Peytan Porter up for iHeartRadio award amid massive success as singer-songwriter
It seemed not too long ago that Peytan Porter was hitting clutch 3-pointers for the Dawson County basketball team. Truthfully, it technically wasn’t that long ago – as the former Lady Tigers’ guard was part of the ’12-’13 team that made it to the state championship game, and then was instrumental in the Elite 8 run a couple years later as well as a pair of Sweet 16s. Fast forward past her graduation in 2016, Porter now shines on an even bigger stage.
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Porter is a singer-songwriter who has passionately pursued her dreams without hesitation. She can stem her love for music back to her early childhood, but really became passionate about singing publicly in middle school.
“From what I remember I always loved singing, but I didn’t really love singing in front of people until around middle school, which was probably the same time I started seriously trying to write songs too,” says Porter. “I became a huge fan of artists that wrote their own songs, like Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton, and really just a huge fan of songs in general. That’s what I remember most about that time of my life: the disconnect between the music playing on the radio and the music that was resonating with me. I would try to play deep album cuts at Moonshine Festival and my mom would have to remind me that people want to hear music they know and could sing along to. That’s a challenge I still face every day, trying create music that’s commercial but also has something to say.”
Playing those deep cuts and drawing inspiration from other singer-songwriters has helped Porter fine-tune her craft, but there was truly only one avenue of music that would fit her mold.
“I grew up in Dawsonville; if I tried to be anything other than country it probably wouldn’t be very believable,” jokes Porter. The ins and outs of life in a small town are in my blood; it’ll always be a filter I see the world through, even though I don’t live there anymore. I also absolutely love country music as a whole. I love that it’s always been a home for the push and pull of tradition and new ways of thinking. I love that in it’s best form it’s based around authenticity and real life. And I love that country music has a way of reaching people from all walks of life. Between the dirty boots and rhinestones (and now, mullets) there’s something for everyone.”
To Porter, that small-town feel comes through in her music, but it was a major adjustment going from Dawsonville to the bright lights of Nashville.
“It definitely hasn’t been a breeze,” says Porter on making that transition. “My first couple of years were the hardest because I moved here not knowing a soul and had to figure out how to land on my feet, which took a while and wasn’t always pretty. But once I started interning at a publishing company, it became more about learning the town, working on the craft of songwriting, and creating good relationships. My whole family is in Dawsonville so it’s nice to be able to see everyone in one place when I do get to come home, but I’m also thankful for how much they supported me coming up here and stumbling my way into where I’m at now.”
Though she has stumbled, the future is brighter than ever for Porter, who signed her first deal as a joint venture in early 2021 Jody Williams Songs and Warner Chappell Music.
“Being able to do something you love is a gift; getting paid to do something you love is a dream come true,” states Porter. “Signing my first deal meant I could quit the side jobs I was working and focus entirely on creating music, but with great opportunity comes great responsibility — and I don’t take the opportunity to write songs for a living lightly. There were over 4,000 signed songwriters in Nashville in the 90s, and now there are less than 1,000. No one writes songs for the money, and that’s more true now than ever thanks to streaming services. I’m one of the few lucky ones and that’s why I’m so grateful for Jody Williams Songs, Warner Chappell and all of the people here who believe in me.”
Between drawing inspiration on other artists and her own life experiences, and putting those thoughts on paper, Porter also performs in front of big audiences. That’s no walk in the park, as she does have to battle the nerves a little before and even during performances.
“I guess we will find out when we start doing more of it,” answers Porter on if she always gets nervous. “I do think I get the most anxious the day a show gets added to my calendar, because it feels like there’s so much time to overthink it and not enough time to prepare. But once I shake the nerves, get on stage and get a few songs in, I really feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. By the end of a show I usually feel like I’ve just become friends with every person in that room — it’s a weird kind of freedom.”
Thoughts from the heart and mind become words on paper, which transition into incredible music for Porter. That means signing deals, filling up the calendar with new shows and appearances, and inevitably, awards and recognition. To that end, Porter is up for iHeartRadio’s ‘TikTok Songwriter of the Year’, which will be announced on March 22 at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.
“I am totally shocked about the iHeartRadio award nomination,” admits Porter. “It means a lot to me because it’s encouraging to be acknowledged as a songwriter like that. It’s hard to wrap my head around because it’s not just a country category, it’s out of all the songwriters on TikTok and there are some incredibly talented people on that app. I’m also really just excited about getting to be a part of an award show for the first time, I’ve never even been to California so hopefully we’ll get to go to LA and see what it’s like out there.”
The Dawson County faithful, Georgia residents, and country fans in general should place their vote ASAP for Porter.
VOTE for Peytan Porter at iHeartRadio.com/Awards or on Twitter with #PeytanPorter + #TikTokSongwriter + #iHeartAwards. Fans can vote all the way up to March 22.
Win or lose on the award, it won’t dampen Porter’s outlook or spirits. Her outlook and trajectory are sky-high.
“I’m about to release more music which is the top priority at the moment,” exclaims Porter. “I hope to give people songs that make them feel something, and maybe even think a little too. We’re all a lot more alike than we are different, and it’s easy to forget that, especially with the way the world has been over the last few years. So hopefully I can create a welcoming space for people no matter what side of the coin they fall on. But I really want to keep writing songs I’m proud of, releasing music, playing shows, and connecting with people through all of it. Big goals include having my first radio single, winning some awards, and definitely playing at the Grand Ole Opry, but that doesn’t all have to happen this year. I’m rolling with whatever God has planned for me.”
With an attitude and work ethic like Peytan Porter has, she’ll be doing what we’re used to her and her entire family have been doing for a long time — having success and making Dawsonville proud!
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