For many aspiring new artists, fame is all about being recognized on the street. Cologne's songwriter turned stage director turned prizewinning poet PeterLicht, however, has always had a slightly different take on the matter. Even while his surprise underground hit "Sonnendeck," a sloppily produced electro-pop anthem, ran up and down the country's alt-radio stations in 2001, and as the accompanying video, although decidedly home-made, ran alongside Madonna and Eminem on MTV, nobody really had a clue who the new guy on the electro block was -- or even what he looked like. The singer left the spotlight to an animated office chair in the single's video. No photos of the artist were released, no shows played, no public appearances made. Magazines had nothing to print alongside their many praises for a new star on the rise. "I drill a hole into the present, see what comes dripping out, and turn it into something beautiful," PeterLicht once stated about his unusual approach to making music. Not unlike other German recording artists of the time, the songsmith combined old-school indie songwriting with the bleeps and clicks of electro-pop (and home production kept production costs to a minimum). But PeterLicht's main appeal surely lies in his lyrics, subversively naïve and strangely humorous essays on politics, love, and life as we don't know it (yet).
A first collection of songs, the EP Sechs Lieder -- released in 2000 under the unlikely moniker Meinrad Jungblut -- failed to make a big splash in the pond, but just a few months later (and under his new name), the irresistibly weird "Sonnendeck" came along and helped PeterLicht's first full-fledged album, 14 Lieder, to unexpectedly healthy sales. 14 Lieder was followed by Stratosphärenlieder in 2003 and the somewhat prophetic Lieder vom Ende des Kapitalismus (Songs on the End of Capitalism) in 2006, accompanied by the book Wir Werden Siegen! Buch vom Ende des Kapitalismus, which was finally promoted live by the author himself on a small tour of the country, at last revealing his face to his fans. Still, PeterLicht continued to avoid public exposure where he could, ordering TV cameramen to stay clear of his face and photographers to only take pictures from behind. In 2007 PeterLicht's essay Die Geschichte Meiner Einschätzung des Dritten Jahrtausends (The History of My Assessment of the Third Millennium) won the public prize of the renowned Ingeborg Bachman Literary Award, and in 2008 PeterLicht's third album, Melancholie und Gesellschaft, was released -- for the first time featuring a full band production and thus veering from the eclectic artist's successful electro-pop formula. ~ Nico Tobias Wirtz