First Look Friday: Peyton Is Poised To Impact The Game With Her Passion & Pen
First Look Friday: Peyton Is Poised To Impact The Game With Her Passion & Pen
Photo Credit: Jenni Ochoa for Okayplayer

First Look Friday: Peyton Is Poised To Impact The Game With Her Passion & Pen

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Jenni Ochoa for Okayplayer

Houston’s own singer-songwriter, Peyton, has a hypnotic voice and real AF story that takes audiophiles on a journey you’ll never forget.

I first discovered Peyton combing through Soundcloud’s Discovery tab. Diving head first right into her 2016 effort, Peace in the Midst of a Storm, this Houston original represented a passionate mix of powerful prose, impressive vocal styling, and an ethereal energy that put me—the listener—at ease. An independently strong creative, she showed great promise and brilliance on songs such as “Pey-2-O,” “Ride,” and “Heart Attack”. It was a rollercoaster ride to say the least, as she didn’t need anyone else on the album with her, and her subject matter (battling inner demons, searching for freedom) related to what I was going through at the time as a then-end-stage-renal-patient.

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Fast forward to 2018, and Peyton continues to redefine her wave and cement herself as a voice of a new generation. Her hypnotic voice endeared her to a raucous SXSW audience, while many have taken to social media to clamor for more (see: new) work from the classically trained violin and piano player. She answered the call 12 hours ago (May 3) with GOALS, a collaborative project under the name of PINK DESTINY. Starring Peyton and her longtime partner Chase of Nazareth, the eight-track effort is an honest look at love, intimacy, and life from the pen of a savant who has something new to offer to the music industry.

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As this week’s First Look Friday subject, Peyton continues to show why she is beloved inside-and-outside of H-Town, as we discuss her love of music, share with the Okayplayer audience her new cut “Shine,” talk about how she has grown as an artist since her debut, and why T-Pain and James Fauntleroy need to hop in her DMs ASAP.

Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?

Peyton: I am told often that I am a strong lyricist, and that my voice is refreshing because of the sense of familiarity in my voice that gives a feeling of nostalgia with a different approach.

OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?

P: My most cherished influences would have to be Amel Larrieux, Erykah Badu, The Pharcyde, The Neptunes/N.E.R.D., Mew, The Cardigans, Grizzly Bear and Kanye West. My biggest influence is Amel Larrieux because I have been a fan of her music for as long as I can remember. I would listen to her music a lot because my dad would play her music in the house and on car rides. Her music reminds me of home. She has a very angelic voice and sings with such conviction and passion that makes you really feel the message she’s giving.

Grizzly Bear and Mew were very important to my pre-teen years. I would listen to all of their music and I loved how beautiful their melodies, harmonies, and lyricism was. They both are still my favorite bands and I have grabbed most of my inspiration for the way I write my melodies from them. I was always so drawn to Kanye West’s music because of how passion-driven the body of work sounded. I loved how he was into fashion and was able to incorporate his love for it in his music because I have always loved everything about fashion. Erykah Badu’s music has always stuck with me because it has a feeling of ease and successfully incorporated most of the sounds that I love. All of these artists are very different, but one thing that they all have that has made me so drawn to them was a feeling of openness and truth.

You feel it in what they say or sing, in the instrumentation, their melodies. You hear them loud and clear and that’s everything I wish for others to hear in my music.

OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?

Since the age of five, I had been training classically in voice and violin intensively. I always wanted to be apart of something art related and my family encouraged it because they loved music and I was good at it. I studied the violin vigorously until the ninth grade when I was accepted to High School for the Performing and Visual Arts for vocal performance so I honed in the most on my development in singing. I was exposed to so many different genres and I loved and appreciated all music. I just felt so grateful to be experiencing it. I loved going to buy CDs, and I loved spending all day and literally night until sunrise searching for more music I have never heard before that I could put on my desktop or my iPod.

