Growing up in the deep south of America, soul singer Peyton had never heard of an island called Ibiza. He didn’t listen to house music – he was surrounded by gospel. However in 2003, while working on a self-penned track called ‘A Higher Place’, his producer suggested they try creating it in a soulful house style and submit it to the popular label Hed Kandi.
“I had certainly never heard of Ibiza,” reflects Peyton. “But I thought, ok and then weeks later it was signed to Hed Kandi and went to number one in the dance charts all over the world!” At the time, Hed Kandi held a popular residency at El Divino (now Lio), and Peyton was flown out to Ibiza to perform his track, which had become a summer anthem.
That was how his Ibiza story began, touring regularly with the house music brand until he met his future husband Boris, while living in London. Boris happened to live in Ibiza and as their relationship grew, it was clear one of them would have to move. For Peyton, a sea change to Ibiza was an obvious choice.
“It made sense with my work in the summer, and in winter I use the island as a base while I travel,” he says. Now happily married, the couple live in the island’s south, in Es Codolar, where daily life involves plenty of time spent outdoors, working on his new pop album (described as a cross between Adele and Sam Smith) and planning daytime parties for like-minded lovers of house music. That’s in between touring the world!
You spend a lot of time travelling – how do you feel when you’re on the plane, flying back into Ibiza?
I’m always looking out for Es Vedra! You never know which flights will pass it, so I’m always hoping I’m sitting on the right side and then once in a while you get that moment – ahhh, there she is! Home…
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive on the island? I live just five minutes from the airport, so I always come straight home and our cat, Puss, runs to the gate like a dog to greet us. The first thing I do is pick her up and rub my face in hers and tell her how much I miss her!
What is your favourite part of the island?
The west. There are so many gorgeous little coves and the sunset is just amazing. You can’t define the entire west by San Antonio – I’ve spent a lot of time over that way and still find new places. Just recently I discovered Cala Moli, where I saw the most stunning, deep red sunset I have ever seen and there were hardly any people on the beach.
Ultimate Ibiza track?
My impression of Ibiza was formulate in those early days with Hed Kandi, so it has got to be Fade [Solu Music featuring KimBlee]. It was such a big anthem for them. And A Higher Place, of course, because I was singing it every time I came over here!
What is your best Ibiza memory?
My wedding! We had 250 people from 57 countries come together for what we called the ‘Festival of Love’. It went for three days starting with a barbeque at Boutique Hostal Salinas, then the ceremony and performances at Can Xuxu, followed by a big paella party at Es Vive. We just had an amazing list of ingredients: my parents, who are just extraordinary people, like beacons of light. My father is a Pentecostal Holiness preacher, which is an evangelical denomination, so to have him at a gay wedding in Ibiza giving a speech about love, and my mother performing the service. And we had our own incredible love story, we had Ibiza, and we had all the amazing friends and my incredible musical family from all over the world… It was a mind-blowing, supernatural experience.
Download Peyton: Ibiza House Sessions here or order the CD online.
You have 24 hours on the island – tell us your favourite places to…
El Rincon de Es Codolar. It’s a small supermarket and café near my house and I think we eat breakfast there more often than we do at home! They do fresh smoothies and juices and so much great food – I could live off their empanadas. That place has saved our lives in the summer!
GO FOR LUNCH
I love the ‘fish shack’ in Talamanca. I like to go to unpretentious places. Of course I like to go to beautiful places, but I don’t like it when it’s overpriced or feels like a tourist trap. The fish shack is a little ramshackle place, it’s always the same guy serving and smiling, he’ll always remember me. I’ll always eat the fish he recommends that day – they have other things on the menu, but hey, if you’re going to the fish shack, you may as well eat fish! I also love La Paloma in the north. The salads and smoothies… it’s such a gorgeous atmosphere.
Es Raco, which is just a little way down the road from my house in Es Codolar. When we don’t feel like cooking we’ll call ahead and pick up pizzas from there, but it’s also lovely to eat in there. The meat is absolutely delicious and I love supporting the local businesses. Then if we want to treat ourselves, or someone else, Sa Caleta for paella is really special.
In the winter months, Yemanja is so stunning and a great place to go just for a glass of wine. Then in the summer, Playa d’en Bossa and places like Nassau Beach Club or Coco Beach.
I work a lot at the weekends, but in the summer I make sure I go to Glitterbox a few times, it’s the club night that has more of my kind of music. We’ll always go to at least one La Troya and Matinee every summer too.
I love Es Codolar because even in the summer, it’s empty! I don’t hang out on the beach so much, but I do like to go to places like the lookout at Es Vedra, Atlantis – which is not that big of a deal to get to – and Punta Galera.
There’s a little place, about a 25-minute walk from home, up past Sa Caleta and onto the cliffs, where you find little stairs that take you down to where the boat shacks are. In the lead up to our wedding, we’d get up at 6am – because it was just too hot later in the day – and walk there and talk about the things we were grateful for, pick fresh figs on the way, have a morning swim then eat the figs for breakfast… it changes your frequency and helps you really connect with why you’re here.
I hike a lot, so I like like finding places I’ve never been before or going anywhere that’s not populated and just get out and walk in nature. That’s how I disconnect. It’s like meditation in a way, when all you have is the sound of the sea… it grounds you.
I’ve been doing yoga for a long time – I was a Bikram convert in London, but it’s too hot to practice that here! I usually practice at my gym, or with Larah Davis of Ibiza Retreats. She’s an amazing teacher.
For the last two and a half years I was resident at Blue Marlin and had some amazing gigs there. What I love more than anything is a daytime party, which is why I am creating my own party, Sol Sundays. The kind of music I do is meant for the sea and the sand. Last year we did this at Chiringay on Es Cavallet. It’s got that combination of everything I love and is totally unpretentious. It’s off the beaten track – you’ve got to make an effort to find it, so you know the people who are there really want to be there to see you!