Best known as the frontman of Newsboys, a band he founded as a teenager in Australia, Peter Furler handed the group over to his bandmates in 2009, convinced that God had a new road for him and his wife, Summer. The decision was two years in the making.
“We’d been living in an RV, traveling to all the Newsboys’ dates, 110,000 miles all across North America,” Peter explains. “It was a pilgrimage for us, the process of simplifying our lives, and it was the best two years of our lives so far, really… We had a lot of time to talk, to assess where we were in life. In all that, I felt God telling me to ‘let the ground rest, let the creative process and the music rest… I’ll give you something better.’”
Peter stepped away from Newsboys without an ounce of anxiety, fully supportive of the band. He sold his shares in Inpop, a label he’d co-founded in 1999 that launched the careers of such notables as Newworldson, Mat Kearney, and Shane & Shane, among others. He and Summer sold their house, their cars, and just about everything else but his studio equipment and moved to the Gulf of Florida, ‘the closest thing to Australia down here in the U.S.,’ and where Peter asked Summer to marry him 20-something years before.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing next, and loved that,” Peter says. “I’d been doing 100+ shows a year, writing, then finishing a record for more than a decade. It was good, but it was a merry-go-round that was never going to stop.”
In Florida, the days stretched out before him with no set schedule or “to do” list, and for the first time in his entire adult life, Peter was amazed. “I had all these choices in front of me that I had not had before: Mow my own lawn or go to Home Depot? Normal things not even worth mentioning, but really big things to me. No deadlines, no big rush to get in or get out.”
The freedom to slow down, to make choices taught Peter a valuable lesson: “Artistically and creatively, I began to see that God didn’t make the horse to win at the races, but for his pleasure — to watch it run,” Peter explains. “I had a definite yearning to get back to nature, to express myself creatively, to do something just for the joy of it.”
And so he did. When the surfing wasn’t optimal, Peter began painting, a form of expression he’d always been interested in. And he began writing, not sitting around with a guitar trying to make something happen, but keeping track of ideas as they’d come.
“The songs never really stopped. They kept coming. I’d take a long walk, and a song would come into my head,” Peter says. “I’d have my little recorder, so I’d record it. I didn’t think anything of it; I’d just always recorded lyrics and song ideas like that.”
Before long, Nashville and Sparrow Records (EMI CMG) came calling, offering distribution for what appeared to have the potential to be a solo record. But Peter wasn’t so sure. He was hesitant to let the fun evolve into business, to place any expectations on anything. While his life may be different now. Simpler. More focused. More intentional. His gift remains the same, and the label deal was sealed.
“I could feel the Lord leading my steps…and that this was just another part of my journey,” Peter explains. “There were no expectations, and there still aren’t. My expectations have already been met — just the joy of making music, making something out of nothing.”
The end result was Peter’s 2011 debut solo album, On Fire, which included the Billboard hit single “Reach.” On Fire featured 11 vibrant, contagious anthems — quirky pop melodies and driving guitars with unforgettable lyrical hooks — delivered as only an award-winning songwriter and pop innovator like Peter Furler can. With powerful, corporate worship songs, long a hallmark of Peter’s music career (“He Reigns,” “It Is You”), the album reflected the freedom and joy of a man at peace in his own skin. A man who has discovered the depth of his calling.
Following On Fire, Peter could be excused if he’d decided to mellow out a bit or rest on his laurels. Instead, the writer behind 27 #1 radio singles came back with one of the strongest albums of his career, Sun And Shield. Reteaming with longtime producer/lyricist Steve Taylor for the first time since Newsboys gold-certified Adoration album, Sun And Shield found Peter combining an ambitious collection of new songs with a more muscular, band-driven sound that harkens back to the glory days of Take Me To Your Leader. Sun And Shield is the sound of an artist at the peak of his creative powers.