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The Rhythm of music is like a soothing pulse or a pounding heartbeat. When you hear a great song it is the energy of the rhythm that draws you in to the emotion being conveyed and makes you want to move. Michael Petty has been gifted with an instinct for rhythm that makes him a standout talent in Nashville’s music circles.
Most passionate artists can point to the time in their lives when they experienced creativity in a way that made the pursuit of it undeniable. For Michael it was the first time that he experienced Worship in a Modern setting. Having been raised in the Church he found comfort in the traditions by which he was surrounded, however his first experience in a setting where young people raised their hands and allowed themselves to be poured out in worship was a watershed moment. Michael knew with certainty that he not only wanted to live in that freedom but also that he needed to lead others to the throne of God in worship.
Throughout his adolescence in upstate New York Michael was a small kid who didn’t quite fit in to the norm of High School’s clique society. He found comfort and community within the Church as well as an environment where his love for music could be fostered and encouraged. When presented by his youth leaders with the opportunity to help coordinate a Youth Praise Band Michael flourished. He discovered that he could sing and play drums at the same time and quickly saw their project begin to influence the Church in exciting ways.
The praise band began calling itself the Morning Star Praise Band and gig opportunities soon followed in local clubs and area churches. Michael had the opportunity to get to know Audio Adrenaline’s drummer, Ben Cissel after a particularly exciting show opening for the internationally acclaimed Christian band. Michael was deeply impressed with the warmth and encouragement displayed by this veteran of the music industry. He invited Michael to play a solo on AA’s kit and signed drumsticks that Michael still has to this day. That simple act served to define Michael’s ambition in new and exciting ways. It became clear that in addition to leading worship Michael was to seek out ways to encourage young people to be confident in the way that God had made them and to spur them on to great works.
Michael continued to work with local praise bands playing drums and leading worship. He soon began leading worship by playing the keyboard and singing at his youth church in NY and developed his first youth band. Eventually, he got his first position as a worship leader at a church camp in upstate NY for the summer. The next summer he auditioned and made it into the American Christian Youth Chorale. In the chorale he traveled to 15 states in just 3 weeks going from church to church. All of these great opportunities seemed to lead up to the fortuitous night when a popular band from the area called One Foot Forward found themselves in need of a drummer to sit in and Michael happened to be available. One Foot Forward had National distribution for their album as well as a Top 40 Single on Christian Radio. Though he was only 17 at the time, his first gig with them as a substitute became an audition of sorts and developed into three years of extensive touring playing worship events, camps, youth retreats and festivals. They shared the stage with bands like Tree 63, Kevin Max, Shane & Shane and had more occasions for Michael to open for Audio Adrenaline. The road experience further honed Michael’s musical abilities and added a whole new level of showmanship and polish.
In 2007 the band relocated to Nashville, Tennessee after suffering a disastrous wreck which ruined thousands of dollars worth of gear. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured but the financial setback proved too much for the business to overcome at that time and the members of the band scattered to pursue other opportunities. Michael wasted no time in connecting with rising stars in the Nashville music scene. He now regularly plays with Gary Slayton, Michelle Rene, Deanna Loveland, David Kroll and The Nate Dodd Band while writing songs for a forthcoming solo EP titled "Fade Away" coming out in September of 2011. He is also the worship leader at a church in Mt. Juliet Tennessee called Lifechurch. With all of the adventure that has filled the first 22 years of his life the next chapters of the story are sure to be ones you won’t want to miss.