Payton Howie is a Firecracker Who Loves Traditional Country

Payton Howie is a firecracker who loves the traditional country sound and classic rock. However, Howie’s music has a place in today’s pop/country world. Country music has a big tent, and we need artists with different sounds. We need Payton Howie. Keep reading to learn more about how a southern California native came to love country music. 

Growing Up with Music

Payton Howie is an impressive, young talent at only 20 years old, but she has been pursuing music for a while. Howie said, “I’ve always had a musical soul. So I taught myself to play guitar, learning different chords and melodies. When I was young, I tried to take piano lessons. But, it never worked out because I couldn’t read music. Also, I didn’t particularly appreciate listening to instructions.”

Many young ladies credit Taylor Swift for inspiring their love of songwriting. However, Payton Howie has a different story. The singer-songwriter said, “When I was five, my mom took me to my first concert, it was Carrie Underwood. Carrie saw me dancing in the aisle and pulled me up on stage. We held hands, sang, and danced together on stage. I remember the feeling of being on stage and feeling the music under my feet. It was incredible looking out at the crowd and seeing them connecting to and singing along to the music. From there, I fell in love with music. I began pursuing music as a career and playing shows when I was sixteen years old.”

Payton Howie and her guitar
Photo Credit: Brie Mawhorter

Payton Howie, the Songwriter

Like so many who have come before, Payton Howie has come to love the songwriting process over the years. Howie said, “All of the original music I have released, I have written or co-written. I love the process of sitting down and learning how to express stories or feelings in different ways. I enjoy co-writing more than solo writing because you can be stuck, and someone says, change this, and then it makes the whole song.”

Howie recalled writing the first song she wanted to record. The singer/songwriter said, “I wrote the first song I wanted to record at sixteen, called “F-150.” While I had been writing before then, nothing came that I loved. But, I felt F-150 in my soul. I was going through a rough time, and I was sitting in my truck in the middle of a dirt field in California wine country at three in the morning. So, I wrote the song and released it. To this day, a lot of people say F-150 is their favorite song of mine.”

Evolution of Payton Howie’s Sound

When you listen to Payton Howie’s music, you hear a nod to 90s country, but there is a rock vibe to some of her songs. However, today, Payton’s sound is not out of place in country music. I mistakenly thought Howie was from Texas, but not without reason. There are some Texas influences in Howie’s music too.  

You may wonder, as I did, how someone from Temecula, California, came to love country music. Howie said, “Traditional country music is the best representative of storytelling music. Reba’s “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” and Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” tell a story. The simplicity of talking to the listeners needs to return to the industry. But, I also love Gretchen Wilson, Janis Joplin, and classic rock. Being in Texas, I dove into Red Dirt country and Texas country.”  Howie’s sound infuses all of those influences. 

Payton Howie’s Acoustic Performance Video, “Country Before Me” –Premiered on CMT Jan. 28, 2022

Payton Howie Releases Her EP Youngblood

The single, “Country Before Me,” paid homage to the women in Country Musc, who came before Howie to pave the way. As a follow-up, Howie released her first EP, “Youngblood,” on February 18, 2022. Payton couldn’t contain her excitement as she talked about the release. The singer/songwriter said, “I remember being young and wanting to release music, and now I am dropping an EP. Each song on the EP is a different piece of who I am as a person and artist. I’ve got everything from a party song to “Country Before Me,” which shows my love of traditional country music. So, I am excited to share it with everyone.”

As it turns out, like Howie, the EP’s title also has its roots in California. Howie said, “After we finished recording, some suggested a self-titled EP, but we decided to call it Youngblood. Growing up in Temecula, I was young, learning guitar and playing open mic nights. There are all these wineries, restaurants, bars, and clubs in old town Temecula on Main Street. I used to sneak around all these places to watch the older musicians, and most of them played classic rock and blues. I was one of the only people playing country music. The older musicians took me under their wing to teach me about music and what makes a true artist. So they nicknamed me “Youngblood,” and I couldn’t imagine calling the EP anything else.”

Listen to “Youngblood” on Apple Music or Spotify

Lessons Learned

Payton Howie has learned a lot about herself and the industry at a young age. Howie said,  “When you look at the industry, and you see someone who is your role model, you realized they didn’t get there without a team. My family has been behind me, and I couldn’t have done anything without them. I also have a terrific team at Kore (PR). My producers and co-writers are incredible; people like Erik Halbig, Michael Austin, and Joanna Yaeger.”

Howie has learned about herself as an artist too. The singer/songwriter said, “Music is an outlet for me, but what I have realized is I love to share music and bring people together. Music is a cornerstone of everything we do, and it is a universal language. As an artist, I learned so much from those musicians in California. But, when it comes to sitting and playing a song, I can do that. However, I’ve had to learn how to be a better performer.”

Fun Facts with Payton Howie

If you wonder if Payton Howie is authentic, I can say yes, yes, she is. Howie said, “I drive a Ford F-150.” She interviewed with me over zoom while sitting in her truck. Music was not her only love growing up. The singer/songwriter said, “I played softball my entire life, and I received a scholarship to play softball at a Division II school in Colorado. During my first year playing softball, I was a full-time athlete, student, and musician. So, I had to pick one. I chose music, but I miss softball.”

My Thoughts

In my opinion, Payton Howie has a bright future in the music industry. Her sound can stand the test of time like those country legends who came before. You may see her in Nashville, Texas, California, or traveling around, but see her if she comes to your town. Undiscovered Nashville is excited to see how far Payton Howie will go, but we believe she has the makings of a star.  

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