If at first you flub an Eminem song, UM grad student says try again

Peyton performing

Peyton performing for local citizens in Oxford. Photo By Madison Stewart

Madison Stewart
Oxford Stories

Raised in St. Louis, Peyton Dixon never imaged his music hobby would become a source of income. From making music videos with friends to performing on stage at multiple events, his love for music started at age 14.

The Oxford native who was later raised in Missouri loved art and seeing people express themselves. His fascination with art turned into music, with help from his competitive older brother.

“When I was younger, my brother was always better than me at the video game Guitar Hero,” said Dixon. “Since (he) and I both have a competitive nature, I decided I would be better than him at real guitar.”

Now at age 24, Dixon has learned how to play multiple songs and created original songs. “I have probably written over 150 songs, but there are only 10 I have released,” he said.

Songwriting became a big part of his life as expression. Inspiration behind most songs came from life struggles he has faced, loves he’d experienced, and family memories.

He describes his writing process as “all over the place,” from “quickly sitting down with my guitar or on the piano. “I try to come up with a central theme, something catchy, and then add my own backstory to it,” he said.

Some favorite songs he’s written didn’t take much effort; the lyrics just came to him. Dixon enjoys singing Ed Sheeran songs and playing the guitar, bass and piano.

“I can’t choose one,” he said. “I love singing, but I also love writing songs. Being on stage is such an experience, whether it’s with my friends in a band or solo. There is not any genre I enjoy singing more. I like all of them. I like playing with the band sometimes, but solo is good too.”



Peyton’s songwriting process. Photo By Madison Stewart

Walter Lyle, a band member and college friend, said Dixon loves videography and photography. “So if I ever want to create a music video for my song, Walter is there to do it for me. That’s when I talk about my hobby getting out of hand,” he said laughing. “I never imaged making music videos for some of my songs.”

Lyle said sharing a love for music with his friend is fun. “I will suggest we create a music video for a song, and next thing I know, we are running around Oxford shooting a music video,” Lyle said. “It is another form of art, where you can express yourself through your own eyes. It is cool taking Peyton’s song lyrics and making it into basically a mini-movie.”

Dixon and Lyle met as freshmen in college and have been friends since. From being in a band together and creating music, to going out with friends, the two have captured some of their best memories.

“I am fortunate to have friends who have supported me and stuck with me during this journey,” said Dixon.

After both Dixon and Lyle graduated, the two remained in Oxford, but ended their band together.

“It was not because we got tired of the band,” Lyle said. “It became a situation where Peyton was focused on graduate school, and I was focused on heavy metal.”

Dixon said he enjoys singing and writing songs for all genres, while Lyle was primarily focused on heavy metal.

“It is so funny, because when people see this hipster looking dude, they would never guess a heavy metal voice comes out of him, but he loves the genre,” said Dixon, laughing. “So, when we ended the band, Walter focused on creating a new band of heavy metal.”

Lyle’s new band is called ‘home/grown’, and a music video will be released soon featuring Peyton as the bass player.

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Peyton showing off himself in the newspaper. Photo By Madison Stewart.

Dixon has performed at many places with the band and by himself. He performs with his band at Rooster’s on multiple Tuesday nights, and they performed at Bro Fest, a two-day festival in Tupelo. As a solo artist, Dixon performed at Rooster’s, ‘Cups’ coffee shop, sorority events at the Ford Center, and his favorite performance, on the Grove stage.

“A big moment for me was playing on the stage in the Grove,” Dixon said. “I’ve grown up around Ole Miss my whole life, making it a dream come true.”

A struggle Dixon overcame as a singer was messing up during a performance on stage. He recalled performing the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem with the band at Rooster’s

“I started off strong, then all of the sudden lost my beat,” he said. “Out in the crowd was a girl who started yelling “Boo,” and I stood there in embarrassment. I wanted to get off the stage and leave.

“The band continues to play a beat, waiting for me to do something. I decided to take a deep breath and start over from the beginning. As I began to rap again, I ended up murdering the song. It felt so good to look straight at the girl and show her what I had.”

Dixon said he took a weak moment and made it into a strength. He said no matter the mess up, he could not let it stop him from doing what he loved.

The four years Dixon studied at Ole Miss, weekdays involved school, with music and friends on the weekends.

“Between school, music, and friends, it became busy for me at Ole Miss,” he said. “… It helped to have friends who were interested in the same hobby. My friends and I would sit around list out musical ideas, and do homework.”

Since graduating from college in May of 2017, Dixon said music has come to a slower point.

“Once the band split up, and I started graduate school, I have not had much time to focus on music,” he said.

Working on a master’s degree in nutrition, his future goal is to work as a registered dietitian for his favorite soccer team, The Seattle Sounders. He plans on taking his love and hobby for music with him to Seattle.

“I probably won’t do anything like music videos, but I most definitely plan on continuing my love for music,” said Dixon.

From 14 to 24, Dixon has had ups and downs with music. Every day, he reminds himself not to look at how far he has to go, but how far he has come.

His advice to future artists is: “Anything you’re doing – whether it is going on stage, writing music, being in a band – if you’ve put in practice and feel good, it won’t matter how the outcome is. It is all about the learning experience and having fun with it.”

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