Toyota Helps Self-Made Musician Break Through

Pete Droge's Career Blurs the Lines Between Ads and Popular Music

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Artist: Pete Droge
Song: "Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows"
Marketer: Toyota
Sometimes a song in a TV commercial sounds so familiar that you stop what you are doing and find out more, which is what happened when I saw the new Toyota Sequoia spot featuring "Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows" by Pete Droge.

The independent producer and singer-songwriter has been cleverly getting a number of songs from his self-released album "Under the Waves" into all sorts of TV shows and movies lately. In the last six months, the song that Toyota used has appeared in "Grey's Anatomy," "Men in Trees" and the movie "Feast of Love." Other tracks off the album have appeared in movies including "A Lot Like You," "Solstice" (directed by Daniel Myrick of "Blair Witch" fame) and the title track will be featured later this month in "Bonneville," starring Jessica Lange, Joan Allen and Kathy Bates.

When he's not writing and recording songs in his Puzzle Tree Studios on a remote island outside of Seattle, Droge is playing shows and producing for other people, including Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard's 2001 solo debut "Bayleaf."

While Droge's career is not totally unique, it nicely illustrates how commerce and art can come together to benefit one another and how the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between advertising and pop music. It's safe to say that he has achieved more fame and income by licensing his songs than by selling his records, but that ratio may soon change as Droge continues to work his way into America's pop consciousness.