Christopher Peyton: Raw, Powerful, Gorgeous
Christopher Peyton grew up singing gospel while his father, a traveling evangelist preached throughout North Carolina. It was in that musical tradition that his talent was nurtured, allowing him to develop his powerful voice and style. A foundation that laid the groundwork for his unique gospel tinged dance anthems that continue to rock the dance floors around the world.
This "Master of Music" took the time to speak with us at The Rage Monthly about his music, style and what drives him as he performs around the world.
The flow of your music and voice radiate so much soul and positivity. Having been raised in the South of the U.S., were your experiences growing up responsible for your current musical mood?
Growing up the son of a Pentecostal preacher definitely influenced everything in my life, especially my voice and music. I have always drawn a lot of my musical influences from Gospel and soul and the positivity in many of my tracks can also be attributed to having been raised by such loving parents with a solid foundation in faith.
Your website’s biography indicates that you lived in quite a few parts of the world at a young age. Was it the need to study music that fueled your travels across the globe?
No, I’d say it was more my need to study life that fueled my travels. I knew from an early age that I wanted my life to be much bigger than what I’d been shown growing up. I always craved adventure and I knew that in order for me to be happy I was going to have to set my parameters a lot wider!
What specifically made you finally settle in London?
I first went to the U.K. to study for part of my under- graduate degree and then my post-graduate degree. A few years later I moved to N.Y.C. and fell in love with a British artist and we moved back to London together. The romance with the artist ended, but my love affair with England carries on.
The track "All That Matters" reminds me of that kind of love that consumes and alters perception. It’s quite nice. Was it written for someone in particular?
Quite nice?! It’s bloody gorgeous! Ha-ha. Actually, funny you should mention that track because it’s certainly one of the songs I’m proudest of. I wrote it about a love affair that came along just when I needed it, which really helped me to believe in love again, even though while it was happening I knew that it was only meant to be for the few days that we were together. Hence the lyric - today, today, today, all that matters is today!
Your grasp of dance music spans from anthemic pulse-racers to smooth chill-out tracks. When you aren’t developing new sounds, what styles and musicians inspire you?
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve lived and breathed dance music for so many years now that when I’m not working, all I want to hear is Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and anything else that isn’t 126 b.p.m! (that’s beats per minute for anyone not familiar with dance music jargon) I love my classic soul and jazz singers, and I love music that inspires me lyrically. Unfortunately, in my not-so-humble opinion, dance music has changed a lot in the last decade and I find it less and less inspiring.
I’m sure you get this a lot, but your vocal style has a powerful, somewhat Michael McDonald quality. Very refreshing to hear such raw skill as opposed to the manicured pop treatment found everywhere else. Did you always have such an "adult" singing voice?
I think having spent the last ten years singing my gospel guts out in nightclubs that very often are not technically set up for live vocal performances has forced me to develop a certain strength and rawness which helps me to be effective, even when everything technically is working against me.
What is your personal favorite part of performing in front of your audiences?
For me it’s all about connection. Of course it’s ideal when you can feel that the majority of your audience is connecting with you, but there are times when you just have to focus on one or two people who are completely engaged and perform just for them. I can perform just as passionately for five as I can for five thousand, as long as there’s a connection and the energy is flowing both ways!"
On your downtime, if you are afforded downtime, how do you like to relax and unwind...and with whom?
I have recently moved from London to Ibiza, and what I love more than anything is just cooking and relaxing with close friends or spending quiet time by myself, or in the company of a good bottle of Rioja. You literally have to pay to get me to a bar or a club these days . . . and thankfully, they do!
For more on Christopher Peyton, visit his website.