Keep your eyes on 20-year-old Texan Payton Howie who is leading the next generation of redneck women. All-American girl and country artist, Howie unapologetically embodies the untamed tradition that country music was built on.
Tell us about yourself and how your interest in singing began.
I have always had music in me. I grew up singing and playing multiple instruments. I would say I got my start in the small town of Willis, TX, where I grew up. Seasoned musicians would sneak me into the venue they were playing at and literally sit me at their feet while they practiced. They nicknamed me “youngblood” since I was so much younger than everyone else, and that is where the title of my EP came from.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
When I was five years old, my mom and I went to see Carrie Underwood in an outdoor amphitheater. We had aisle seats, so I was dancing in the walkway and the spotlight ended up landing on me, causing Carrie to notice me. A security guard came up and brought me on stage with her and that was my first taste of what being on stage in front of a crowd felt like. It was so cool seeing how fans reacted to live music. I knew that was my goal one day.
What has been your favorite part about performing on stage?
The crowd interactions. Recently, I opened up for Clay Walker during one of his Texas shows and because he has such a strong fan-base, the crowd was really hyped up. I love coming out and getting people to have fun during my set.
Your new song, Keep Her Breathing, was released on June 24th. What can you tell us about the writing process and meaning behind the song?
I would say it is a patriotic anthem of sorts. It personifies America and talks about where we have been as a country, where we are now and where we hope to be. It is always important to stand up for what you believe in and do what you’re proud of.
Was there anything else you ever wanted to do? You are only 20 years old.
I grew up playing softball and had a D-2 scholarship to play in Colorado for college. I did both music and softball at the same time but once I started putting out music, it was hard to juggle. I was doing both things I loved, but I knew I had to pick one over the other. I chose music and ended up finishing my degree online.
Can you tell us anything about the plans you have for the future?
We have more tour dates this summer as well as some music videos. I am so excited to see everyone’s reactions to Keep Her Breathing.
Cover photo from Brie Mawhorter.
Houstonian Emily Hord is an assistant editor at Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She graduated from Texas A&M University, and in her free time enjoys reading books, going to see live music and hanging out with friends and family.