It was a large Pete Orta banner hanging in the Convention Center stairwell during Gospel Music Week which first drew my attention to Pete Orta. I had heard of him before from his work with Petra, but I did not know much about him.
Outstanding guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Pete Orta is one of the newest signings to Nashville-based Word Records.
The young artist is currently recording his debut project for the label, scheduled for a late summer release this year.
Orta first achieved attention when he moved to Nashville in 1996 after a friend encouraged him to audition for a Christian
artist tour. Since then, he has traveled with a number of well-known Christian artists, including Jaci Velasquez, The Waiting,
Petra, and Tammy Trent. While touring with Velasquez on her Fall 2000 tour with new artist sensation Plus One, Orta?s
one-song solo sets brought the house to its feet time and time again as the tour crossed the nation.
Orta’s musical influences over the years have included Jimi Hendrix, Beck, The Police, and Eric Clapton. To capture his
own electrifying pop sound, Orta is working with an acclaimed production team of Desmond Child (Jon Bon Jovi, Cher,
Ricky Martin, Aerosmith), Mark Heimermann (Michael W. Smith, dcTalk, Jaci Velasquez, Stacy Orrico, Anointed), Chris
Rodriguez (who has worked with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman), Chris Harris (Anointed,
Avalon, dcTalk, CeCe Winans) and Pete Kipley (Rebecca St. James).
While growing up in Lubbock, Texas, Orta became a superb self-taught guitarist after receiving his first guitar
as a mere four-year-old. Raised in a non-Christian home, Orta was introduced to Christ by a local youth
director at age 16, and with no knowledge of Christian music, he and a friend started playing for local drug
rehab and youth halfway houses, sharing their new-found faith together.
Orta is no longer a stranger to Christian music, however. Through his work with other artists over the years, Pete has
become a three time GRAMMY and Dove nominee, and brought home one GRAMMY statue for albums he has worked
on. He has two of his guitars hanging in the Hardrock Café, an endorsement with Fender Guitars and Ernie Ball Strings,
and he became a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee last year, all through his involvement with acclaimed Christian rock
group Petra. “My time in Petra gave this unchurched kid a great heart and perspective for the church,” Orta said of his
involvement with the group.
In addition to working in the studio, Orta is currently spending time at home in Nashville with his wife Kelli, and their two
children, daughter Dorian, 2, and newborn son, Jett. Orta performed at the Word Entertainment Evening Spectacular
Concert during Gospel Music Week 2001 in April, and will make numerous festival appearances this summer, including
opening four concerts for the Newsboys at Universal Studios.
He has a project releasing August 29 on Word Records.
Related Stories & Links
Artist Update: August ’01
Artist Update: November ’01
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