Canvas Rebel Interview
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Canvas Rebel Interview

- Payton Riley

Canvas Rebel Interview

Read Payton's interview from Canvas Rebel, check out the full article here!


Alright, Payton thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you talk to us about how you learned to do what you do?

I was always a singer — I was practically singing as soon as I was talking. My Mom put me in voice lessons at age 7 and then at 9 years old, I started learning how to write songs, and that has become my passion. My voice coach told me that if I wanted to sing my songs on big stages, I needed to learn how to play an instrument, so at age 9, I started learning how to play guitar. I think I should have started playing guitar even earlier and spent more time on it to learn it more quickly. Playing guitar does not come naturally to me. I have to work really hard at it, and I have wanted to give up numerous times, but I kept pushing through because I knew I would regret it if I gave up — I had worked too hard to get where I am at.
Voice, guitar and songwriting are all essential! What’s also essential is practicing all three. Because of my age, I feel like I have to work harder to prove myself, so I practice a lot.
I feel like singing and songwriting have come so naturally to me, that when guitar didn’t, I got really frustrated. So that frustration is probably the biggest obstacle that stood in the way of learning more. But what has been an obstacle overall is my age, and people taking me seriously. I am extremely serious about my music. I practice my music for hours every single day. I might be just 14, but I promise that I put in just as much work if not more than any other artist.

Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

As I said earlier, I started voice lessons at age 7 and started writing songs at age 9. Through a songwriting camp I attended in 2018, I was able to write a song and perform it on the Dosey Doe Big Barn Stage in The Woodlands. At age 10, I landed a major singing part in the play “Rockin’ Robinhood.” Since then, I’ve sung the national anthem and God Bless Amercia at some pretty big venues, including the Texas Legacy Flag Fest in Conroe and the Montgomery County Fair & Rodeo. I’m now doing open mic nights and am playing at local venues 2-4 times a month. I also participate in songwriters rounds and released my first EP in 2022 that can be downloaded on all streaming platforms.
I specialize in creating songs from life experiences — my own and those of other people. My songs are also a bit sassy. I like writing and singing songs that have both a little bit of attitude and that empower my audience. It’s also important to me to be an example to other young musicians. It can be super intimidating to put yourself out there and get venues to take you seriously. But you need to keep working, keep getting in front of them. Be kind to everyone and always lift up other musicians.

I have a heart as big as Texas. And just like my songs, I’m a bit sassy. I can stand up for myself, hunt, fish and get dirty. But I also can dress up — I always try to wear some sort of cute boots when performing, which has become a trademark.

We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I will book you when you get older” or “You can open for me when you get older.” Instead of discouraging me, this makes me want to become better and work harder. There’s one particular venue that had told me “no” several times over the past few years. Well, I was there recently at a concert and the artist invited me on stage to sing a song. The owner of the venue practically ran over to our table to book me as a solo artist. And not just once — I’ll be playing there three times over the next several months!

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?

That one is easy — seeing people enjoying listening to my music or my music speaking to them in a way that makes them want to be better, stronger, and more confident.

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