Nicholas Payton's musical in talent is, in part, due to his father, Walter Payton, a renowned bassist. Payton Jr., however, always preferred the trumpet, which he first picked up at age 4. At age 11, after hearing a Mile Davis CD, he decided to devote himself to jazz. Cultivating his versatility, Payton played in the street, at funerals and at weddings. Having enrolled at the University of New Orleans, he chose instead to follow the drummer Elvin Jones on tour, and his career launched soon after. In 2008, the trumpeter released Into the Blue, followed three years later by Bitches, an album he composed, produced and on which he played every instrument.