Today, gang, we’re really cheering hard for Pete McAllen. In the time that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Pete in action, he’s shown himself to be a top, top guy, loving the adventure of walking with Jesus; and a talented musician, song writer and worship leader to boot. He’s the kind of leader that is easy to trust from the word go: he’s got an authenticity and a heart for God that you can’t miss, and leading others into worship obviously brings him so much joy.
Pete’s currently embarking on a new adventure: Cambridge based artist PYRAMID PARK release the debut album, Vulnerability on 8th September 2017. The newly formed PYRAMID PARK is a collective, led by song writer and worship leader Pete McAllen. PYRAMID PARK will be releasing the debut album in style at the newly purpose built C3 Centre, Coldhams Lane, Cambridge on 8th September 2017.
We grabbed Pete in the midst of a crazy, busy, exciting time, for a quick five minute chat, to hear more about his heart for Jesus, and for worship and living life to the full. This is one to grab a coffee and pull up a chair for, guys.
Hey Pete! We’re so excited for the new music you’ve got coming out soon. What inspired you to write this album?
The new album ‘Vulnerability’ has been a long time coming. In the early days of song writing I soon became frustrated with the way I was approaching my playing. This led to what I felt were plenty of mellow uninteresting songs. Then I read a quote by Gungor which is at the front of my song writing note pad “If I make something that connects with my own heart the most, then somewhere, someone else will connect too.” This liberated me from trying to write what I felt I should be written and actually compose what resonated most with my heart. This is when I penned part of the song ‘Vulnerability’. I sat at our piano and began to pour out my heart to God. Personally I was wrestling with a lot of disconnections in my life which overflowed into my prayer life. At the heart of this song are the lyrics “I prize vulnerability with You” – a way of saying that even in the rawness of my life, vulnerability with God is the safest place to be. Several other songs followed in a similar vein until eventually the song writing and worship sessions opened up renewed faith and fresh energy. You can tell when you listen to the record that there’s a change of mood in some songs. These are the ones written later in the project, reflecting personally when I began to see the greatness of God in a new light.
My heart is that regardless of where the listener is at, that they desire to go deeper with God. The album is well produced, but we wanted to leave moments of pause and reflection to help people connect in their own way with God.
So what does a day in the life of Pete look like at the moment?
Coupled with recording a new album, and changing my artist name (to PYRAMID PARK) I’ve recently stepped out to make music full time. This is not a ‘safe’ option and requires a lot of faith. Until recently I’ve served as the worship pastor at C3, Cambridge with a hectic schedule. Now that I’m my own boss things have massively changed. I’m at home a lot more and loving being available for family time. My day generally looks like this; mornings = creative, afternoons = business. To survive and adapt as an artist I must become more savvy as a business person.
However, to create great art, I mustn’t neglect my talents. This is a hard tension to marry, but I’m working on it. As creatives go, I’m on the more organised end of the spectrum, so I have to prioritise creativity otherwise I’ll get swamped in the business (which is never ending). Creative mornings include a mix of song writing or co-writing, practicing my guitar, often 2 x vocal warm ups and of course rehearsing songs for gigs.
Busy guy! What’s your secret to balancing it all?
That’s hard, because no day looks exactly the same. If I have a gig or a worship event I’ll be out for most of the afternoon/ evening. To do well at this I need to be organised, so I’ve tried to make sure my full focus that day is on the event, from praying, practice to loading the car and making sure no merch t-shirts are creased (seriously)! However, other days are sit-at-the-desk days. TD Jakes talked in last years GLS (Global Leadership Summit) about his plethora of responsibilities, from pastor to film producer to father to author. His wisdom was “Never drop the ball in the same place two days running.” That’s what I try to do – if I have a bad day as a husband, then watch that tomorrow, or a bad day creatively, make sure I invest in this the next day.
What advice would you give to a younger musician, or creative type?
When I was younger I never believed in myself enough, either because I felt I wasn’t “good enough” or because I was different. My advice would be to draw near to God, and as you find who you are in Christ, then you will start to rise up in confidence. You won’t worry so much about what others think and begin to walk in who God has called you to be. Also, don’t be afraid of feedback – we are often blind to the area’s we most need development. Be prepared to listen and take on advice, while staying true to who God has called you to be.
What refreshes you and gives you life?
Quality time with great friends. I also love reading and listening to the cricket in the summer. There’s something about cricket commentary that’s a little bit timeless and un-rushed. I’m a fan of the sport, and find it pretty therapeutic to slow down with. Funnily enough, writing a good song is very refreshing, but on the other hand, when it doesn’t go so well it can be frustrating and discouraging.
You’ve got a beautiful daughter now, Lilja (seriously gang, she’s adorable) – what are your hopes and dreams for her?
There are too many, but as a Christian having seen and experienced relationship with God I know the rich blessing, peace and joy that comes from a life walked with Him. My biggest prayer for Lilja is that she will have her own relationship with God, that will be real to her. Secondly that she will have wonderful friendships that will be a blessing to her and where she can bless others. Of course, I wouldn’t mind at all if she decided to pick up an instrument and lead worship like her old man, but that’s for her to decide, not me.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with the family?
Lizzie and I like exploring, and I think Lilja enjoys it too. Whether this be a day out, people watching in a new city, walking in the country or generally playing and having fun in a park.
Do you have a verse or thought that has been key to your journey so far?
There are two verses that will probably be key to me for the rest of my life (and have been for many years).
Joshua 1:9 “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This is a verse given to me when I was baptised aged 11, five months before my dad died. Over the years I have had to speak this over myself to keep me focused and brave. The other verse is: Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
We had this read out at our wedding, and without doubt the temptation in life is to trust in ourselves, often by trying to work out our own plan, rather than fully trusting in the Lord. I’ll probably be learning how to walk this one out until the day I die!
And what’s one piece of advice that you have been given, that really stuck with you?
Lots of things come to mind, but this is something I like/ need to remind myself of. A family friend years ago was speaking to me about prophecy, prayer and worship. I would describe this guy as a prophet, and he said “The river is always flowing, we just decide how much we get in.” Talking about the Holy Spirit, and how we can choose to embrace what He is doing, being open to His voice, or resist by being guarded and reluctant. It’s helped me a lot, particularly when I have felt very dry in my faith.
What does keeping Jesus as your vision look like for you?
Reading about Him in the Bible (sounds so simple!) I’ve changed the way I read the Bible recently, based on a structure that focuses on reading the Gospels at east once a week, mixed with a blend of Old Testament and New Testament. This has massively helped me keep Jesus
and the radical way He walked the earth closer to the forefront of my mind. I think the Holy Spirit loves it when we focus on Jesus because it makes us open to His prompting. Sometimes this is reviewing a motive or an attitude, sometimes it is persevering with a project that you know God has called you to. Often it is about loving people and always it is about loving God wholeheartedly. For me, I believe it is crucial that worship is part of my life every day (it is my life laid down of course) but I mean specifically singing to God from the depths of my heart. As I do this a lot of my priorities re-align, peace comes and my stressing calms.
Go and say hi:
You can find PYRAMID PARK on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @1pyramidpark
Go and say hi to Pete; tell him the I Am Project sent you.