Courtesy of Big Machine Records

NASHVILLE, TN (May 22, 2020) – PAYTON SMITH exudes the confidence and passion of seasoned pros, but the newcomer acknowledges his self-taught skills grew from studying guitar-slinging icons across genres. With his It Started With A Song series Payton covers some of the artists who have indirectly shaped his sound and showmanship. Payton is every bit as much a fan of Pearl Jam and John Mayer as he is Clint Black and George Strait – certain that his peers have equally varied musical tastes.

“Chris Young’s voice always stood out to me, you’d always know it was him when he started singing,” shares Payton. “It means the world to me that he called to tell me about my Grand Ole Opry debut and has become a friend; how cool is that! So I decided to do a mashup of some of my favorite songs he’s recorded.” The multi-instrumentalist adds piano to his signature guitar grooves in a stark black and white clip that begins with a somber “Drowning,” turns up the heat on “I’m Comin’ Over” and ends with the rowdy “Raised on Country.” Watch here.

Payton has also tackled tracks from Brad Paisley, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban, whose CMA Awards performance 14 years ago instilled a dream in the Houma, Louisiana, native of playing his own brand of Country music one day. It seems the 20-year-old is well on his way with Taste of Country listing Payton as one of 2020’s Hottest Country Artists Under 25, noticing his “raw talent, authenticity and strong work ethic are bound to bring him country music success for many, many years.” Explore the Full It Started With A Song Playlist:

Layering vivid imagery over propelling tones, Payton co-wrote his debut single “Like I Knew You Would” and others on his self-titled EP (Big Machine Records). Honoring thegenre’s traditions while moving the sound forward, the CMT 2020 Listen Up artist plays every part on each track just like his favorite slingers across the musical landscape. He worked with producer James Stroud and bonded with a fellow Louisiana native over their love of diving beats.

Next Thursday (5/28), Payton will perform during the SheGrad Party ultimate virtual graduation livestream from 4:00-6:00P PST. Register for the FREE online celebration at Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe will host with guest speakers Surfer Bethany Hamilton, Olympian Missy Franklin, Karen Civil, Jennifer Barreto-Leyva, WNBA Recruit Erica Ogwumike & Adley Stump!  and more music from Colbie Caillat’s Gone West, Ashe, Tenille Townes, Nico & Vinz, Kylie Morgan, Molly Kate Kestner, and Caroline Jones. SheFactor, conceptualized the celebration to bring a smile to the millions of women graduates who won’t be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma this year.

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