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Dawsonville native pens debut country music project
Peytan Porter
DCHS graduate and country musician Peytan Porter is releasing her first EP “In My Head” on June 24. Photo courtesy of Libby Danforth.

Dawson County High School alumna and country music artist Peytan Porter has stayed busy in 2022.

The 24-year-old Dawsonville native will play at the Country Music Association’s CMA Fest in Nashville this weekend, and she will release her debut EP “In My Head” June 24 via major digital music retailers. 

Peytan Porter 2
Photo submitted to DCN.

Porter was born and raised in Dawsonville as the second of three sisters. A 2019 DCN article detailed how, as a child, she developed a passion for writing and performing music. 

After graduating from DCHS in 2016, Porter moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Lipscomb University and study communications and music.  She interned at a music publisher before graduating early from college in 2020. Then last year, she signed a joint-venture deal with Jody Williams Songs and Warner Chappell Music.

Over the past year or so, Porter has built a steady following on social media, made up of hundreds of thousands of followers and subscribers between Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. 

“In My Head” features the seven songs “Why We Broke Up,” “Champagne Problems,” “First Stone,” “You Go Girl,” “Therapy,” “Someone’s Love Song” and the title track.   

Porter said her songs cover the gamut in terms of emotions. The words are all drawn from authentic personal experiences, from relationship troubles to hoping for the right person or dreaming of more prosperous circumstances. 

She explained that she took a bit of that mountain town-type sound with her to Nashville for when she wrote the songs. 

“It’s not the southern Georgia, red dirt [type of style]. It’s breezy and airy…that’s where the ethereal part comes from,” she said. “Coming from a northern Georgia mountain town, that's definitely something I wanted to capture.”

She called “Someone’s Love Song” her most challenging to write.

“It was a little more vulnerable than the others…and I’m not great at being vulnerable, but I’m good at being open,” said Porter, “so I wrote it with two people who pulled it (the inspiration) out of me.” 

Like many other songwriters, Porter described the difficulty of narrowing down thousands of songs she’d written since 2013 down to the seven final candidates that ended up on the EP. 

She’s happy with how the project culminated, though. Based on the responses she’s gotten so far, her listeners seem to feel the same way, such as with her first single, “Therapy.”

“People have started sharing stories relating it to stories about drugs or alcohol abuse or problems with parents…things that are a lot bigger than just my break up,” Porter said. 

Such is the subjective nature of music, she added, commenting that it’s hard to predict which songs will captivate people. 

The EP’s song, “First Stone,” takes more of a worldview lens than a personal focus with the emphasis on treating others kindly, she said. 

“One of my former basketball coaches, Steve Sweat, called me, and told me that all of his grandkids knew all the words to it,” she said of the tune. “It’s cool to see a bigger message clicking with the younger kids.” 

In that respect, being nominated for the “TikTok Songwriter of the Year” award at the “I Heart Radio Music Awards” caught her by surprise, but it was a welcome surprise. 

Likewise, Porter’s one-weekend tour with Willie Nelson this April was only her second time playing with a full band. 

“Because performing and releasing music is all I've ever wanted to do, I felt prepared to take it on and not fall flat on my face. I was not as scared as I should have been,” she said, laughing. “I still have a lot to learn, and I’m excited and eager to learn.”

Porter thanked all the people that have supported her during her creative journey, from her family and other loved ones back home to a wealth of support in the Nashville area, too. 

She’s glad for the things that have worked out and the others that haven’t. Those checks and balances help keep her humble, she said. 

“I think it's important to celebrate the little wins, because [in general], you’re not guaranteed bigger ones,” Porter added. “So I’m enjoying where I’m at right now and seeing where I may go…It’s like I’m living my dream right now, so it's kind of crazy.”

Porter will perform at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on Friday, June 10 starting at 7 p.m. as part of the Country Music Association’s annual CMA Fest, a four-day country music festival held in the Tennessee city. 

Also as part of the festival, she’ll play on the Spotify Fresh Finds Rooftop stage on June 11 at 6 p.m. 

For more touring and music details, people can check out peytanportermusic.com