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Singer/Songwriter Peyton Gilliland Shares the Scoop on How She Balances Music, School & Life

Peyton Gilliland is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter who is traveling between her home in Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee in order to balance life as a high school student and an up and coming musician. She has an incredible voice, a talent for telling stories through her lyrics, and she’s just the sweetest! If you haven’t heard her music yet, you have to check her out! Her mentor, Lincoln Parish of Cage The Elephant, discovered her star-worthy talent, and we are so glad he did.

Her two new songs “Placeholder” and “Frantic” can be found on all music streaming services, and they are our new obsession. She’s a sweet Southern girl who is making a name for herself in the alternative pop genre. She’s not afraid to be herself, and she is all about girl power- both of which shine through in her music. She gave us the inside scoop on her life that revolves around music, horses and high school! Check it out:

Musical Beginnings

Peyton explains how she got started singing and when she decided to seriously pursue music as a career:

“I started singing in church when I was about six years old, and it’s just kind of blossomed from there. I started taking lessons in Huntsville and eventually, I started taking lessons in Nashville. I started recording, and it’s just been a snowball since then.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Family Support

Peyton’s grandmother, who is a music teacher herself, instilled a love of music into her granddaughter. Peyton’s story just goes to show that with a gorgeous voice, some hard work, and a family that doubles as the best support system, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

“When I started working with Lincoln and I kind of realized it was a job opportunity and that I could turn it into a career…It’s a lot different working with him than other people because the general people in Nashville, usually because of my age, will try to make excuses for me and stuff like that, but Lincoln does not do that. He knows what it was like to be my age and working on music, and he knows how possible it is. So, he’s always pushing me and it’s really good for me because I need something like that. He’s really great.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Motivating Mentor

Lincoln Parish, a fellow musician who started his career at a young age, saw similarities between his rise to fame and the drive he saw in Peyton. The mentor and mentee have been making music ever since. They have the same work ethic and the same understanding that you’re never too young to start following your dreams. She told us that she had been a fan of Lincoln’s band long before he became her mentor:

“I started listening to Cage the Elephant probably when I was like twelve, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I still listen to their music. I went to their concert last summer, and it was a blast.”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

Balancing Act

“I’m really lucky to have a school that works with me on schoolwork and absences and things like that. So, usually I just tell them in advance before I leave, and then they give me my homework to take with me, and I work on it while I’m [in Nashville].”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music


“Usually I’ll come into a write with an idea that I’ve had, so usually it’s either a song title or a few lyrics. Then I either work with Craig Wilson, John Salaway, Jason Lane and Hannah Arn…They’re so good with lyrics and melodies, but I usually come in with an idea and then they help me form the idea into a song.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Many of Peyton’s song lyrics talk about relationships and navigating one’s love life. She explains that she feels the most comfortable writing these kinds of lyrics with the people on her team who are also girls because they share the same experiences:

“I can be difficult, but it’s usually not awkward. I find it really easy to write songs like that with Hannah because she’s a girl, but it can be difficult with the guys sometimes because I feel like they don’t really understand the girl’s perspective.”

– Peyton Gilliland


“Usually, there’s some pop influences in there such as Julia Michaels, Noah Cyrus, and of course, there’s Adele, Amy Winehouse and then Cage the Elephant, always because when am I not listening to them?”

– Peyton Gilliland

Dream Team

When asked about her dream music collaboration, Peyton spoke for just about everybody in the music industry right now:

“Probably Finneas O’Connell because he’s just incredible. He’s done so many great things with so many great people.”

– Peyton Gilliland


On Peyton’s Instagram, she poses in gorgeous clothes- establishing her eye for fashion as well as her musical abilities. She told us about a new age fashion icon that she draws inspiration from. Peyton is always posing in

“>mini dresses.

“I definitely do like fashion. I have a fantastic stylist that I am learning a lot from. I’m kind of trying to develop my own personal style, so I’m kind of in the middle of that still. But she’s definitely helped a lot with that, so yes I do really like fashion, but I’ve got a lot to learn…Sabrina Carpenter- I love her outfits.”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

Genre Changes

The singer tells what drew her to the alternative pop genre and the pressure she felt to be a country music star.

“You know, I don’t even know if I was drawn to it, it’s just that’s what my sound was. Lincoln kind of drew it out of me, and that’s just what it ended up being, and I wouldn’t change it for the world…I definitely felt pressure, but there was never a desire. I like to listen to country music occasionally, but I’m not a country music type of girl.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Family Support

Cue the tears. Peyton says that her grandpa is her #1 fan. If your grandpa is your biggest fan, we are his! That’s just so sweet. Chasing one’s dreams is even better when you have your family behind you. Maybe we can hear some of grandpa singing on the next EP?

“My grandpa is absolutely my biggest fan, hands down, without a doubt. He got to go with me to record a song, not that long ago. He took me up there and he just had a blast. He was flabbergasted by the whole thing. My family is very, very supportive.”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

New Music

Peyton gives us the inside scoop on her two new singles, “Placeholder” and “Frantic”.

