Nashville artist on the rise Peytan Porter has compiled both fan-favorites and unreleased tracks to create her debut project, In My Head. This project draws inspiration from her Georgia roots and real-life experiences as a 24-year-old.
Porter joined Music Mayhem to talk about her journey that has led up to her thriving career and debut project that dropped today.
Her love for songwriting began during her childhood, when she was in search of an outlet to express her feelings and a way to earn more attention as the middle sibling.
“I would have all these deep thoughts and feelings and really not know how to pull people to sit and listen to me and have these conversations with me,” she shared. “But if I put it in a song, they would focus and they would pay attention. It was like I could get people to hear me. So that is how I communicate with the world.”
When most kids think of the happiest place on Earth, they picture Disney, but that wasn’t the case for Porter. Instead, she saw Nashville as the place where dreams come true for so many artists and hoped that she would have the same success one day.
“To think you can be a successful country singer, you kind of have to believe in magic. It’s not like a very rational way of thinking. So it was pretty instinct thing to go straight to Disney.”
The classic Disney tale of Alice in Wonderland is the story that most relates to the Georgia native’s debut project. In a way, both works are “colorful, trippy, a little distorted and delusional.”
The animated character, Alice, begins her journey to a “distorted reality” when she follows her curiosity of seeing a rabbit running into a rabbit hole. Instead of chasing a rabbit, Porter was chasing her dreams of becoming a songwriter. She has incorporated some of the same colorful creativity and imagery through the lyrics of her seven-track release.
“She doesn’t understand the norms of the life that she’s grown up in,” Porter shared in reference to the character Alice. “She’s like, ‘well, if I had a world, this is how it would be.’ Then she gets to experience the highs and lows of whatever realm she steps into and follows different trails.”
In 2016, Porter finally made the move to her version of the magic kingdom to continue her education. She quickly realized music was going to be her priority and committed to being unapologetically real about her emotions and experiences through her music. In My Head embraces just that. It captures youthfulness and her Georgia roots through sounds that will “easily fit” into the people’s daily lives.
“Lyrically, it’s pretty potent. I think that there’s a lot of depth and a second layer to my songwriting,” Porter explained to Music Mayhem. “It’s pretty light and airy. There’s something ethereal to it, which I wanted to capture because I’m from the north Georgia mountains. I wanted there to be a little bit of breezy mountain air feeling to all of my stuff.”
This project includes her most recent release, “Why We Broke Up” as well as “Therapy” and “First Stone.”
“These were just kind of the ones that some of ’em had had life on TikTok and we wanted to get those out and get them to people cause they’ve been waiting. They’re songs that I want to get out now and I probably won’t grow into. There’s a bunch that we love that I still have time to grow into, but these are kind of younger and just things that I probably won’t put out later than 24.”
As Porter began exploring the different paths in her life, she soon discovered that writing music wasn’t enough. The young artist developed a new determination to branch out into the realm of recording her own music too.
“I had kind of tried to convince myself that I’d be okay with just being a songwriter,” she explained.
The ah-ha moment that left her with the realization that she wanted to be a singer as well as a songwriter came during the writing session for her debut single. “I always wanted to sing my own songs. It wasn’t until I wrote ‘Therapy,’ that was the first song that I was like, I don’t want anyone else recording this.”
Her plan to launch her career didn’t initially include TikTok, but once she started posting songs like “Therapy,” the fan base started to grow at a rapid pace. As exciting as it was to see the number of views rising on her videos, the 24-year-old still had her doubts.
“When the first one kind of started blowing up, I thought I had ruined my career. I was terrified to the point where I was up all night, trying to talk myself out of deleting it because it was just not my plan. That’s not the song that I wanted to release, and I had this very specific vision for how I wanted to launch my career.”
While TikTok is a tool that she has learned to love, she hopes that eventually, she won’t have to rely on as much. “It’s definitely been a learning journey,” she said.
Choosing just seven out of the thousands of songs he’s written over the years for this project was definitely a challenge. She had six of the songs in place already, but it was the title track that “tied the bow” on the whole collection.
“That song’s got a little more teeth to it than all of the other ones and that’s a big part of my personality. I’m lighthearted and I’m a deep thinker and I’m a deep feeler, but I’ve also got a little bit of an attitude. I think that In My Head kind of captured the far end of that spectrum and it was a little bit of backbone that some of ’em didn’t have.”
The opening track, “Why We Broke Up,” shows a different side of Porter as it gives fans some toxicity that many can relate to when talking about that certain ex.
“I wanted people to be drawn in with energy and then I can kind of take ’em on the journey from there, but that one felt the biggest and the most exciting.”
Listening to this project from top to bottom allows fans to understand Porter’s real-life stories and emotions in a complete way. “We’ve kind of learned how to consume things at an individual pace, but I love a full body of work,” she shared.
“This first project feels like a glimpse into all of the parts of my personality,” she said, “It feels like a handshake and kind of like a warm hug introduction, but I don’t by any means, think that it tells the whole story.”
In My Head dives into some of the highs and lows of living through your 20s, but with each stage comes new stories and Porter has plenty more to share. Coming this fall, the “Why We Broke Up” singer revealed that fans can expect a new project that will continue telling her story.
Peytan Porter’s next show is set to take place July 15 in Sharpsburg, KY in support of Lady A.