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Only 18, Kate Peytavin Shines

Kate Peytavin
Photo by: Emily Rae Rose

Hours before her new single “whole heart black” was released to the public, singer-songwriter Kate Peytavin debuted it to a much smaller audience.

Peytavin explained the meaning behind her new single in a press conference hosted by Universal Music Group conglomerate 1824 on Thursday, February 1. 

“‘Whole heart black” is just a piece in the big puzzle,” she said. “It's about wanting something that you shouldn't have, but you do it anyway because it feels good in the moment.”

Kate Peytavin
Photo by: Emily Rae Rose

Only 18, Peytavin is making a name for herself in alternative pop music. Working with big name producers and songwriters, such as Rami Yacoub (Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Charli XCX) and Casey Smith (Olivia Rodrigo, The Jonas Brothers), she has amassed over 94,000 monthly listeners and over three million streams on the audio streaming service Spotify

Despite being signed to a major record label, Capitol Records, which boasts artists like Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Abba and Maggie Rogers, Peytavin did not always know she wanted to pursue music. 

Born in New Orleans, Peytavin said her family was not musically inclined. She began writing songs over Zoom before flying to Los Angeles in 2021 to work on her music with Smith, music executive Peter Shelley and producer Sammy Witte. 

Peytavin said she began to cry on the plane ride home because she did not know when she would be back. “I just realized how much I was going to miss it.” She said, “this is what I want to do. I want to pursue this.”

Peytavin first drew followers through the social media app TikTok, where she delighted her one million fans with comedy sketches and videos of her singing. 

Influenced by late 1990s and early 2000s pop music like Paramore and Avril Lavigne, Peytavin released her first single, “ever fallen?” in February 2022. The song tells the story of a failed relationship, after falling in love with the wrong person. She released her third single, “big white light,” in July of 2023. The emotional lyrics document her father’s longtime struggle with cancer. 

Peytavin said listening to her songs brings her back to the space she was in while writing them. “Whenever I listen to it, it’s like a time capsule almost,” she said.  

Kate Peytavin
Photo by: Emily Rae Rose

Although Peytavin has yet to perform live, she performed virtually on the interactive live-streaming service Twitch with 3point5, Universal Music Group’s official Twitch channel. She explained her pre-show ritual, including throat coat, a tea that soothes throat inflammation, and vocal warmups in the car. Peytavin said she hopes to perform live soon.  

“I love watching people live and it's another great way of storytelling,” Peytavin said, “I just dream about the day that I get to pick the set design and the lighting and the band members and everything. I'm so, so excited for that.”

Peytavin offered some words of advice to aspiring artists. 

“You have to spend time writing before you kind of understand who you are and who you want to write about. Don't rush it,” she said. “You don't want to put something out that you're not absolutely in love with.”

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