THE SINGER PEYTON STILLING
AN INTERVIEW BY ROBERT CASTRO
AN INTERVIEW BY ROBERT CASTRO PHOTOS BY Sarah Hurley Hamilton
Peyton Stilling is the kind of teen that will make you forget she is one. At 17, this witty young woman already has the confidence and maturity, as well as an impressive professionalism on stage that teenagers often lack during those awkward high school years.
At 15, Peyton was performing shows at local establishments and since then she has honed a clear, powerful voice that seamlessly and effortlessly projects a soulful contemporary Jazz feel. From singing to playing the guitar, Peyton is a Singer-Songwriter with a mission.
Influenced by singer-songwriters like John Mayor but also “people who really paved the way of music” like Norah Jones and Carole King, Peyton says” she thinks of Tori Kelly because she is such a huge inspiration to my music. She wrote and produced her own music and never gave up on herself. She shows me what its like to believe in my music and myself.
Peyton shines most as a singersongwriter, where simple instrumental arrangements leave room for heartfelt lyrics and a warm voice that gets under your skin. She believes there has to be an in between to really come out with a great song. A good song she believes should have a good message.
“Music has been such a blessing in my life in ways I cant even describe,” she says. “It’s given me an outlet to express my emotions, be myself, and have confidence. Also music gives me the opportunity to write and perform original music that truly connects with others. Through music I have also been able to raise money for a non-profit organization that helps give relief to families with special needs kids. She continues. Peyton dreams big but keeps herself grounded. For someone who is still attending high school and decided to make music her career only few years ago, she is surprisingly pragmatic about the reality of a business that can be as shallow as it is greedy.
“I just want to do music,” she says. “Being in the music industry it can be very overwhelming and I know from experience that it’s easy to start comparing yourself to other artists. What I have learned is that the music industry is so diverse and music is so subjective and that the only way to succeed is through hard work and a believing in yourself and the music you are creating.”
Inspired by her high school friends, Peyton loves to write songs either about her life or her friend’s life. I like to write songs that lots of people can relate too. Peyton belongs to a new generation of Anti-Miley Cyrus singers that are young, brainy and independent.
PN: How important is image?
Peyton: Image is so important in the music industry. I have really made a brand for myself that is unique to me and stays true to who I am and what I represent as an artist.
PN: What is a typical day/week like for you?
Peyton: A typical day is me going to school and then coming home doing homework, practicing my music, and then normally I have music lessons of some kind or I have a show.
PN: How would you describe your perfect day?
Peyton: My perfect day would include going to eat breakfast at my favorite restaurant, Coffee House Cafe, and going shopping with my friends. Then at night playing a show would be the perfect end to
my perfect day.
PN: What would your friends say they appreciate the most about you?
Peyton: I am a very good listener and very intentional with all my friendships.
PN: If you could blink your eyes and be in a favorite place right now, where would that place be?
Peyton: I would want to be on the beach (specifically Hawaii but any beach would do)
PN: What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to their musicality; in essence, a hobby that they turn to in order to rejuvenate their creativity.
Peyton: Outside of music I love to do crafts. I absolutely love getting on Pinterest and finding some fun craft or project to do.
PN: What has been your biggest challenge and have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Peyton: My biggest challenge was when my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was hard for me to fathom life with out my mom and really made me question my faith. My mom is now 6 years in remission and I am so proud of her. During this time I learned a lot about myself and really grew in my faith. I am so thankful for her in my life and I don’t think I would have become the person I am today without that very difficult challenge.
PN: Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Peyton: I am not a part of any record label or music organization. But hopefully really soon
PN: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs
Peyton: Fans can gain access to me at my website: Peytonstilling.com
PN: Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support.
Peyton: I would love to thank my parents for believing in me and my music. I also want to thank my friends for being so supportive and for coming to all of my shows. Also huge thanks to Jayne Lybrand and Brianna Ruelas for pushing me vocally and inspiring me. Lastly big thanks to Brad Barnes for pushing me to strive to be a better guitar player.
PN: Who were you, or would you be nervous to meet?
Peyton: If I were to meet Tori Kelly or Norah Jones I would probably hyperventilate [laughs]
PN: Where would you like to find yourself in ten years?
Peyton: I would like to see myself on tour, verified on social media, and signed to a record label.
“Everyday I strive to work harder and push myself to be the best person I can be. I want my music to reflect my beliefs and values,” she says. “I also want it to inspire others going through the same situations or feelings. Her goals in music are to release an EP (hopefully soon), to continue raising money for non-profit organizations, and to go on tour.
Say what you will about the effect that the internet (more specifically, social media) has had on our everyday lives, but as a tool of discovery, it’s changing lives every day. Especially for musicians who don’t hail from hub cities with built-in networks of industry personnel, a simple Sound cloud account can end up being a golden ticket. Check out one of Peyton’s newest songs, I promise you will just fall in love with her. https://peytonstilling.com/ track/1039938/the-rain?feature_ id=242100