In an interview with BearlySinister from Kansas-based, online media outlet, New Transcendence, Tragic Hero Records rap artist Whitney Peyton spoke about her come up as an artist. You can read the full, transcribed interview below.
BearlySinister: This is your first, national headlining tour. How does it feel, knowing that, each night getting up on stage?
Whitney Peyton: I mean, it’s crazy and also really scary. When you go out, and you’re the supporting act, you realize that a lot of people are there for the headliner and you’re lucky enough to be put in front of their crowd. I’m thankful that I’ve played so many different, versatile shows! I’ve opened for FLAW, which is a throwback, nu-metal band. I’ve opened for Twiztid, which is a horrorcore rap band… Three 6 Mafia (gangsta rap). I’ve been on tours where it’s almost all different genres, so when I do my headliners, I’m like “Okay, who is my crowd? Who’s gonna come out?” It’s gonna be really interesting to see the melting pot that comes out to the different shows. So, though it’s a little scary, it also feels like an accomplishment. I’ve paid my dues, I’ve done all this stuff… I didn’t try to fast-track myself as a headliner. I think I really worked my way up to it. I’m really excited about it.
BearlySinister: You’ve chosen W and 5280 Mystic to support you on this tour. How did you discover them and what made you decide to bring them out?
Whitney Peyton: One of the main reasons is that I live in Phoenix, AZ now and that’s where they’re located. So, I brought them straight out here with me and it was super easy bringing them out on the tour. Mainly, it’s just that they’re both really, really good and incredibly different. I didn’t want acts that, necessarily, sounded like me or like each other. I didn’t want it to feel like you’re watching a similar thing, back-to-back. They’re performers and they’re REALLY hype and that’s what my show is. My show is like a party, basically, and those guys have positive vibes. It goes with the theme, in that sense, but they’re still different enough that you don’t feel like you’re watching the same thing.
BearlySinister: Speaking of that, I’m really excited for you to see Whyte Lyte. He’s a really hype, kind-of, spoken-word rapper that has CP but he doesn’t let it get him down. Instead, he uses that fuel to fire his art and it’s really an amazing show, any time you see him. In fact, he used it to create a movement called #ConstantlyPositive!
Whitney Peyton: I might know him because I come through here a lot, but based on that, I’m really excited to see him perform.
BearlySinister: Outside of a longer set, how does this tour differ from the smaller runs that you’ve done and what can people expect from your performances?
Whitney Peyton: Well, if people have seen me before, they know to expect something that’s hype, no matter how big or small the crowd is. They’re gonna get the same level of energy. They will see an extended set, that’s one of the major things, along with more production. When you’re the headliner, you can bring in all the production you want. When you’re supporting, you can’t have all this stuff going on onstage because that’s more stuff you’ve gotta get off. Now that I have this time, I’m able to put way more production value into it, I’m able to perform more songs. Even though I just said I do a lot of hype songs, I did throw a couple slower songs in there, too. I don’t get to do that on my supporting shows because when I’m supporting and I’m only given like 20-30 minutes, I’m doing my most up-tempo songs. So, now I can put in some ballads here and there and then bring it back to the more up-tempo stuff. It’s really cool!
BearlySinister: You’re performing songs from your critically-acclaimed album, Firecracker (Pyro Edition), which was released this past October via Tragic Hero Records. Are you strictly sticking to songs from that album or is your set a mixed bag?
Whitney Peyton: It’s gonna be mixed, I mean, a majority of the songs will be from Firecracker but I always throw in those “fan staples,” like those staple, favorite songs. That allows me to bring it back for some of the fans who have been following me for a long time because there are people who have been following me forever and… it’s not fair to not throw it back and give them kind of an homage for following me for so long. So, you’ll see a mixed bag for sure.
BearlySinister: How would you say you’ve grown, musically and personally, since the release of 2016’s Break the Frame to now?
Whitney Peyton: Oh! I’ve grown SO much in so many ways. I’ve moved across the country since then, I’ve done so many shows… I think in 2016 or 2017 I did something like 250 shows a year. I’ve just evolved so much and, as an artist, you just want every album to be better than the last. I feel like it’s gone nowhere but up and, I even have new music now that is unreleased and even better than Firecracker. I’m excited for that, I’m excited for the new stuff… so, it’s just like I’m always evolving. I’m always learning from other artists, being inspired by shows that I do. I’ve grown in every way imaginable.
BearlySinister: For the release of Firecracker, you decided to team up with Tragic Hero Records. This move was unprecedented in your career because, until then, you’ve always been a largely independent artist. What led to your decision to work with Tragic and how do you feel it will propel your career, going forward?
