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.
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