10 Questions with ... Skylar Grey
July 30, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Released first album, Like Blood Like Honey, in 2006 as Holly Brook
- Wrote "Love The Way You Lie" with Alex da Kid
- Vocalist on Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go and Be Somebody," Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home," Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor," Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said" and Kaskade's "Room For Happiness"
- Partnered with Steve Madden Music
- Debut major label album, Don't Look Down, released 7/9/13
1) Congratulations on the new album. How long was this in the making?
Three years ... but not solidly working on it the whole time.
2) Well, you've done a lot of things during that time. Is there a particular flavor or sound that you were shooting for with this album? Were there songs that you wrote during that time frame that just didn't fit here?
"Final Warning" is the oldest song on the album. I wrote it the same week that I wrote "Love The Way You Lie." Both songs were inspired by the same relationship, and I thought that that was my sound for this album. I felt like, "This is what I've been trying to do. This is my vision." And then I took a departure for awhile, experimenting with some other stuff, but at the end, I kind of came back around to the world of "Final Warning." Some of the songs in the middle got chopped, so there are old and new songs on this album.
3) You started out as a kid in a folk duo with your mom? What was that like?
It was really cool! I learned a lot about being a professional, and being on stage.
4) Then you wound up sneaking in to jazz clubs at the age of 15 to perform...
After I told my mother that I wanted to go solo, I was searching for what that meant. So I went to the "city," Madison, WI, which was 45 minutes from the small town where I grew up. I looked a lot older than I was, so I would just sneak into clubs and make friends with the jazz musicians. I would sit in with them and sing with them. But I quickly realized that the place I needed to be was L.A.
5) How did you wind up meeting Linkin Park's Brad Delsen?
I was actually sitting in a bar playing the piano when he signed me. We put together an album and put it out, but things didn't really work out. I didn't really understand the music industry at that point. I was really young and inexperienced, and I didn't take care of everything the way I should have.
6) How cool was it to start having hits, and hearing your music on the radio?
I always told myself ... I knew I could do that ... I know that I could accomplish that at some point. So it felt good to actually do it. I had been fighting my whole life to pursue music, even though people would say, "That's not a job." Having a hit and being nominated for Grammy's and stuff was very validating.
7) Speaking of the Grammys, you performed there ... and on "Idol," and at Wrestlemania, and on Colbert. What was the coolest?
The Grammys was definitely the coolest. Being up there with Dre and Em ... it doesn't get any cooler than that.
8) Who was your biggest musical influence? Who did you hear when you were a kid who made you think, "Yeah, I wanna do that?"
I loved Joni Mitchell when I was young, because that's what my mom listened to. Then when my sister started getting into music, it was '90s grunge music, and that's really what influenced me a lot.
9) How would you describe your music to somebody who's never heard it?
Lyrical, melodic and emotional.
10) What would we be surprised to hear on your iPod?