Life after X Factor for Peyton
What Peyton Did Ne'X't
Although the X Factor isn't the TV ratings juggernaut it once was, it can still launch new artists and raise the profile of long standing performers searching for that big break.
You don't even have to make the live shows to get noticed. Peyton, one of the class of 2016, made it as far as judges houses, singing for Sharon Osbourne and Robbie Williams before being pipped to the knockout finals by the dubious 'talents' of Honey G. Undeterred, he's been performing round the globe, recording an album and now releases a dance anthem Let It Shine in collaboration with Steven Redant.
Has going through the X Factor machine been a help and opened doors for you, or a hindrance, being viewed as just another reality show contestant?
I went into X Factor with a very strategic mission in mind. Rather than expecting it to catapult me to superstardom, I knew exactly what the machine was and how it worked. I was prepared for any and every eventuality, but my aim was merely to increase my profile.
For the last couple of years I've been working on a very special album which is a departure from the house music style I'm known for and will be finished very soon. X Factor exposed me to millions of people who had absolutely no idea who I was and don't listen to dance music, so it remains to be seen how much it helps but I don't see how it could hurt at this point. I went on the show determined to represent myself as authentically as possible and I think I managed to get out with my dignity intact!
The six chair section of the programme has been widely criticised for being unnecessarily cruel and just for ratings. Did you feel exploited at any time?
You are the first person to actually ask me this and yet it's something that I'm surprised doesn't come up more often in interviews. To be totally honest, I felt so uncomfortable during the filming of the six chair challenge, that at one point I considered getting up and leaving the whole thing behind.
I didn't personally feel exploited in any way, but I saw how desperately unhappy it was making so many of the others and there's something deeply disturbing about the way this part of the show is executed. I know contestants have volunteered to put themselves in this position, but allowing young, aspiring and often vulnerable artists to stand on a stage and be jeered at by a hyped-up audience is just about as mean and sinister as it gets. My fear is that younger artists may not understand that this is just theatrics created for TV and it could permanently deter them from pursuing a career in music. Worse yet, people who are not entirely emotionally balanced and grounded could be traumatised by it with far more horrific results.
Was it frustrating when 'novelty' act Honey G made it onto the live shows while real singers got flung by the wayside?
It didn't feel great but I think it would have felt worse if one of the super talented singers, like Samantha or James or Janet, had gone through instead of me. The fact that we were all denied a place in the finals and Honey G was put through kind of softened the blow for me for me and just confirmed something that I had known all along.
Would you consider auditioning again...or for The Voice?
OMG...NO ! I have no regrets, but never again!
As a performer in your 40's, is it harder to get a break in a business that is so youth orientated and was it a long struggle to get noticed in the industry before X Factor?
It absolutely is harder to get any support or interest from record labels the older you get! There are exceptions, but unless you've already established yourself as an artist by your thirties or forties, you're NOT what a record label is looking to sign. I was already in my thirties when I had my first break back in 2003 with Hed Kandi and my first single A Higher Place, but age isn't so much of a factor in dance music. One of the reasons I put myself out there and did X Factor was because of my age. The collateral that comes with having a profile gives a record label more reason not to ignore you just because you're older than they want.
Tell me about the new music, the tour and the collaboration with Steven?
I've been working for some time on a new album and I'm over the moon with it. After seventeen years making dance music, I was ready to unplug myself from the dance floor and write music for a studio album without any particular style or genre in mind. You could say it's a very grown-up pop album, with a bit of Adele, George Michael and Rag'n'Bone Man thrown into the mix yet, it's 100% me.
Steven and I have been friends for years so when he sent me the early stages of Let It Shine and asked if I'd like to write something over it, I jumped at it because I absolutely love the African tribal sound on there. We've fused it with an American gospel vibe and I'm very proud of it. We wanted to create an anthem of defiance that lets the world know that it may seem like the forces of darkness are winning but we will not be defeated. Everyone has a light and it's time to let it shine brighter than ever!
How was Australia?
It always feels like going home for me. I've been touring there for so many years and created so many wonderful friendships, especially in Sydney, so it's always a joy to go back. This year was particularly special, as I was invited to perform on the main stage for the official Mardi Gras event, so I was in my element. It was also the first place I've performed Let It Shine live and seeing thousands of people dancing and singing along was pretty epic!
What's next for you?
World domination, my first Grammy and becoming a judge on the X Factor! Ha ha!