Exclusive: Meet Masked Country Star Orville Peck

Exclusive: Meet Masked Country Star Orville Peck

Watch the enigmatic crooner's debut video, “Big Sky.”

Watch the enigmatic crooner's debut video, “Big Sky.”

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

By the time you hear Orville Peck’s crystal-clear, reverberating vocals on his debut single “Big Sky,” you’ve probably noticed the mask; the country singer, who was just signed to Sub Pop records, is never seen without his distinctive headgear—a leather-and-fringe eye-mask that entirely obscures his features, topped with a 10-gallon cowboy hat.

If the extensive canon of masked figures, from the Phantom of the Opera to Sia, has taught us anything, it’s that nothing generates a storyline quite like a disguise. And despite his often personal lyrics, Peck is decidedly tight-lipped about his own backstory: “When I hear a good story, I don’t want to delve too deeply into the person telling it because I feel like it almost ruins it. I think people like a certain level of mystery,” the cowboy says of his trusty uniform.

Based out of Toronto now, Peck says he’s lived in eight countries, and that tumbleweed-like quality is reflected in his lyrics; “Big Sky” is a vivid, moonshine-dosed account of Peck's unconventional relationships, including ones with abusive boxers and jailors in the Florida Keys. And while Peck’s phantasmagoric persona may seem somewhat at odds with country music’s tradition of unvarnished, confessional lyrics, Peck, who first began working with masks as a child, says his style is only in service of authenticity. “People think a mask is something that hides the truth and hides emotion and puts a barrier between you and something else,” he says. “I think the funny thing about a mask is that it actually is way more telling of emotion, and [saying] what is not being said.”

Watch the video for "Big Sky," directed by Deni Cheng, below.

Credits: Main image: Carlos Santolalla

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