Spartanburg’s Sorry, Peach is both a great band and, essentially, a homework assignment. Tyerra Clayborne, the band’s singer and main songwriter, majored in a new degree program called contemporary music and media at Converse College, and one of the requirements was to form a band.
“If you do this major, you have to form a band,” she says. “That’s specifically why we started, and then we decided to take it a step further because we really liked what we’ve got here.”
“We” is Clayborne, singer-guitarist Sara Grace Young, bassist Kira Saini, guitarist Daylee Pruitt, drummer D’Irene Mason and singer-keyboard player Grace Coates. And they had good reason to keep the band going.
The sextet’s self-recorded, self-produced 2019 debut album, “Don’t Ask If I’m Okay,” is bursting with inspiration and ideas, moving from ethereal, atmospheric electronic pop (“Here & Now”) to vocal-harmony drenched indie-rock (“Such An Aries”), to elegant, folk-fueled pop (“Shipwrecked”).
In addition, from art and production to performance and videos, the band’s members do it all themselves, because, well, Clayborne can’t imagine doing it another way.
“It’s actually because of the kind of crazy person I am,” she says. “I’m a control freak, and at the end of the day I felt I’m the best person to try to figure out what I’m trying to do. We definitely like what we do and being involved in every part of the process.”
The debut album is a kaleidoscopic, confident collection of songs, which is somewhat surprising given that no one in the band is playing the instruments they normally do.
“All of us are classically trained on instruments that we play other than in this band,” Clayborne says with a laugh. “We’re all just trying to figure it out.”
In fact, that’s one of the reasons the band often turns to electronics for its songs, because that allows Sorry, Peach to do things that its members sometimes can’t on their chosen instruments.
“The electronic stuff gives us more room to be more creative,” Clayborne says. “I like that the possibilities are really endless.”
Which brings us to the band’s just-released new single, “Bully.” Rather than building on the often-lush arrangements that Clayborne used on “Don’t Ask If I’m Okay,” the band went in the opposite direction for “Bully,” paring things down to a pulsing bass line, subtle percussion, a light coating of keyboards and some truly spine-tingling vocal harmonies.
“All of us are classically trained on instruments that we play other than in this band”
And Clayborne, not one to mince words, says she stripped the new song down to those basic elements for a couple of reasons.
“My bass player was upset that she had really lame bass lines,” Clayborne says, “so I was just trying to write a song with a cool bass line. That’s how it started. And I tried to keep it pretty minimal, especially compared to some of the stuff that’s on ‘Don’t Ask If I’m Okay,” because I’ve been told that I overproduce.”
“Every song that I write is autobiographical because it’s hard for me to write about something that I have not experienced”
Sometimes it’s good to have limitations, though, and the song is an understated knockout, especially in the lyric department. Like many great songs, “Bully” is about the end of a relationship. But rather than blaming her ex, Clayborne turns inward.
“So I’m the monster,” she sings with a muted resignation. “Go run and hide/ A party wrecker/ You should have stayed inside.”
“Every song that I write is autobiographical because it’s hard for me to write about something that I have not experienced,” she says. “‘Bully’ came from this relationship that ended, and I’d blamed the other person for a really long time. Then I started to realize, ‘Maybe I was the bad person in this situation and didn’t figure it out till this moment.’”
- Outside of Sorry, Peach, Tyerra Clayborne plays the oboe.
- The band was nominated in several Upstate Music Awards categories for its album, “Don’t Ask If I’m Okay.”
- Sorry, Peach has four singers.