Pete Orta (born August 26, 1971 in Port Lavaca, Texas), an autodidact, is a Mexican American rock guitar player, singer-song writer, and producer. Orta is most known for his tenure as the lead guitar player for the Christian rock band Petra. Succeeding the founder Bob Hartman in the late 90s, Orta contributed to adding 2 more Grammy nominations to the band’s legendary, and was awarded a Grammy for Christian Rock Album of the Year in 2000 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. That same year, as a former member of Petra, Orta was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Orta’s talent soon grabbed the attention of the Word/Sony Records A&R staff who offered him a solo recording contract. Prior to the release of his album, his friend and label mate, Jaci Velasquez, invited Orta to tour as her guitar player on her Crystal Clear Tour so she could feature him in a step-out solo performance. Orta and Velasquez eventually collaborated and recorded the duet Season of Love that was released on her 2001 Christmas album.
In 2001, Orta’s solo album Born Again was released to rave reviews and rock radio success, and the single Born Again inspired a Dove Award nomination in 2002 by the Christian Music Association (GMA) for Rock Recorded Song of the Year.
Orta’s rendition of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s Braver Newer World opened the 2002 motion picture Joshua in theaters across America, and in 2005 Orta produced Michael Cooks song Lately that landed on the film’s soundtrack Left Behind: World at War. During his career, Orta was also able to work with other musical heavyweights such as Jack Blades, Desmond Child, Tommy Sims, Tony Rich, Chris Rodriguez, Pauly Garcia, John Elefante and Phil Keaggy who he felt helped shape his career as a musician.
Orta met his future wife, Kelli Shane Waddill, while visiting a church in search of a keyboard player for his band. They married on February 6, 1993 and have four children: Dorian (b. 1998), Jett (b. 2001), Keen (b. 2006) and Zade (b. 2007).
During Orta’s musical career he claims to have been a Deist, and explains how it was easy for his peers to assume him to be a Christian. But it wasn’t until after the demands of world tours and countless hours in the studio that Orta was left to his own thoughts about life and God. Through a long stripping process which nearly cost him everything, Orta still remembers that season of his life where he fell apart and cried out for the Lord to have mercy on his life.
In 2009 Pete and his wife Kelli founded In Triumph, a non-profit organization that provides a second chance for troubled young men. As Orta is reminded of the forgiveness that was once given to him, his burden is increased for those who are the underdogs of the world.