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Rhythm Rave Rewind: Exclusive Interview with St. Paul Peterson

Written by on January 14, 2015

GlamSlam Exclusive Q&A With St. Paul!


What more can be said about the prolific musician St. Paul? For more than two decades, Paul Peterson has forged a career that has been instrumentally etched in history for those who has followed his amazing musical journey thus far. Honestly, Rhythm Rave Radio was actually surprised to be able to correspond with St. Paul with so many projects on his plate as of present. Yet we were truly honored to have St. Paul converse with us in this WRRR exclusive Q&A!
WRRR: St Paul, you and your family are well renown in musical circles as The First Family of Music in Minnesota and abroad. How integral was your mother, a professional musician in her own right, in shaping your family in developing their musical talents?

St. Paul: My mother had to raised me from the time I was 4, due to the death of my father. She is a strong Catholic, and, one of the best musicians I have EVER MET! She just happens to be my mother. She would get us off to school, and then go gig at night to earn a living. When we were old enough, mom took us on gigs. She’s make us play all the old standards – usually we didn’t know them, but she made us play them anyway! This is how we developed our musical “ear.” Learning those songs really gave us a great foundation for what ever music we wanted to pursue. She IS the reason we are all in the business today (of course dad too, but since I was so young when he passed, she was the one who encouraged me!)

WRRR: We understand that you were discovered at the age of 17 by Prince. At that time, you were coming into The Time as their new keyboard player as well. How was that transition, and were you able to learn any valuable points that you still use today musically?

St. Paul: Wow – that’s an interesting question. The transition was interesting, being a white kid from the suburbs. I think they recognized my talent, but had to “throw me into the funk fire” in order to get completely engulfed into the true funk. Prince and his predecessors; (the) fella’s are right, you can’t fake the funk. Prince and Jesse taught us how to play parts, and how they all worked together to form the groove – I still use these techniques today as musical director for many acts.


WRRR: After The Time disbanded Paul, you were immediately placed into the spotlight of, (in my opinion the best band to come out of Paisley Park,) The Family. The classic “Nothing Compares 2 U” is an all time favorite among your followers. Can you give any insight into how this song came about?
St. Paul: I am not exactly sure of the story, as Prince wrote this song – but I believe he wrote it with Jerome’s unfortunate breakup with his long time girlfriend in mind. I am honored to have sung that song first.

WRRR: Paul, outside of your own personal work, you also are highly regarded as an excellent studio musician in high demand, gracing the works of talent such as Shannon Curfmann, Jonny Lang, The Corrs, Anita Baker, and George Benson just to name a few. Any favorites that you care to mention that challenged you creatively?

St. Paul: They all come with their different brands of creativity – and coming from my background, it has allowed me to relax and just enjoy the different challenges at hand. Everyone that you mentioned was a joy to work with – one you forgot that happens to be my hero is Stevie Wonder – I was a staff musician on the Donny and Marie talk show in the late 90’s, and Stevie was the musical guest for the entire hour. With no rehearsal, we all sat and played like we’d been playing together our entire lives. Playing with Stevie, Prince, and of course my own Peterson Family have been the highlights so far.

WRRR: As a father yourself Paul, do you see today’s market of music accessible for your own children to consider “good music”? Anyone today you personally listen to?

St. Paul: I think that music is the same as it ever was – there is some great stuff out there, and there is a lot of crap! I like Neo, Chris Brown, Usher, Christina (Aguilera), Johnny Lang, Beyonce’, Joss Stone, Jo Jo, Panic at the Disco, Fall out Boy – etc etc Many various styles. I also am into a lot of contemporary Christian artists.

WRRR: The Truth Band; can you briefly tell us who initiated the idea, and will we see any recorded releases in the future?
St. Paul: Local manager Jeff Taube came up with the idea, and he gathered us all together – and we all agreed that it would be really fun to play the music we came up on. We are in talks as we speak about doing a CD.

WRRR:  Thank you again St Paul, and we here at greatly appreciate your valuable time to touch base with your fans here. God bless you and your family always!

St. Paul: God Bless You Too!

Check out St Paul’s Facebook Fan Page  

Originally posted on the now the now defunct website in 2006; interview conducted by Funkayy & edited by Modesty (Rhythm Rave Radio)