On the second day of Northern Invasion, we chatted with Philadelphia-based rapper, songwriter and singer Whitney Peyton. Formerly independent, Peyton recently signed to Tragic Hero Records and released her Firecracker: Pyro Edition album in October 2017. Accompanied by her inflatable Flamingo pool float (which she later used to surf through the crowd during her set), we discussed tear gas, confidence and future music videos.
You’re currently on a headlining tour promoting your new album Firecracker: Pyro Edition. Do you have any crazy stories about the tour so far? Whitney Peyton: This tour? Not as crazy as on my headlining tour, but one of my crazier tour stories definitely involves when I was on tour with Three Six Mafia which is a gangsta rap group. So, when I was on tour with them, I mean – they have songs like “tear da club up tear da club up” you know what I’m saying? So, I mean people are going to get crazy. I think every night with people you’d see like 5 shoes on the floor - so I think one of the craziest times was when we played Denver, Colorado and there was a fight that broke out in the middle and they had to throw tear gas into the mosh pit because they couldn’t get to it.
So, literally you saw tear gas just flying over the crowd and it was like shows over after that because you can’t breathe. It was like insane and just filled the whole venue and shut down the show. So “tear da club up” it literally happened, and I witnessed that - so that was one of the crazier tour stories.
If you don’t watch this video, “That’s On You”!
As a woman in a predominately male-dominated industry, what have been some of the difficulties you’ve faced? Peyton: There’s definitely a lot of people that don’t take you as seriously; you have a lot to prove I think. So, what I do, I mean generally with me because I do hip-hop, so what I do is I have my set start and I come on stage already rapping so they don’t even have a chance to like look at me and try to assess the situation. Like, I come out already doing it so they have to like hear it all at once and judge after that.
Do you have any advice for women looking to break into the industry? Peyton: Yeah, just be confident because that’s really what it is. My live show and everything got better as my confidence got better. If you’re not like jumping around and having a good time, why should anyone else do that? So, like you just gotta go in there even if you don’t know what you’re doing 100% because as long as you pretend you do – everyone else will think that you do. So that’s just like what I’ve learned doing this. And there’s a difference – not cocky, just confident.
Portraits of Whitney shot by Ann Storlie at Northern Invasion on Sunday, May 13th.
What has been your favourite song to write? What is your favourite song to perform? Peyton: I think one of my favourite songs to write was when I did a song with Matt Good called “Don’t Lie To Me.” And that’s Matt Good from From First To Last and that’s really cool because you know even though I’m a hip-hop artist, I think the thing that brings me onto a festival like this is that I’ve done so many collaborations with different artists. I mean I just dropped a song with Ben Bruce from Asking Alexandria and everything like that so it’s like I love writing songs with other artists that are not necessarily my genre; but then as far as songs to perform, I like to do the more hype songs.
I have a song called “Through The Wall” that Matt Good actually produced - he doesn’t sing on it but he produced it. I was like Matt - because we had just watched WrestleMania and I was like Matt I need a song that sounds like it’s an entrance theme for a wrestler - and that is like my favourite song to perform. And then my song with him that’s like a ballad was my favourite song to write.
What can we expect from you in the future? Any new music or tours? Peyton: It’s so crazy because right now like the last few years I’ve toured 9 to 10 months out of the year, so I’m like a touring artist for sure. I think in the future I really want to focus a lot more on the visuals like video and drop way more videos. I know everyone’s so attached to their phone, like glued to their phone, and I love the performing aspect, but I also want to put out videos because they’ll last forever. Like when I’m too old to jump around the stage at least I’ll still have those music videos out there. So that’s my next step - putting out way more visuals.
“You Are” going to watch this Whitney Peyton video. Now.