Peyton McMahon has been on a musical journey the past several years, one that is about to start a new chapter. Following his 2017 debut EP (entitled “Peyton McMahon” which contains 4 songs exclusively written by Peyton), that next chapter begins with his new single, “Liberate Me”.
Peyton’s original interest in performing came about on a whim. His grandmother, who was a piano teacher, tried to give Peyton formal music lessons at a young age, but Peyton had no interest in formal lessons. After months of frustration, his grandmother threw in the towel, but Peyton continued teaching himself how to play by ear, and later picked up the guitar. His love of music grew, but mainly manifested itself as a private hobby; singing, writing, and playing music by himself in his room and never in the presence of anyone else; his own little secret.
That all changed when he was 16 and his family took a trip to Disney World. At the time, Disney World had an “American Idol Experience” attraction in an arena where they recreated the show’s competition. It was then that Peyton decided to overcome his fear and audition. To his surprise, he cleared all the elimination rounds and ended up winning the competition after a finale performance for thousands of cheering fans. Peyton got a short-lived taste of his dream, which was quite a whirlwind experience for a kid who had never sang in front of another human prior to the trip.
In the ensuing years, Peyton played in a few bands with friends, but his primary outlet for his musical talents was YouTube, where he posted various cover versions of popular songs. Peyton’s musical interpretations have won praise and encouragement from many of the artists that he covered including OneRepublic, Shakira, Fifth Harmony, Gavin DeGraw, Matchbox Twenty and Kelly Clarkson. Despite not yet releasing a record at the time, his YouTube channel had reached over 13,000 subscribers and 1 million views.
Peyton’s next brush with fame came from an opportunity that Kelly Clarkson came up with to have undiscovered acts perform a cover on stage during various stops on her tour. Peyton submitted a video and more or less forgot about it. A couple of months after the submittal, while relaxing at home on a Friday afternoon, he received an email from Kelly Clarkson’s musical director telling him that he was selected to perform the following night. Peyton then dropped everything to drive to Dallas the next morning to make it just in time for rehearsal and sound check with Kelly's band.
That night, Peyton performed a cover of Gavin DeGraw's “I Don’t Want to Be” to 20,000 screaming fans. Kelly came on stage afterward to congratulate Peyton, saying "You're a white boy with soul! Damn, you’re good!”. In an article on the concert the following morning, the Dallas Morning Observer said Peyton’s performance and version “surprisingly surpassed the original”. In a 24 hour period, Peyton got another taste of his performing dream and reminded that this is what he was born to do.
Peyton continued the hustle for his dream and kept doing whatever he could to get closer to it, playing nonstop gigs in his hometown’s bar/restaurant circuit and traveling to go on countless auditions. He came close when he was selected as one of 80 contestants to have a blind audition on “The Voice” television series. As fate would have it, by the time Peyton finally got to sing for the TV judges, almost all of the teams were already chosen. He did not get selected, and worst, his performance got edited out of the TV broadcast due to time constraints.
He then went on to independently record and release his debut self-titled EP. His first record of original material was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by David Maemone, a touring musician who plays keys for artists like Gavin DeGraw. It contained 4 songs about chasing his dream that weaved their way through different variations of Pop/Rock. The EP charted on iTunes and the standout acoustic ballad “See The Sun” was featured on many blogs and websites.
Following the EP release, Peyton was approached to audition for American Idol. Having auditioned many times when he was younger and stepping away from it for several years, he agreed to give it another shot. After passing the initial auditions, he had the opportunity to audition for Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, all of whom voted “Yes” and gave him the golden ticket to Hollywood. In Hollywood Week, he again faced some bad luck as he was in the last group to perform and had a tough selection process against him, which resulted in his untimely elimination.
Peyton takes it all in stride, and lets those experiences fuel his fire. He channels that fire the best way he knows how: music, and the fire is well showcased on his new single, “Liberate Me”. Produced by Nick Block and Aaron McLendon, the track was written solely by Peyton. Lyrically, it is an empowering song about dropping insecurities that were hindering in the past while embracing a newfound confidence in yourself. Musically, the song has a soulful Alt/Pop/Rock sound with some ear-candy synths and a catchy bass line. The song showcases Peyton’s powerful, soulful vocals over stacked harmonies and a steady groove.
Creatively, Peyton’s musical navigation system draws inspiration from Pop, Rock, Alternative, Soul and Singer/Songwriter genres while centering around a foundation of Pop hooks. While his soulful voice provides a distinctness to his music, you can hear his sound fit nicely alongside artists like James Bay, Gavin DeGraw, Shawn Mendes, and OneRepublic.
After many brushes with fame, Peyton McMahon is taking the bull by the horns and controlling his narrative. “Liberate Me” is a marker to let you know this is an artist to watch. This is only the first chapter in what promises to be an impressive career.