Michael James Peterson (born August 7, 1959) is an American country music artist. He made his debut on the country music scene in 1997 with his self-titled debut album, which produced five Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts, including the Number One hit "From Here to Eternity". Peterson's second album, 1999's Being Human, produced two more chart singles, and a third album, 2004's Modern Man, was issued only in Europe.
Michael Peterson was born in Tucson, Arizona on August 7, 1959. At an early age, he was influenced by the music that his grandmother listened to, such as Cole Porter and Roger Miller.
After attending high school at Richland High School in Richland, WA, Peterson later earned a football scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University, where he won a national championship. One of his teammates, Brad Westering, was also working as a producer for Deniece Williams at the time. Through Westering, Peterson got the opportunity to write songs for Williams, as well as gospel headliners The Imperials. This all led to the production of Peterson's first release, "Michael Peterson", a collection of contemporary Christian songs, on Sparrow Records in 1986. Eventually, Peterson traveled to Nashville, Tennessee where he started working as a professional songwriter, collaborating with other writers such as Josh Leo and Robert Ellis Orrall.
Orrall suggested that Peterson sign to a recording contract, and in December 1996, Peterson was signed to Reprise Records, a division of the Warner Music Group. His debut single, "Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie", was released that year, charting at No. 3 on the Billboard country charts and No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the lead-off single to Peterson's self-titled debut album (not to be confused with the Christian album of the same name from 1986), which also produced four more chart singles. The second one, "From Here to Eternity", became Peterson's first and only Number One hit, while "Too Good to Be True" reached No. 8. Following it were "When the Bartender Cries" at No. 37 and "By the Book" at No. 19. The album was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping 500,000 copies in the U.S. Also in 1997, Peterson was named Male Artist of the Year by Billboard.
In 1998, Peterson appeared on Jenny Simpson's 1998 self-titled album, singing duet vocals on "Grow Young with You".
Peterson released his second album, Being Human, in 1999. Its lead-off single, "Somethin' 'bout a Sunday", failed to reach top 40, and "Sure Feels Real Good" peaked at No. 39. Also in 1999, Peterson co-wrote the title track to Travis Tritt's album No More Looking over My Shoulder, which was released as a single. After a Super Hits album for the label, Peterson exited Warner Music Group.
After his departure from Warner, Peterson signed to Monument Records Nashville. His third studio album, Modern Man, was to have been released in 2002 for the label. Although its title track and "Lesson in Goodbye" both entered the country charts (with the former being the highest-debuting single of his career), the album itself was not issued in the US due to a restructuring of the label's parent company. AGR, a European record label, acquired the album and issued it in Europe in 2004. Six singles were released from it in Europe, including Peterson's own rendition of "No More Looking over My Shoulder." Also included on the album was the track "Right About Now", which Ty Herndon later released from his 2007 album of the same name.