The moment the crowd started cheering at Peter Stawinski’s first high school gig was the moment he knew he wanted to hear it again.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be on stage and have people cheering just for you. That’s when I became interested in music as a career,” said Stawinski, who still craves the rush of adrenaline he gets from performing.
The 21-year-old Concordia student has a record deal signed with Studio One, a relatively new company still in its first year. Stawinski will be flying out to Toronto sometime next week to record four new songs that will be distributed to radio stations. He will also be changing his name to Chris Jake. The name not only sounds catchy, but also has personal meaning for Stawinski. Christopher is his middle name, and as for Jake: “It’s my brother’s name. I’ve always seen my brother as my role model, he’s always supported me.”
Stawinski began playing music after he moved from the West Island to Pincourt. At the time, he didn’t know how to sing or play the guitar. After jamming with some friends, however, he signed up for guitar lessons and began practicing daily, as well as making use of some singing tips he picked up along the way. From there, he fine-tuned his singing and performed at variety shows in high school and in CEGEP.
Although Stawinski’s parents were hesitant at first about their son trying his hand at music, their attitude changed when they saw him perform in a school musical at John Abbott College. After that, they wholeheartedly supported him and encouraged him to pursue his dream.
Stawinski was discovered almost by accident. After releasing his first album last May, he sent out a few copies here and there. While Stawinski was working on some new material, his producer-to-be Anthony Boccardi heard his song being mixed at Evermoor Audio, a local West Island studio. “His voice intrigued me,” said Boccardi. “I do a lot of mixing and recording at different studios and I heard his song being mixed. I inquired about his voice and got his contact information.”
From there lawyers were called, papers drawn up and contracts signed, and in the summer, Stawinski was officially a signed artist. “It’s awesome to work with a label,” he said. “I get to work with writers and producers.”
When Boccardi initially found Stawinski, he told him that if he were to sign, he’d have to break away from the ballads he was accustomed to and venture into pop. So far, it’s something that he’s excelled at. “He has a voice for pop. It just cuts through the music,” said Boccardi.
Even though things are moving at the speed of light for Stawinski, he’s still very much grounded. In the event that a career as a performer doesn’t pan out for him, he has a plan B. “I’m still going to school at Concordia,” he said. “I’m studying economics right now but I’m thinking of switching into communication studies. I want to study something related to media or music, I’d want to stay in the industry.”
But for now, Stawinski has an optimistic view of the future. Although he couldn’t divulge any details as of yet, there are big things coming his way, the first of which being his highly anticipated trip to the recording studio in Toronto. For now, his drive to make it big is what keeps him going.
“The thought of getting somewhere with the music, of knowing that eventually I’ll be on the radio and people will be listening to my voice… It’s everything that happened recently that’s driving me now. My ultimate goal is to be as big as I can be, and go as far as I can go.”