Pushing myself to explore the world of music and its many corners only made me love it more and ultimately helped me grow as a musician. I always loved so many things in music and sometimes I would hear something in one song that I wish was incorporated into another. One day I felt so strongly about this, I decided to start making my own music so maybe I could combine those sounds somehow. I released my very first single “Aerial” to the world in 2015 when I was 16. It resonated with so many people, I had many people hitting me up telling me how the song was inspiring, how they would play the music for their parents and they would enjoy it also. It was very unexpected. I was in total disbelief but I also felt the most alive I had ever felt. That is when I knew that making music was going to be the thing I wanted to do until I die.

OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police, and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?

P: No matter what direction I choose to take my music, the thing I always wish to keep constant is providing a sense of warmness in everything I create. I hope people connect to my music in a way that will keep them grounded in a world of chaos, uncertainty, and contradictions. Most times I don’t always make songs that reflect the world around me, I try to make music that reflects the human emotion that is the reaction of the world around us.

OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?

P: The only obstacle I have had in my career is myself. There have been too many times when I have got in my own way because I let my emotions get the best of me by overthinking or hindering myself from doing something that would benefit me due to fear that it will upset someone I care about. Although I am still constantly reminding myself this, I do realize that I cannot please everyone, no matter how much I want to make everyone happy.

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Jenni Ochoa for Okayplayer

OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?

P: This is an exciting time for expression and the music scene is very diverse. Because of the internet, success in music has become a bit more attainable to people because of how quickly and easily you can connect with the world. Unfortunately, that leaves room for those who want to make music for the wrong reasons. I feel that the masses are starting to appreciate true artistry again and that the true artists are starting to outweigh the phony. In the next five years, I hope there will be fewer artists who blow up overnight for making some song with no passion behind their sound.

OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?

P: Something that I have learned about myself is that I am now much better with my words and that definitely shows in my music

OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?

P: My earliest memory of a song that I wrote is a song called “Speak From Your Heart”. It is about being honest and true to who you are. I have always stood by being your most authentic self and being honest about how you feel. There are plenty of clones out but I feel if you always continue to be the best you, you can better connect with the world.

OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?

P: When I decided to start making my own music, I knew I wanted it to be taken seriously and to last forever. I wanted whatever I made to sound classic and for listeners to feel the passion and the love behind it all. Even if I do not always make a classic song, my hope is that someone can hear and/or feel the passion in it. Although we are in a time where things are moving so quickly, I feel good music will prevail and will last.

OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with this year going into the next and why?

P: I would love to collaborate with James Fauntleroy, Kari Faux, Thundercat, Kid Cudi, M.I.A., Knxwledge, TOKiMONSTA, Gorillaz, Phony Ppl and T-Pain. I would love to write for T-Pain, James Fauntleroy, Thundercat, and Kid Cudi because I feel that I could write something that fits their style lyrically and melodically. I would love to work with Phony Ppl, The Gorillaz, Knxwledge, and TOKiMONSTA because they have unique sounds that I feel would mesh very well with mine.

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Jenni Ochoa for Okayplayer

OKP: What is the overall message that Peyton is trying to present in her music?

P: The feeling of home. A safe place.

OKP: Can you break down the inspiration behind a song that you created but never put out?

P: I drew inspiration from the image of a dewy grass field at 5 am, the color tan, the feeling “Break of Dawn” by Michael Jackson and “Use Your Heart” by SWV gave me and I tried to emulate it in some production I made with that same R&B feel. It is currently entitled “Boomerang”. The message of the song is about how things are not always a fairytale and how there will be some bad moments during your time with someone you are romantically involved with. I have not written any super touchy songs recently about heartache, so I felt that it was time to do so.

OKP: How do you get over any anxiety before hitting the stage to perform live? What are some lessons or tips that you’ve learned from others about doing a stage show?

P: I try to breathe, remember that this is all fun and to take myself out of my own head. I have been told to move more on stage. Since I was very young, I was classically trained and was used to standing still, standing in perfect posture whenever I sang, but I’ve gotten out of that but I am still trying to loosen up more! I have also learned to not over calculate things about the way I moved or the things I would say. That takes the fun out of it.

OKP: If the reader’s learned one thing from this First Look Friday chat with Peyton — what would it be?

P: I truly care about and love music. I have studied the ins and outs of it and have a gift that I would love to share with the world forever.


Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for more from Peyton (and us!) by following her on Twitter @peyton.