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The Telegram
  • Herkimer native releases Christian rock EP

  • Whether Mike Petty is leading worship at a church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., or performing songs from his debut solo Christian rock EP, the two most important things in the 23-year-old Herkimer native’s life — his faith and his music — are indivisibly linked.

    And it’s been that way since he was a teenager, when he first saw worship in a modern setting at Mount Zion Ministries in Utica.

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  • Whether Mike Petty is leading worship at a church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., or performing songs from his debut solo Christian rock EP, the two most important things in the 23-year-old Herkimer native’s life — his faith and his music — are indivisibly linked.
    And it’s been that way since he was a teenager, when he first saw worship in a modern setting at Mount Zion Ministries in Utica.
    “I had never seen people waving their hands. It looked like everyone was just totally into the music and just glorifying God at that point,” Petty said. “I really felt God’s presence. I really felt like he was really working in my life at that point. It sounds weird, but it was almost like he showed me what he wanted me to do.”
    That experience led Petty to become more involved in his home church, where the youth pastor at the time, Wayne Clemens, was starting The Morning Star Praise Band.
    “He basically got me started in the whole band situation,” Petty said.
    As a teenager, Petty also toured with the American Christian Youth Chorale.
    Clemens encouraged Petty as he became increasingly involved with his church. When he was about 16, he was the youth leader and the worship leader of a youth group called The Edge.
    “It taught me a lot, to be a leader, that was one of the biggest things it taught me,” Petty said. “I met a lot of good friends there.”
    It was also where Petty got his first big break.
    The youth group had invited One Foot Forward to play at one of their events. When their drummer didn’t show up, Petty sat in with the group.
    “That was kind of like an audition for me,” Petty said.
    The next thing he knew, he was performing on a CD and touring with the band, playing 150 dates a year.
    When Petty was about 18 years old, the van the group was touring in was involved in a bad accident while traveling down 1-81 in Pennsylvania. “It was a really cold night. It was snowing lightly. It was 3 in the morning,” Petty said. “I woke up and we were spinning.”
    As the van spun, the trailer carrying the band’s equipment detached. The van went through the guardrail and drove up a hill before hitting a tree. The van came to rest on top of the trailer, which prevented the van from rolling back into traffic.
    “It was really insane that none of us were hurt or injured,” Petty said. “It was a miracle.”
    The group’s equipment didn’t fare so well. Petty said the group lost $15,000 worth of equipment in the accident, a crushing blow to the band. “Ultimately, it was a big deal for us. We ended up eventually, we decided we were going to move on,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Petty moved to Mount Juliet, Tenn., where he has spent the last five months working on his debut solo EP, “Fade Away.”
    “It’s really exciting. At the same time, you really want to get it right,” Petty said of recording. “You do things over until it’s like perfect in your mind.”
    Petty said the lyrics to the songs on “Fade Away” were derived from his own journey with God.
    “That’s where all my lyrics come from. They come out of a lot of times that God brought me through, especially in high school,” Petty said. “ God showed me through those difficult times that he’s going to make me stronger and that he could really get me through those tough times. He’s the only thing that I could hold onto.”
    “Fade Away” was released in September, but Petty’s next step is to head right back into the studio, where he’s writing new songs for his first full-length album.
    He’s also planning a tour of churches with his EP.
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