Family, music and fate are the cornerstones of Pete Murray’s life, and they have come together as beautifully and seamlessly as his latest music.
There are usually some pivotal moments in people’s lives that put them on the right track, and Pete Murray has three of those that have also formed his approach to life. One of these moments is an event that most people who know Pete Murray and his music are aware of: in 1993 when he was a rising star in football, Pete had a knee injury that abruptly ended his career. He was already representing Queensland and had dreams of playing for Australia, so at the time it was a crushing blow.
Another of those moments is not so well known, and it has undoubtedly made him the life-loving and devoted family man that he is.
“My guiding philosophy in life is to work to live, not live to work,” he says. “I was never interested in working by the clock and I knew from a young age that I would not pursue a job working for someone else. To me, life is about your lifestyle, and having time. Time is precious, and I learnt that at 18, when my father suddenly died.”
After years of hard work, Pete’s mother and father sold their business and decided to travel around Australia and semi-retire. They hit the road but a few weeks later, his father had a heart attack and passed away.
“From that moment I knew that life was not about money – it was about having time to do what you want to do. I’d just turned 18 and had my first beer with my dad and realised I didn’t really even know him,” Pete explains. “But then weeks later, he was gone.
“I didn’t want that to happen in my own life, and family is and always will be the most important thing to me,” he says. “I make sure I always have time with my family and always go to our kids games and spend as much time as possible with them. We get up, go for a coffee as a family then head to the park or beach and play around. I hope that they remember those times and the things I do with them – whether its jumping off the cliffs at Lennox head or just mucking around. Family is just so important.”
Pete’s new track that is bound to warm the hearts of his fans is Found My Place – and he explains that it’s about finding his home and love, but the track is also about passing on your wisdom on to the people you care about. The easy listening, calming acoustic music that Pete is famous (and adored for) gives this new album a sense of assured warmth – listening to it makes you think of a friend’s embrace or the warmth of a loving family home.
The third moment in Pete’s life that led him to where he is now as a musician, was when he met a guy called Charlie – who he named his first son after
“I was 21 years old when I met Charlie Parker,” says Pete. “He was about ten years older than me and he gave me some advice that I will never forget – he said that I had to make sure I had at least one year in my life of just bumming around and doing what I wanted to do.”
Pete took Charlie’s advice and during that time, he decided he was going to learn to play the guitar. Charlie liked the sound of doing that too, and they agreed to both get into it. Pete started lessons and really enjoyed it, while Charlie said he’d get to it later.
“But he had an aneurysm and passed away at 30 years of age,” Pete says. “ I don’t think he ever saw me play. If you’d told me that I would have a career as a musician when I was in school, I would have laughed. But here I am.”
Those three moments in Pete’s life have cemented his belief in fate. “I am a massive believer in fate,” he says. “Things happen for a reason, and you might prevent something from happening but then it will come back and it will happen as it was meant to. Fate has brought me to where I am now, for sure.”
Pete now lives in Byron Bay with his wife Mira Eady and his three children (Charlie, Pedro and their daughter Saatchi) aged between three and seventeen. Mira takes most of his photos and she is the one he turns to for feedback on artwork. “I also love to run my songs by her – she’s very creative and is presently studying art,” he says.
Ask some people about 2020 and they might groan, but it was an incredible year for Pete both personally and professionally, and his new music is testimony to that.
“The past year was awesome!” he says. “Byron was empty of tourists and I’d run into some of the older guys who have lived here for a long time, and they’d comment that Byron in 2020 was like it was in the 70s – a sleepy surf village. It was a ghost town! I had the beach and the waves to myself, could park anywhere, and it was so peaceful. But I get the fuss – Byron is a beautiful place and who wouldn’t want to live here?.”
Although there is a lot of new music to be released during 2021, Pete says that he finds it quite challenging to write a song.
“Pulling everything together to make it work can be hard,” he says. “It’s about getting a song to the point where people can connect to it, sing along to it. It means a lot to me if I can create a song that connects with people and helps them to improve things in their life.”
Songwriting may be challenging, but since 2003, Pete has released seven albums, and he is one of only a few Australian artists with over one million album sales under his belt. He’s also been nominated for 17 ARIA awards.
Pete’s debut album, the roots/rock infused ‘Feeler’ sold 450,000 copies and it also, astoundingly, spent two and a half years in the Top 100. In 2004 he released ‘So Beautiful’ – the classic song that so many people know him for, and it went on to become the Most Performed Australian Song of the Year.
In late 2005 his sophomore album, ‘See The Sun’ debuted at #1 in Australia. The first single ‘Better Days’ became a #1 airplay track while ‘Opportunity’ became the biggest song of 2006, earning the most played track at Australian radio.
In 2008 Pete’s third album ‘Summer At Eureka’, debuted at #1 in Australia, making it Pete Murray’s third consecutive album to hit the top of the charts. His fourth album, Blue Sky Blue, ‘Blue Sky Blue’ went gold and in 2013 Pete released ‘The Byron Sessions’ – an album with new acoustic versions from Blue Sky Blue.
In 2017 Pete released his critically acclaimed album ‘Camacho’ which he toured nationally across Australia. The album’s title track was inspired by the tough time he was going through, while dealing with a divorce from his first wife to whom he had two children.
“I dropped off the scene for a while there,” he says. “I had a marriage breakdown and it was a tough time. There was a lot to get through and my children were my top priority. With this album, and with my next tour coming up, I feel that I am back.”
Back indeed. ‘Found My Place’ is now out and fans are falling over themselves with praise for the moving music that perfectly encapsulates his soothing, uplifting style of acoustic music. He’s not only found his place – the 47-year old musician from Byron Bay has found his own unique space in the history of Australian music industry. Let’s hope this year brings an ARIA.
Pete will be performing around Australia as part of the ‘By The C’ lineup through February and March. A celebration of live music, food and community on the world-famous beachside locations around Australia, Pete will visit Glenelg SA, Cronulla NSW, St Kilda VIC, Sandstone Point QLD and City Beach WA. All event details and tickets available from petemurray.com/#shows
Pete’s first release in 2020, Found My Place, is out now! His new EP, The Night is out March 26 2021. Pre order now.