Photo Credit: Riot Muse
Houston Singer Peyton on Transparency, Her Debut Album 'PSA' and Being Inspired by Aaliyah
On her debut album, PSA, she shares, "I wanted to be more transparent about the things that I think and who I am and to just give people a view of my world, my mind [on this record]."
For the past seven years, Peyton, a skilled singer-songwriter has been making a name for herself. PSA her debut album, out today is a hearty, emotional release featuring tracks that showcase her ideals on crushes, acquiring success and listening to the voice of her inner child.
Originally from Houston's Third Ward, Peyton a Stones Throw signee recalls beginning her journey as a singer before she could even talk. At the age of five, she began playing the violin and also was studying classical music at Parker Elementary, the alma mater of Beyoncé. Her grandmother, a talented violinist, nurtured her skillsets for years. Despite being an only child, her family was also filled with singers and musicians who encouraged her to keep going.
“My grandmother advocated for me to sing in the choir at church and just anything that I can be involved with around Houston and all those things,” she says over a Zoom call from Houston. “She was a teacher at the school. She had her masters in education and music, she actually taught [Beyoncé] piano during her time [at Parker Elementary].”
Photo Credit: Peyton
Growing up in the ‘00s, she was constantly immersed in music created by acts like Aaliyah, Mya, and Ashanti. But it was Aaliyah, the late songbird who left a lasting impact on Peyton. On the late singer, she shared her classic voice, laidback style and songwriting is constantly a source of inspiration.
“While I was listening to ‘00s [music] I was listening to '90s, I was listening to '80s, '70s, classical music. I was listening to it all,” she adds. Amel Larrieux of Groove Theory and Kanye West are two artists she also looks up to. Her affinity for Larrieux is constant due to the singer’s vocal range and their similarities as sopranos.
As a youngster, Peyton constantly dreamed of being a professional singer. At 16 after being accepted into the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts another school Beyoncé famously attended, she released “Aerial,” her first single in 2015. “As soon as I put something out, my city responded really well to it and I was already getting a lot of recognition, even from other cities,” she said. “I just knew it was meant to be.”
Off the grace of her single and additional tracks that followed, Peyton began receiving local show opportunities. These moments encouraged her to keep pushing and to continue on her creative journey. She notes doing what felt natural is what led to the success she’s acquired. The beaten path she’s stayed steady on led to the creation of her first project Rollercoaster which was released in 2015, it initially dropped on Soundcloud.
“I had a lot of fun [recording Rollercoaster] and I just felt inspired every time I made something and every time I was able to get to the studio,” she shared. What followed in 2017 was Peace In the Midst of a Storm. She felt similarly when she recorded this project: inspired and fulfilled. Following high school, she studied fine arts at Houston Baptist University, she graduated last year.
Peyton looks at PSA as a reinforcement of who she is as an artist. The 12-track debut album was created with a crew of talented producers, she says each of their names during our interview. The release is its own genre-blending universe, a lot of it centers around her vocals. When tasked with describing one theme for the album, Peyton says there isn’t just one. “There were a couple themes,” she said. “[There were] a handful of themes that are heard in the project which were very relevant to my life and I felt like other people could relate to it as well.”
The intro track, “What Did I Do” is about a friendship breakup. It’s paired with a lullaby-like chorus and Peyton’s lyrics which touch on wanting to save the partnership. Another standout on the release is “Let It Flow.” When describing this cut she says it touches on “trusting in your intuition and your path and not getting so caught up in your head.”
Over on “Tad Bit,” a track that ethers into the R&B space, Peyton commands the beat. She says it’s meant to come across as sexy. The lyrics are sensual, exploratory, and suggestive, overall the track is calming. The closer “Pure Imagination” is a companion track to “Don’t You Wanna Fly,” both songs dig into what it’s like to hold onto creativity and to continue to look at life the same way you did when you were a child.
“I wanted to be more transparent about the things that I think and who I am and to just give people a view of my world, my mind [on this record],” she said on the album. "I feel like a lot of times in my music and even my presence, in the public and online, sometimes I'm not very transparent."
Peyton is hopeful that her fans will understand her a bit more after they listen to PSA. She was purposely transparent during her recording sessions because she aimed to divulge her emotions and thoughts on this record. Beyond transparency, the Houston native also sees today’s release as a full circle moment since she once dreamed of being here.