“Well, ‘Frantic’ was one of those songs that was a little bit tough to write. I wrote it with Craig and I felt very vulnerable, but I feel like that song is very relatable for a lot of people. ‘Placeholder’ is the same way. I wrote that one with John Salaway and Hanna Arn.”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

The song “Frantic”, funnily enough, got its name by accident. Inspiration comes in all forms during the creative process, and this accidental song title is the perfect example. We are so grateful that the idea came about because this new single might be one of our favorites she’s ever written!

“We went in there to write and we had this idea John said, ‘that can just be our placeholder idea’. And I was like, ‘what did you just say?’ and he said, ‘Placeholder’ and I was like, ‘that’s our song.'”

– Peyton Gilliland

Fan Appreciation

The singer explains that she loves affirmation from fans about how much her music speaks to them. Music has the power to connect people who have never met and put words to feelings that might have otherwise gone unspoken. Peyton has a gift for making people feel heard, and she has a girl power voice for sure. After listening to Peyton’s music, don’t forget to let her know what lyrics you connected with!

“I love to hear feedback on especially my Instagram. If somebody leaves a comment or DMs me and tells me how they feel about the song, it just makes me feel like what I’m doing is valid and people actually care.”

– Peyton Gilliland
Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

Upcoming Projects

Peyton gave us the inside scoop about future plans. We hope a new EP is in our future! This rising star stays busy writing, recording and releasing music. Now that school is out for the summer, hopefully we will be hearing even more new music. I think I speak for all of us when I say, we can’t wait to hear what’s next!

“I’m headed back up to Nashville on the 18th [of May] to work on some scratch vocals…Yeah we’re working on, I think it’s gonna be an EP, we’re not 100% sure yet, but I think it’s gonna be an EP, so I’m excited about that.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Jam Session

Peyton tells us where to find her music if you’re in the need of summertime jam session:

“Spotify or Apple Music; literally anywhere you can stream music.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Music Videos

The star told us the process of filming music videos, where the inspiration comes from and who she gets to star in them:

“I have to credit the quality of my music videos to Logan Christopher. He is incredible. My team, just being on set with them, it’s just so much fun and they just have a great atmosphere. It’s just fun to be able to act a little bit- that’s acting for me at least! It depends on the song, sometimes Logan comes up with the idea, but I came up with the idea for the ‘Drag Me Under’ music video. It just was kind of a visual I had in my head when we were writing the song and it was really cool to see it come to life…So the girl who played the girl in the lake in the ‘Drag Me Under’ music video has been a friend of mine since I was probably seven or eight. She rode horses out here at my property for a long time, so we knew her. She’s gorgeous. She’s perfect for the role. We just hit her up and she was like, ‘yeah I’d love to’. But outside of that, other actors that are cast are usually from Logan”

– Peyton Gilliland

Horsing Around

She’s a girl of many talents. Peyton also loves to ride horses competitively. Don’t worry, Peyton! Here at Sarah Scoop, we support your passion. No amount of memes should make anyone feel less excited to love what they love. Riding horses is ridiculously impressive, and we wish you the best of luck at your next competition!

“I ride horses. I ride horses a lot. My life consists of two things: music and horses and sometimes school, but I try not to be one of those ‘horse girls’ that people portray on social media, but I have a feeling I am a little bit…We go to shows and all that kind of stuff, which it’s kind of a bummer right now cause we can’t go because of COVID-19, but hopefully soon we’ll be getting back into it. I think I might get to go to a show in June.”

– Peyton Gilliland

High School

As a high schooler, Peyton’s friends show their support by playing her music throughout the school. Imagine juggling a high school course load, peer pressure, and a music career. This girl can do it all! It’s so good to hear that she has an incredible support system at home and at school.

“My friends are always very encouraging. They like to tease me by playing my songs in the middle of school and stuff like that. It always freaks me out cause, I don’t know, I just don’t like that, but they’re always very, very encouraging and they always listen to my stuff…They’re just good about it. I never feel awkward or anything.

– Peyton Gilliland


When asked if she would ever consider moving full-time to Nashville, Peyton explains her future plans. Franklin sounds like it would be the best of both worlds for this young musician. We just want you close enough to Nashville, so you can keep making great music!

“I think that the furthest I would probably move is to Franklin because I’m not really a city girl. That’s just not me. So, I would probably, you know ideally, be in Franklin with a giant horse farm. I mean that’s so close to Nashville anyway, so that would be perfect.”

– Peyton Gilliland

Peyton perfectly described her one-of-a-kind music in three words. We completely agree with Peyton’s description of her gorgeous voice and oh so relatable lyrics, but don’t just take our word for it, check out her music for yourself!

“Organic, edgy and pop, I think!”

– Peyton Gilliland

Peyton’s Puppies

Peyton’s adorable puppies are two more reasons to follow the star on her social media. Don’t forget to check out her new singles, music videos, and all the social media content in between! Her style is unmatched, you might get some outfit inspiration too! Peyton is an incredibly gifted singer/songwriter who has already achieved so much at such a young age! We can’t wait to see what’s next for her, and we have no doubts that her future is bright! She was an absolute joy to have as a guest on The Sarah Scoop Show! We will be keeping up with all of your successes, Peyton! We hope to hear from you again soon.

Photo Credit: Peyton Gilliland Music Instagram

Don’t forget to keep up with #PeytonGilliland:





Make sure to watch listen to Peyton Gilliland’s music, and be sure to check out more episodes of The Sarah Scoop Show!

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