never Go Home Again and Have I Lived A Good Life.
Each song holds a lot of meaning for Peters, who decided the bright city lights were not for him, which prompted his big move to Valemount from Vancouver nine years ago.
“I was tired of the city and knew I would never be able to afford a home there of any size so I was looking for a smaller place to purchase a home and deescalate my stress level,” Peters laughed.
“My work is in film and television and believe it or not they have a small TV station in Valemount and they were advertising for somebody.”
So he runs the station now, he added.
“It takes me three minutes to get to work and I have my own place and it’s a much nicer life,” Peters said.
Growing up in Winnipeg Peters said he started playing in rock bands when he was 13, moved out to Vancouver as an adult where he played professionally as a singer and guitar player for a number of years before he became disillusioned with the music industry.
“You’d get to a certain level as a band and then people would drop out and then you’d have to start again and then you’d start again and start again...,” Peters recalled. “So I gave up music for a long, long time and I didn’t pick it up again until 2012 so that would have been 32 years later. So I kind of gave it a 32-year break.”
He finally realized that he had given up something he’d always loved.
“When it was really the business that I really didn’t love so I had given it up for the wrong reason,” Peters said when he reflected on it.
“That’s when I realized age had given me something to write about and so I started writing and playing songs again.”
When he thought about doing recordings of his work he explored his Prince George recording studio options and really connected with William Kuklis.
“I wanted a small recording studio with somebody who understood what it takes to bring out the best in a singer songwriter,” Peters explained.
Kuklis’ style resonated with Peters and when he did his research he knew he’d found the right fit.
“We had dinner together and I really liked the vibe and so we decided it would be great to work together,” Peters said. “He’s so knowledgeable and so talented as a singer songwriter, producer and an engineer. He made it really easy.”
Finding the money during a pandemic did prove to be a bit of a challenge but Peters just got even more creative.
“I managed to secure a partial grant, I held a fundraising concert, I even did some busking,” said Peters. “I would have cleaned bathrooms to raise money if I needed to. Thankfully, lots of people who couldn’t come to the fundraiser still donated to this EP, as did family, so that was awesome. And I didn’t have to scrub toilets!”
(Because he really would’ve if he’d had to.)
“These are personal songs,” said Peters, “relatable songs about the power and need of relationships, family, nostalgia, and self-reflection. The title song poses the eternal question, have I lived a good life?”
For more information and to find his music check out these links Michael Peters Facebook page, website at www.gmichaelpeters.com, the page where people can buy the EP at michaelpeters1.bandcamp.com and his YouTube Channel.