The Sean Petersen Experiment

21 Feb

The Sean Petersen Experiment

I first heard of Sean Petersen at The Weekend Pub in Newport News.  I like to go on open mic night on Wednesdays to see some new talented artists, as well as the regulars that are always amazing.  One of these nights, everyone was abuzz with news of Sean Petersen to play on Friday.  I had never heard his name and I was curious as to why it was the topic of conversation over the course of my three hours at the Pub.  Luckily for me, Sean showed up for a preview.  Mind you, the Weekend Pub is a very small, hole in the wall, lovely little place for music lovers.  He played everything from covers of “Hey Ya” by OutKast to original songs such as “Sattelites.” I was immediately captivated by his one-man performance and was determined to get an interview and feature him.

This fantastic musician used to sing on key in his toddler years, but no one would take him on as a student for voice lessons because of his age. His mother, obviously wanting to encourage his musical intuition, found a woman who taught suzuki violin lessons to young children and he trained for about 10 years.  He attributes his pitch sensitivity and keen ear to his early years of violin.  And let me tell you, this boy can sing! He was active in theatre and opera at an early age, and he opened at the Jefferson Opera House in the first performance the theatre saw. He switched to guitar because violin wasn’t “cool” anymore in his adolescent years, found his father’s guitar, and taught himself to play.  Now, he plays the guitar, bass, and mandolin, as well as implicating the use of digital sound technologies and programs on the computer and using a synthesizing station.

Petersen became familiar with sound recording at a young age, as well.  He used to play around on his parents’ PC and open the sound recorder and would record himself playing rythym guitar (if anyone remembers this simple program, it requires a dinky computer microphone and cuts you off after 30 seconds), and he would clip it, try and sync it up and paste it until his song lasted ten minutes.  I remember playing with this program, but I definitely didn’t get that creative or work that hard.  Generally I just made weird noises and like to listen to myself played back.  But Sean took this program and forced it into being just what he needed to create full songs!  Sean maintains that his education in these using this and other technologies and acquired deftness at guitar was not glamorous at all, and consisted of him sitting in a room and playing and recording by himself for hours.  You can see live that he is so confident in his playing (probably a result of his long practices at home) and he now enjoys getting to perform, finally getting to share his hard work with some lucky listeners.

He says he was hesitant to get into electronic/synthetic music using looping and such and feels that “the looping thing will run it’s course” and that what he does by himself doesn’t produce the same energy as having a full band.  However, the energy he got from the tight-knit crowd at the Weekend Pub in Newport News didn’t reflect any need for more players – the fact that he was able to create entire songs complete with rhythm, percussion, melody, and a bass line, with just his instruments, a pedal, and his Mac made him a golden boy for the open, but experienced, listeners.  If he thinks he can harness more energy from the crowd with a full band,  then I can’t wait to see him collaborate with some other artists because good things are going to come from his devotion to music as a lifestyle.

Here is a video of Sean Petersen playing his original song, “Satellites” live at The Weekend Pub in Newport News.

Be sure to check out more of his music at his site (just click to jump to his personal page) and to the page to see what he is working on,  find out when and where you can see him play next, or just to click “like” and show your support!

*As a side note, I’d like to thank my friend, Kari Velandria for allowing me to use her gorgeous pictures for my post!  Click on any of these pics for a link to HR Media Management and Booking to get into contact with her, or head to  to see some of her other sessions and/or book a session for yourself.*

Have a wonderful day everyone!


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