Peter Gabriel is best known as a musician. He started his solo work in 1975 after leaving his old school group: Genesis. He has released eleven solo albums and written and released soundtracks for three films.
In 1980 he founded WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance), which has presented 170 festivals in over 30 countries. The festival became the inspiration for Real World Records, which he launched in 1989 with the aim of providing talented artists from around the world with access to state-of-the-art recording facilities, and help get their music better known around the world. Artists released by the label such as Hukwe Zawose, Ayub Ogada, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Papa Wemba, Totó La Momposina, Sheila Chandra and more recently The Gloaming, Les Amazones d’Afrique and Loney dear, have all helped establish the label’s eclectic credentials.
Since 1980, when Peter released the anti-apartheid single ‘Biko’, he has been actively involved in human rights campaigning. He has participated in many benefit concerts, notably Amnesty International’s 1988 Human Rights Now! Tour, which was the first benefit concert to tour globally with Youssou N’Dour, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman and Sting. It was on this tour he saw first-hand how video can transform a human rights activist’s chances of achieving justice and change, and in 1992 proposed the creation of an organization to pioneer the use of video in human rights work, WITNESS.org. Around 2000 he co-founded the Elders.og, with Richard Branson, to bring together a small group of highly respected global leaders, launched with Nelson Mandela in July 2007, and currently chaired by Mary Robinson.
For his music, Peter has received several Grammy and MTV awards – nine alone for the groundbreaking ‘Sledgehammer’ video – an Oscar nomination, the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and various lifetime achievement awards including Ivor Novello, BMI Icon Award, BT’s Digital Music Pioneer Award and The Polar Music Prize. He has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For his activism, The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates awarded him Man of Peace award in 2006 and TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In 2020, Gabriel partnered with Playing For Change to produce a global rendition of his song ‘Biko’ for Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice, a virtual concert and fundraising event. The remake features Peter joined by Beninese vocalist and activist Angélique Kidjo, Silkroad’s Yo-Yo Ma, bass legend Meshell Ndegeocello and more than 25 musicians from seven countries including South Africa, India, Spain and the USA.
Peter is now writing and recording, and working on a plan to create a streaming service for digital medicine and an Interspecies Internet.