With a raw talent and wisdom beyond her years,16-year-old Peyton Gilliland is poised to take the alternative pop genre by storm. A gift for performance at age six in church became a bona fide career path, as the Alabama native began taking voice lessons and, later, writing. Her distinguishable Adele-like voice paired with a lyrical honesty that goes untapped by most her age can best be heard on her upcoming single “Drag Me Under,” out July 26th and EP to follow.
Unleashing her vocal prowess early on - a talent that most likely came from her grandmother, who’s a vocalist and music teacher herself - Peyton’s childhood was far from conventional. Horseback riding and volleyball practice soon gave way to trips to Nashville to hone her craft and write - she even began attending school part time in order to pursue her dream. Influenced by the musical stylings of Cage the Elephant, Amy Winehouse and Alabama Shakes, she wrote her first song “Hopelessly” at age 14, proving her abilities as a writer when the tune was a finalist in the R&B category of the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest. Her song “Ruthless” followed suit as a semi-finalist in the Top 40 and unsigned categories of the International Songwriting Contest out of 19,000 entries, and her track “Magnetic” landed on the Walgreens Spotify playlist, airing in stores nationwide.
But it wasn’t until Peyton was introduced to former Cage the Elephant founding member Lincoln Parish that she knew music was more than a hobby. “I’d been a huge fan of Cage the Elephant, and was looking for production that was a bit less pop, a bit more down-to-earth and organic. Lincoln offered to produce my music, and I jumped at the opportunity.” Production aside, Peyton also found a mentor and motivator. “Lincoln’s one of those people that doesn’t take excuses. A lot of people baby me because I’m 16, but Lincoln started in the business at 15 - so he kind of tells me to step up and deal.”
It’s a mutual admiration.
“Peyton’s got an incredible natural talent and is already well beyond her years in maturity when it comes to her music” says Lincoln. “Having been in the industry from a young age, I feel like I can relate to what’s going through Peyton’s mind on the other side of the glass and push her to her limit, hopefully getting the best out of her. I’m excited to see what doors this music opens up for Peyton.”
Her new music, mastered by Ryan Hewitt (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, Dixie Chicks, The Lumineers), offers a true representation of Peyton’s musical direction and gives listeners of all ages something to relate to. With several past successes, her single “Drag Me Under” out July 26th, and an EP due out later this year, Peyton is an artist to watch for music lovers and industry vets alike.