Bakersfield College alumni Peter Fenn, 26, recently hit number one on the “United States Viral 50” playlist on Spotify.
Peter Fenn and GrizzRivers wrote the Spotify hit “Let Me” that has caught the attention of the Bakersfield media outlets.
“It’s crazy! We initially put the song out and then two weeks passed and nothing really happened, it got a thousand plays. But I was actually in Columbia about to go on this trip and we were heading down on a bus and I pulled up a playlist called “Fresh Finds” that refreshes every Wednesday, which I listen to all the time. And we were the first song on the playlist,” said Fenn.
The song transitioned into the viral chart and from there it started to grow, going from number 10 to number four to eventually hitting number one and staying there for four days.
Fenn and GrizzRivers, the producer, had never met. GrizzRivers found Fenn online from his band called Polaroid, who are in the process of changing their name to “Small Talk”, where they had done a previous song that Fenn co-produced and wrote. Six months later, GrizzRivers contacted Fenn to sing and write a song to his beat and that is when they created “Let Me”.
“There’s millions of tracks in the sea of music on Spotify, but they put us on the playlist and that got us so much exposure. We had posted it on social media like ‘Hey, we just put out this new song, check it out’ and people were saying that it was a cool song. I love the song, but when people say they like it, it makes me like it more,” said Fenn.
It surpassed artist like Skrillex, Macklemore, Kesha, and even one of Fenn’s influences, Jack Johnson.
“Jack Johnson was a big influence when I started playing guitar. He has this kind of chill and acoustic vibe, so I was really inspired by him and learned a lot of his songs. Then I got into soul music a lot, like Ottis Redding and Sam Cooke. Then I got into reggae music like Bob Marely. Honestly, there’s so just so many influences like Merle Haggard, who’s from Bakersfield. I just love the Bakersfield sound,” said Fenn.
Fenn appreciates that Bakersfield has been so welcoming and it feels good for him to see that his town is taking notice of his music. He mentions that it’s important to realize that there’s a lot of good music around Bakersfield.
He is currently working on solo projects as well as creating music with his band, who will release a new song under the band’s new name Small Talk, around October.
Fenn mentions that he believed in himself and took a leap of faith to pursue his dream full time, even when people told him that it wouldn’t work out.
“The only way you grow is to get out of your comfort zone. You have to do it. It’s going to feel terrible, but on other side of the fear of ‘I’m so scared’, the other side of that is the best joy in the world. The first time you play for the people you feel so nervous. I was so nervous the first time I played for people and after I felt the best joy in the world. You’ll never know how amazing it is until you get out of your comfort zone,” Fenn said.
“It really means a lot when people support local music and there’s been so many people in Bakersfield who have been supporting me and I’m super grateful for them. This is where I got my start, where I started playing music. I know it’s just the beginning and I’m really excited to keep sharing with the people here. Also [I] hope to be a motivation for other people in Bakersfield to put out their art and really work hard to make it happen, because it can happen. With the internet you can do anything,” Fenn said.