As the release of his album draws upon us, Lyrically-Speaking talks to Peyton about what we can expect from “Sinners Got Souls Too” and his time on the X-Factor.
In 2016, fans were outraged as Sharon Osbourne made the decision to put Honey G through the next stage of the X-Factor. Now in 2018, Peyton hits back with a new album that defines his sound as an independent artist. After 16 years of creating dance and house music, this shows us a completely side of Peyton and how he has developed as an artist over the years.
The end of your time on X-Factor was when Sharon Osbourne chose Honey G to go onto the live shows, what was this experience like?
It was overall a very positive experience. After having a very successful 16-year career in dance music, I decided for a change. I wanted to expand what I was doing and do something a bit more mainstream. We had a few tracks for the album already and received a positive reception about this from the major labels. Due to my age and the current climate, we decided it would be difficult to launch as a recording artist so we decided to utilise something like X-Factor to gain profile outside of dance music. I came out of X-Factor to a blaze of national outrage when the Honey G thing happened. I knew that there was a longer plan in place and the hardest part was managing everyone’s anger. I got what I went on their to do which was to gain profile.
What have you learnt from being on the X-Factor?
From a personal point of view, I was extremely resistant to going on the show. My manager coaxed and prodded me and just said ‘look we have nothing to lose and we can only potentially gain even if it’s only little’. I was freaked out when they said I was put through to the next stage of auditioning in front of the celebrity judges. If I didn’t want to do it that much then if for no other reason, I should do it because of that. In the end, I learned that actually even though I felt the fear I did it anyway. It was not some catastrophic disaster or career suicide and Simon Cowell did not look at me and say my eyes were too close together or that I sound like a strangled partridge. I was kind of preparing myself for all these nightmare scenarios and it was actually the opposite really.
Simon Cowell compared your voice to Seal, how did you feel about this?
If there was an artist that I could be compared to vocally, more than any other, then I would say it has been Seal. That’s a great compliment, I love Seal, I don’t only love his voice but also his music so yes, I was very flattered. Simon was only incredibly gracious and very kind and complimentary with me. He also personally thanked me for coming on the show.
Your new album is coming out in a few days, what can your fans expect from this new release?
I’ve had an incredible international career but this is a departure from dance music. I thought if I’m going to shift styles then I need to still sound like myself. Maybe not Peyton for club music but Peyton for radio. It’s been 12 years since I released an album so I wanted to make sure that every single track deserves a place on that album. I wanted to create an album that sounds like a journey. There are 13 tracks on there and I love each one as passionately as the other. There’s a bit of reggae, country, power pop and big soaring ballads which all combine into a cohesive album.
What is your favourite song from the album?
There’s one track that I actually wrote as a surprise for my wedding. At first, I was adamant that I wouldn’t sing at my own wedding but then I wrote ‘Be My Enough’ and I realised I had written our perfect wedding song. I kept it as a surprise and organised the whole thing. I sung it on the day and everyone was crying because it is such an emotional, heartfelt wedding song. All the songs on the album are personal to me but if I had to pick one record it would be this one because it brings back some amazing memories.
You were previously creating dance tracks in Ibiza, what made you change your direction?
Dance music had really changed and the music was becoming less about songs and vocals and more about production and beats. As a songwriter, I found that I was bored and I wasn’t being challenged anymore. Performing live still felt good but I didn’t feel like I was utilising my full potential.
Last year you released the music videos for ‘Carry You’ and ‘When They Go Low’ which one was your favourite video to make and why?
I also produced the video by working with The Rabbit Hole Group. This company is owned by Jason Gardiner and his partner Cathy McDougall who are actually very good friends of mine. We also worked with Phil Bearman who was the animations designed who came up with those two videos. I have to say, I love the videos, they’re so different and quirky. I don’t think I can say that there is a favourite because the process of making them was so much fun. I was working with friends who are incredibly talents and creative but once we had made the first one we weren’t sure we would be able to come up with a video as good as that. I created a relationship with people rather than working as an artist and being told what to do. That’s the beauty of setting up my own label to do this is because I’ve been in control of it all and it is much more satisfying as an artist because I’m not being given any directions from anyone else. I’m able to give 100% of myself in this project.
What has been your biggest challenge working within the music industry?
These days it’s very challenging to do music at all because there’s no money in it. Everyone is downloading or streaming music and that is a challenge for an artist even one that is doing quite well. I’ve got a discography of over 100 records, I have publishing on almost all those record and known around the world and that still really isn’t enough to sustain me. The challenge has been making a living and being able to do music full-time.
What advice would you give to anyone planning to follow the same path?
Young people have this false notion that because of the popularity of X-Factor that you’ll get this Willy Wonka ticket or that’s it. I spent a lot of time sitting with them, counselling them as they were crying or freaking out because they hadn’t gone through the next stage. Artists have been making their way in this world for a long time, a lot longer than we had these talent shows. If you want to be an artist, you have to really want it. You’ve got to know what it’s what you want to do with your life. If it is, then develop it. Sing at a local pub, get a few fans, make a track but you start building if for yourself. Platforms like X-Factor should be used to help you but it’s not the only solution. Even if you win a show like that, it doesn’t guarantee you anything.
Check out Peyton’s music video for ‘Carry You’ below. The track can also be found on his new album “Sinners Got Soul Too” which you can pre order using the links under the video.