( It's been a year since Pete Martinez passed away. Pete was a great friend to all of us at Blacktie-Colorado, and we don't want him to be forgotten. Rest in Paradise Pete! )
After a short “voice-resting” break, popular (and accomplished) country singer, water resource developer – and avid horseman - Pete Martinez is back in the performing saddle.
When it comes to Pete Martinez, I might be a little biased. I first saw Pete perform one Saturday afternoon several years ago at a round-up event out in the beautiful pastures of Larkspur - and thought to myself, this gent has star quality and charisma – plus tons of talent! He for sure had the audience captivated with his authentic, explorative songs. Pete has become a valued friend, and it’s always enlightening to talk life and philosophy with him.
Pete has been an entertainer since he started playing the guitar at age 4 when his father first put the guitar in his hands. He’s a Nashville recording star, has performed all over the country, and has been written up by numerous publications – and played for (at the time) President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. In addition to the USA, Pete’s albums have a strong following in other countries.
Pete’s varied life has been filled with time spent in the great western outdoors, and he’s a true lover of the West and all the uniqueness and richness it holds.
With his wise perceptiveness and instant intuitiveness, Pete Martinez has been a mentor for me and many others. There’s vastness to his talents; and he lives his life thoughtfully. Pete performed recently at the Summit Restaurant (Gayle and Ed Novak are the proprietors), and there’s no doubt he owned the room. Thank goodness this cowboy isn’t even close to riding off into the sunset!
Pete, first of all, you’ve been involved with and supported many nonprofits and community endeavors through the years. Can you mention a few of them?
I’ve donated my performances to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Special Olympics, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Volunteers of America, Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Share Our Strength, 911 families, firefighters and police - among others. The opportunity to contribute my music for the benefit of others is a source of satisfaction knowing I’m paying God’s gift forward.
How do you get motivated to write a song? What’s your process?
Experiences in my life or perceptions I have about life in general are always speaking to me. The key is to capture those when they arrive and let it spill onto a piece of paper or into a recording device, like my phone. I either have a melody I put words to, or I have a subject I want to convey and build a melody around that subject. I’m getting to a point of being able to tap more into a clearer message or an inspirational feeling/movement of a song that I want to hear. Some are upbeat and others are ballads. No matter, showing up to work on a song always provides the best opportunity to receive one. That’s true for most things isn’t it?
Boy are you versatile Pete; you’ve done so many different things. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
Having been an artist all my life, I felt mechanical engineering would provide me the tools to broaden my experience into areas of life I couldn’t define. That continues to bear out. I will forever continue to expand and grow my music and I have several more albums to record, so I see myself performing and recording as long as I am able. Painting, drawing, and writing are also passions I will be pursuing more. I also truly love working with water resources and helping to solve the upcoming problems before us in the Colorado Front Range and the West. Business and politics both play a huge role in all aspects of serving and making a difference. It is my goal to give back on the highest level possible to all the excellent relationships I’ve had the honor to be a part of, as well as to the community as a whole.
What are some gifts your parents gave you that money can’t buy?
Love and discipline with unconditional support of my dreams.
In our conversations, we’ve both established that we are both big Elvis fans. What could have saved such a unique and charismatic man from his fate and overexposed fame?
I’m honored to even be asked to give an opinion here. With a talent on the scale of Elvis, at the time he arrived, there were still so many mistakes to be made for wisdom by people that would eventually be branded as “celebrities”, or icons. With his resources, he could have learned so much from better staff with regard to his health and wealth. Elvis clearly had an innate grasp of his strength and power. As for all of us, time is a good teacher, and he may have likely benefitted from a little more time to cultivate the richness in his life. Surrounding yourself with people that agree with you all the time was clearly a dangerous position for Elvis. If it were up to many of us, we’d keep him alive forever, and we do.
You were very good friends with the late Patrick Swayze who died of pancreatic cancer. What are your best thoughts about your times with - as you call him - "Buddy"?
Yes, I am honored to have called Buddy a good friend, a brother. We had many good years riding trails together in New Mexico and I was fortunate to spend time and celebrate with him and his family prior to his passing. He was definitely tapped into a larger universe and yet always able to have fun. Being in ranch country always provided us a good time to visit and get caught up. Discussions were always about life and how we could make a difference. While he made such a strong impact, he was also passionate about many other worthwhile efforts. He did them all well. He is greatly missed.
From listening to your songs, you are very wise. What's your basic philosophy about life?
That’s a high compliment given I am definitely a student of life. I humbly accept that, thank you. First, I pay high thanks to the writers/friends who have contributed to my music. They come from that wise, sensitive circle of folk gathered around Nashville and from many parts of this great country. I continue to live by what I was raised with: in giving you receive. I’m here to serve on the highest level possible. The honing of the virtues continues to be an ongoing life work to achieve all I want to contribute. From what I can see, there is no “arrival” just the continued mission of taking risks, learning from mistakes and applying the best of what is provided from those experiences moving forward. I’d love to find the book with the equations for “calculated risks”. Since I haven’t found that yet, I’ll continue to seek the best pathways from the best mentors and the best sources of wisdom and knowledge. The best is yet to come.
Where are you in your life right now, what’s important to you, and what do want to happen next? In other words, where have you been and where are you going? Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?
Wow, can I have another page? I feel like I’ve been in trail blazing mode for a long time and that can be daunting, but I also feel very blessed. Pursuing my own dreams and goals is hard work but it’s the work I like to do. It can also be hard on others around me, and given that, I am always thankful for their love and respect. Covering so much ground in so many areas creates a lot of opportunity but it also leaves you exposed to misstep. My goal right now is to continue to move forward with the best guideposts and honoring every handshake. I have had the highest blessing of friendship from many strong colleagues, and in business as well. So in honoring all of those blessings together with faith that I can make a difference, I’m working for the highest and best I can contribute in all areas of my life. I can definitely see how I could have done something better or taken a different course, and I would have if I’d had the current wisdom and knowledge in hand, but I have the confidence I’ll see it next time. Mostly I find those lessons are a constant reminder to mine the best in myself in order to provide the best outcome now and in the future.
What would you like your legacy to be?
Thank you for the opportunity to seek these answers. I have seen first-hand the healing power of music and the benefit for others by applying myself to the work I’m best suited for. I would want anyone who has asked me to serve in any capacity that I did my best with what I had to work with at the time. I just want to make a positive difference wherever I serve.