Grammy Award-Winning New Age Artist Peter Kater on His New Album ‘She’
The American pianist and composer on why he loves improvising and living in the moment
Earlier this year, Maui, Hawaii-based composer Peter Kater learned that the 13th time is the charm, at least when it comes to winning a Grammy. A producer, composer and pianist since the early Eighties, the new age/ambient artist won the Best New Age album award for 2017’s Dancing on Water.
Kater, who has now released his new album She, says he did wonder at some point in the past 12 nominations if he was ever going to win. He’s clear that he makes music not to win awards, but did yearn for the “symbol of achievement” that comes from being called a Grammy winner. “Patience and focus on where true value lies has brought me to where I am today,” Kater says over email.
Dancing on Water was a product of piano-centric songs that emerged out of sessions where people came over and directly under his grand piano for what he refers to as “soul readings.” He says, “Letting the sound permeate and wash all over their physical, mental and emotional being… And yes, most of the time it’s very cathartic. I consider the greatest honor of being a musician to be able to actually move someone with my music, to allow them to feel deeply and as a result to heal deeply.”
His latest album She changes things up with help from American archival singer Peia Luzzi, who is known for her work recreating ancient folk songs from around the globe. Kater says, “When I first heard Peia sing I was moved and inspired and I knew that I wanted to work with her. I felt that she could show up in a creative and present way. The synergy of what we do together is very beautiful.” The nine-track album is essentially an ethereal, alleviating listen but it doesn’t shy away from bringing in beats and a solid bassline every now and then, like on “The Rain Speaks Her Name.”
At the core of it is Kater’s love for improvising and being in the present. He says, “Who I’m with has a great impact on my music. And since I’ve literally practiced ‘being present and improvising’ for decades, the music just flows. I don’t doubt myself or second guess my creative instincts.” It’s no surprise then to hear Kater light up with excitement when asked if he’d like to hop on a plane to India and play shows here. He says, “I would love to interact with and play some Indian musicians as well. It could be a very interesting collaboration. I love my work so much. Such a gift and honor to have a life of music.”
Listen to “She Whispers in Tall Grasses” from ‘She’