Sincerity is a unique quality to find these days in popular music.
Oftentimes we are saturated with overproduced and overworked projects that may capture the zeitgeist but fall short of feeling timeless. Peanut Butter Wolf’s latest signing, Peyton, provides a back to basics and vulnerable approach to R&B. What you see is what you get and we love her for it.
Check out the video for “to spare” below and read when we caught up with Peyton to hear more of her backstory. Here is the interview in its entirety…
Culture COLLiDE: Do you feel growing up in Houston has affected your sound and the way you relate to music?
Peyton: To a certain extent. I did enjoy artists like Mike Jones, Beyoncé, Devin the Dude, Slim Thug and Bun B but I was more so influenced by my environment. When I think of Houston I think of realness, chillness and fairness. I feel that reads through my music. Also, Houston is so culturally diverse so I was exposed to so many different cultures and art. That is probably why I approach my music-making something that I think all people can get down to.
CC: Is your family back home supportive of your musical journey?
Peyton: Yes! My family has always supported excellence in the arts. My grandparents were musicians and educators and encouraged me to do anything my heart desired geared towards the arts. They never pressured me into anything. I mostly naturally gravitated towards singing and wanting to play instruments and it is all I have ever given my all into. Everyone has been supportive even when they do not fully understand it all. Since I was young, everyone knew I had a natural musical inclination; so much so that since I was a toddler, my mom’s dad would only refer to me as “Superstar” and never my name.
CC: Tell us about the first song you ever wrote.
Peyton: I wrote a lot of songs when I was young. The first one I can remember was a song I wrote when I was 7 about looking towards my Build-A-Bear for comfort when I felt down. I vaguely remember the lyrics but it starts off like “Sometimes I get sad, sometimes I get mad. But I’ll be okay ‘cause I got my teddy bear.” I wrote another that I would always sing called “They Be Jammin’” which was the first Christian song I wrote. I made it with the intent of being a song about Jesus that was cool to listen to. I somewhat ripped off the lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me” for part of the song but it was for the purpose of making something people would be familiar with. Lyrics: They be jammin, they be jammin, they be jammin all night long. They be jammin, they be jammin, they be jammin all night long, singing “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so. Little ones to him below. They are weak but he is strong.”
CC:: How did you first connect with ASADVS? And how has that musical partnership developed?
Peyton: I first connected with Asa in high school. We both attended High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He was 2 grades ahead of me but we connected again after high school. Going to a small school made it easy to connect with one another and when you go to a school with so much talent, it’s only right you keep in touch and try to collaborate!
CC: Congrats on the new signing to Stones Throw Records. How did that relationship come about?
Peyton: June 2016 I dropped my song “Sweet Honey” and began getting so much support and buzz from it. Somehow Peanut Butter Wolf got a hold of it and tweeted out how it was classic. I soon realized he had been following me on Twitter so I immediately messaged him and got his contact. We connected from there! I would send him tracks I was working on and after a couple of years keeping in touch, he asked me if I wanted to be a part of the label.
CC: Was signing to a record label a major goal for you starting out?
Peyton: Signing to a label was never a goal of mine to start. Since a kid I knew I wanted to make music and make a living from it. When I got older and learned more about labels, I realized it was a good way for artists to get the recognition they deserved. Although I heard so many horror stories about signing over the years, Stones Throw has always been a label I have respected when it comes to gearing everything towards making the artists feel free creatively, truly caring about good music, and not only caring about money.
CC: How did it feel hearing your music on HBO's Insecure for the first time?
Peyton: It was really surreal. I remember texting my manager Jasmine wondering if it was just a cruel joke the Insecure team were playing on me. Even though the business had been handled I still could not wrap my head around it. “Sweet Honey” played first in the opening scene. I remember screaming like “Yes! It’s actually happening! Its real!”
CC: Without a doubt I am picking up some 90s vibes on your new single and video “To Spare.” Was that a conscious effort on your part or did it just happen naturally?
Peyton: It happened naturally. With all of my music I just try to let it happen, doing whatever feels right. I did not put so much thought into it to be honest. I wrote it in my car 20 min before my shift when I was working at Banana Republic in The Galleria. It just flowed out of me.
CC: How would you describe your fashion style and sensibility?
Peyton: I like so many things in fashion but overall, I am all about relaxation and feeling my flyest. I like to play around with streetwear, super girly pieces mixed in with norm core. I like going for a unisex approach as well.
CC: Is there one popular music artist (past or present) that most inspires you today?
Peyton: There are actually so many. I have been super influenced by all of the music I came across growing up. Amel Larrieux, Kanye West, NERD, Gorillaz, Anita Baker, Prince, Nate Dogg, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu, Imogen Heap, Grizzly Bear and so many others. I just love music; I can find a bit of beauty in anything.
Check out her new video for “to spare”: