“The X Factor UK” Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series continues in advance of the impending season 14 premiere on AXS TV. This week’s riveting installment recalls Virginia native Christopher Peyton’s stunning, soul-stirring 2016 Room Audition rendition of Ben Harper’s song “I’ll Rise.” He wowed all four of the judges with his rich, soulful performance. In that triumphant moment, viewers on both sides of The Pond began rooting for him.
Peyton adopted his surname as his stage name and has lived in the UK for more than 20 years. He built a successful career as an internationally-renowned dance music artist, performing on stages around the world in places like the UK, Australia, South America, and Russia. Auditioning for “The X Factor UK” was a turning point for the charismatic singer-songwriter, who boasts a strong gospel background.
In an AXS exclusive interview, Peyton explained he’s been using music as a type of ministry to touch lives (though not in a religious way). Now, he wants to do more and touch more people with his gift. As an openly gay artist who grew up in a long line of preachers, music was an outlet for Peyton when he was coming to terms with his sexuality. Today, he’s a strong LGBT advocate and the uplifting, spiritual element in his dance music has set him apart in the genre and attracted a huge, global fan following.
Performing “I’ll Rise” for “The X Factor” judges showcased Peyton’s mind-bending vocal skills and his brilliant, raw artistry. The courageous, inspirational song lyrics pay homage to Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” A deep, inner ache rises from somewhere deep within Peyton as he bares his soul in the audition. Simon Cowell notably compared him to Seal and his would-be mentor Sharon Osbourne said, “I am stunned by your voice in such a good way.”
Peyton went all the way through to Judges Houses round at Sharon Osbourne’s house before his controversial elimination from the show. Fans needn’t worry, though. His “X Factor” journey served as a creative catalyst for his impending album Sinners Got Soul Too. The album marks an artistic departure from the dance world, and serves up a musically bold mix of songs that are meant to uplift and inspire. Stay tuned to AXS for more information about the project as it unfolds.
Watch Peyton’s amazing “X Factor UK” “I’ll Rise” audition in the attached video and stay tuned to AXS for more “X Factor UK” #TBT moments and ongoing series coverage.