Whitney Peyton: You know what? A lot of people were really surprised because, not only am I the first hip-hop artist signed Tragic Hero ever, but I’m the first solo artist. They’ve only had bands, primarily metal, on their roster. They wanted to expand, they wanted to have a wide roster of metal, as well as, different genres. They hit me up because I was already doing so much on my own, without anybody, and they were like “wow, if you can do this much on your own… imagine what it would be if you had a label!” Despite the fact that they’re known for metal, my fans didn’t know them and their fans didn’t know me… they’re the reason I charted on Billboard. I was down here and selling my CDs but nothing was being counted towards the charts. I was selling thousands of CDs before a label but nothing was being counted, I didn’t have SoundScan, I didn’t have any of that stuff. The label makes you way more legitimate. They got hold of the album and they put it in Best Buy, they did all the appropriate things that I just couldn’t do. They made that happen for me. Sure enough, 4,200 the first week, #9 on the Rap charts, #3 -Heatseekers… we hit 5 or 6 different charts. It was mainly because they got behind it, they believed in it and they pushed it into the right channels to get things moving further for me. I’m incredibly thankful for that, and for them.
BearlySinister: You mentioned in your 24-hour live stream that you had already begun writing for your next album. Do you do most of your writing at home or while on tour? What sparks that creative fire that inspires you to write a new song?
Whitney Peyton: I do all of my writing at home, I won’t say I don’t do any writing on tour because I’m pretty much always in “performance mode.” There’s different modes, there’s like “performance” and then there’s “creating” and, sometimes, I can get inspired while I’m on the road because I’ll see artists that are amazing. It gets you thinking “oh, wow, I really like that concept” or that flow or… different things like that. It might inspire a different song for you or a different genre that you’ve never really seen. It’s good to be around other artists, it definitely makes you a better artist. To answer your question, though, I do most of my writing at home. I already have a bunch of new music recorded, so I’m going to start releasing that, very shortly.
BearlySinister: You’re an artist that feeds off of the energy of the crowd, as much as they feed off of yours. Tell us about the wildest crowd you’ve performed for and what made that experience so memorable.
Whitney Peyton: I’ve performed in front of a lot of wild crowds but I think, recently, the one that’s popping in my head is Worcester. I played Rock & Shock with Twiztid and it was so crazy… that they were crowdsurfing during my ballads. They’re moshing, crowdsurfing and hitting each other and I’m looking around like we’re in different worlds. They think they’re hearing a fast song but we’re playing a slow song. Even in between songs, they’re crowdsurfing and moshing while I’m just talking to them… there’s not any music going on right now! So, that’s what comes to mind right off the bat but I’ve seen some crazy stuff.
BearlySinister: What was it like touring with Twiztid, as they went out for the 20th anniversary of their seminal debut album, Mostasteless?
Whitney Peyton: I think it was wild for them because they’re realizing “wow, holy shit, this album’s been out for 20 years… we’ve been around for awhile!” It was very nostalgic for a lot of their fans, which made it really cool because I was there for their classic, kinda throwback tour. I got to be there for their celebration and everything. I just love performing to Juggalos, they’re cool! When I started rapping, I had no idea what a Juggalo was and I remember the first time doing a show… everyone had painted faces and I was like “What is this?! This is either gonna go really well or really bad!” and I was like “These are like KISS fans or something?” I didn’t get what it was but then I realized that they’re all like comic book fans and super into it and it’s awesome. They don’t care what they look like at shows, as far as, moving around too much “I might look stupid or corny.” They give zero fucks!
BearlySinister: What does 2018 hold for Team Underdog and Whitney Peyton, beyond this tour?
Whitney Peyton: Beyond this tour, it was just announced that I’m playing Northern Invasion with Tool! That’s gonna be a 35,000 capacity amphitheater that ALWAYS gets sold out. We’re talking about a festival where it’s just the one stage, there aren’t multiple stages where people are going to be moving around… they’re going to be in front of that stage. That’s gonna be the biggest crowd I’ve ever performed in front of. I’ve done 10,000 and things like that but not 35,000 or anywhere near that so, I really gotta bring it! I’ve gotta bring some production for that one. I’m playing Warped Tour, I’m playing SXSW. These are a lot of things that I always had as goals and I feel like 2018… I’ve put in all these work the past couple of years doing like 280 shows or whatever and I feel like it’s really paying off because people are actually looking and are like “Okay, we’ve heard of her! Let’s get her on Warped tour!” Before, I worked my ass to be on these things and they’re like “who’s that? Whatever!” Now they’re like “Yeah, okay! Let’s get her on there!” Now’s the year to accomplish those goals.
BearlySinister: Thank you for doing this. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Whitney Peyton: I mean… I just appreciate the fans and YOU – even knowing what Team Underdog is, it’s a movement! Some people think it’s a label, it’s not. It’s just something I started saying and some people think that it means you’re losers or something like that but they don’t get what “underdog” means. It’s someone who is expected to be a loser but you don’t have to be… it means you can come out on top. That’s what it’s all about. Thank you Tragic Hero, thank you to the fans and thank YOU!
You can pick up a copy of Whitney Peyton’s brand new album, Firecracker (Pyro Edition) at the links below. In addition to that, it has been announced that she will be releasing a new single every other Friday for the week of 2018. To go along with those, she is also releasing new merch that comes with a free digital download of the single it represents. Be sure to check her out on Northern Invasion, Warped Tour and be on the lookout for more tours to be announced, as well.