One of the greatest facets about gospel music is the fact that what defines this music is its message, not its style. This genre diverges greatly in its musical type, yet it always revolves around its life-changing message — the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Peyton Sisters, Riley and Rachael, a duet from southern Illinois, have completely adopted this focus on the gospel message and love of Jesus. Riley Peyton, the oldest sister, says how gospel music’s wide range of style is a great blessing in their ministry — “We are very diverse in music, and I think that opens up new opportunities to share the love and the gospel of Christ and potentially reach more people!”
Having started out singing in nursing homes at the age of five and six, Riley and Rachael, now 17 and 16, have already had quite the experience in the music industry. Riley explains the beginning of their ministry in nursing homes — “My mom would host a women’s devotional there, and she would play the piano and we would sing hymns for the women. Shortly after that, the activity director asked us if we would like to sing at their annual Mother-Daughter Banquet. After that night, we started getting asked to sing at local churches and fairs, and it sort of snowballed from there.”
Along with experience, these girls also have the unique opportunity to influence the world for Christ in a way that many girls their age do not have. “I think we could all be great impacts on the world if we TRULY love others like Jesus did and not judge other people for their mistakes. Be bold in our faith and share the hope of Jesus with others,” Riley says. The Peyton Sisters demonstrate that having that boldness to share is the key. Being in the gospel music industry is about perfecting a performance, but because it offers a platform, it is also important to focus on making a ministry. Even though these girls have had an incredible breakthrough, they retain a humble mindset. Riley explains, “My life is very different from others my age in some areas, and it isn’t in others…I still feel very connected to my friends, and I don’t feel very different…I just sing where they may be doing sports or dance or something like that.
With their incredible vocals and enthusiasm to minister, they cannot help but deliver a powerful message in song. The two make a phenomenal team. Not only do the two sisters sing harmony, but they live in harmony. Riley says, “My favorite thing about having a sister is having my best friend with me 24/7. It’s amazing. We’re so close and have the most fun when we’re together. I wouldn’t trade her for the world!”
Stacy Compagner: What are some musical groups that you look up to?
Riley Peyton: Some of my favorite musical groups on the southern side are The Martins, Jason Crabb, The Gaither Vocal Band, and The Isaacs. On the contemporary Christian music side, Hollyn, For King and Country, We are Messengers, and Elevation Worship, and there are so many more different genres and groups that would take too long to list!
SC: Looking back at your own life, what is one piece of advice you would give to the “next generation”?
RP: To the next generation, I would say to never give up. It’s so easy to start losing hope and faith and to want to throw in the towel, but you have to trust that God’s in control, and He’s not gonna bring you this far to drop you.. it’s gonna be fine!
SC: Tell us about a major highlight from your musical career.
RP: One of my favorite shows I’ve ever played was actually recently. It was the Salt and Light Festival in New York. It was so spiritually renewing, and I felt like I had been refreshed in my faith. So many beautiful stories were shared from different people about how God had transformed their lives.. from sadness and loss, to joy and hope for the future. It was amazing!
SC: How would your family describe you in three words?
RP: The three words my mom and dad would use to describe me would be fun, energetic and a big heart! My sister said loving and forgiving.
SC: What are your pursuits outside of music?
RP: I could never imagine doing anything else outside of music. I love it so much! I also enjoy hair and makeup, and I do that for weddings and events sometimes.
SC: Tell us something unique about you not many people know.
RP: Something unique about me would be that I love to journal and write, and I have a slight obsession with rings!
SC: What is playing in your CD player right now?
RP: I don’t own a CD player, but the last albums I played were Hollyn’s new and old album.
SC: Do you have any exciting developments in the near future for your music ministry?
RP: We have A TON of new developments and exciting things coming soon that I can’t share just yet, but fun, amazing things are ahead!
SC: What is one of the greatest things about getting to do what you do? What is one of the most difficult?
RP: My favorite thing about singing is getting to travel and see the world and meeting so many talented artists and new people and hearing their stories. The most difficult I would say is being away from my very close family and friends when I am on the road, but it makes all the better reunions when we get home .
SC: Favorite Restaurant?
RP: My favorite food is pasta, so any restaurant with that would be my favorite!
SC: Favorite Book?
RP: My favorite book was given to me by a good friend of mine, Mark Capps, and it’s Andy Andrews’ The Noticer.
SC: Favorite TV Show?
RP: My favorite show would be Dateline or America’s Got Talent!
To find out more about The Peyton Sisters, check out their website: http://www.thepeytonsisters.com/