Payton Smith is proof that working hard, taking risks and finding just a little luck really does pay off. When the Houma, Louisiana, native landed a slot on one of the smaller stages at CMA Fest in 2018, he decided to play as if he were headlining an arena, tearing through original songs all while delivering supercharged guitar solos. Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta happened to be walking by that afternoon and shortly thereafter offered him a record deal on the Big Machine Records imprint. Payton had every reason to celebrate: since he first saw Keith Urban perform on the CMA Awards 14 years ago, he has dreamt of playing his own brand of Country music, one influenced by 90’s Country and Guitar Rock. The 19-year-old is every bit as much a fan of Pearl Jam and John Mayer as he is Clint Black, George Strait – certain that his peers in the Spotify generation have equally varied musical tastes. Honoring the genre’s traditions while moving the sound forward, Payton co-wrote a new collection of four songs which will be released via his debut self-titled EP on October 4, highlighting his gifts as a vocalist, songwriter and nimble self-taught guitarist — he plays every guitar part on each track – just like his favorite slingers across the musical landscape. His gift for melody, coupled with sharp but approachable lyricism and fluid guitar playing, sets up Payton to be the hottest young voice to change Nashville.