Written by: Kristina Martin
Photography by: @squeeksontour
What caught my eye most about Skylo was her vast involvement in the industry. She is an artist, she produces music, and is developing her own radio station. When she responded and was interested in being on Female Music Nation, I knew right away she would make a perfect first feature!
I spent the entire afternoon before the shoot worrying about how this would go. This was my first shoot where I was in control of the creative process. When she called me to let me know she grabbed all the props we needed, my nerves started to disappear and I couldn’t wait to start the shoot. The best part was she seemed just as excited as I was for this. When Skylo stepped out of her car her bubbly personality was a breath of fresh air. We walked to the trunk of her car and to my surprise, she had spent the entire day shopping for the perfect outfits, not only that but her props were exactly what I was looking for!
I learned right away where Skylo’s passion for music came from. She says as a kid she remembers there was always music playing in their house. Skylo had awesome friends who would get together and practice, learning Pop, Hip Hop and RnB songs to perform them around the neighborhood for friends. Skylo says
“I think that passion is just something you’re born with, I don’t think you can create that in someone. You either have it, or you don’t. For as long as I can remember, I would spend hours upon hours in my bedroom practicing Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston songs, teaching myself to sing and trying to hit every note I could. No one pressured me to do that, I just did it naturally because it’s what I loved.”
You can tell through all of her involvement in the industry that music really is her passion and its part of what makes her exactly who she is.
I decided early on that with all the artist featured on Female Music Nation, I would have them replicate a photo of one of their biggest musical influences. Adding their own style and modernizing it as much as they want. One of Skylo’s musical influences is Madonna. She loves her ability to constantly change creatively and shift her sound and style around which reminds her of herself, especially in her strong rebel attitude.
At one point while getting ready for this first shot she took out a pair of lace bunny ears, I was a little confused until she said, “well she has a lace glove on her hands and this is all I could find”. She found brass knuckles, large chains and even an eye patch last minute that we colored with a sharpie to make sure it was all black, her hair was curled in the exact direction and the poof in her hair put the whole look together. Once Skylo sat on the chair to get this shot it just flowed perfectly. I would look at the photo of Madonna and then Skylo and it was like I was reliving the photoshoot with Madonna with our own modern-day spin. After about 10 minutes of different facial expressions and moving of the light we landed the perfect shot. What are your thoughts? Did she nail it?
I also wanted to know who Skylo’s music production influence was. As soon as I asked, she raved about Rudimental, an amazing band out of the UK.
“Their production astonishes me. I just love how they use live instrumentation in dance music. They add some brass, and always have big ridiculously great vocalists. They even throw in some huge church choir harmonies at times. The stuff they did with John Newman, Alex Clare, Emeli Sandé, and Anne Marie hooked me from day one.”
There was something in Skylo’s voice and the way that she talked about this band that there was no doubt that this group inspires her music and her production. Right after hearing about them, I was excited to do my own research and listen to their music.
Before continuing to read let me share something that Skylo wants fans and music lovers to know about her. “I am much cooler in person than I am online”. Skylo wants people to get to know her on a deeper level. As much as we can talk about all Skylo’s music, her interests and motivations, not everything can be shared online or social media. Take the time to connect, go to a show or watch her behind the scenes YouTube Vlog.
After the Madonna shot, we started opening all the bags Skylo brought in from her shopping trip. The sparkle one-piece outfit, the red ripped pants, the chill t-shirt, and the shoes… all the shoes! From red and black boots, to sparkly heels and tan booties- the outfit options were endless. Skylo’s fashion was glamorous, it was different than the typical cowboy boots and sundresses I was used to at most photo shoots. Then the jewelry- the earrings, the necklaces, and rings- she couldn’t leave the mirror without having some sort of bling on.
While getting ready for the next shot, I had the opportunity to talk a little more with Skylo about her first single “Paradise”.
“Paradise came from me going through a horrible breakup, and finally being ready to start over in a new space of freedom and true, divine love”.
Skylo had been traveling a lot in the Caribbean at the time and dreamed of someone who would come along on her journey through Paradise with her.
“You know how you go on vacation and there’s no stress, you set your own pace and just enjoy all the things you love?! That’s what I was dreaming of in a relationship and having a life partner to share that with. I feel like when you have that kind of love, and you get in their presence, all the troubles of the world just melt away and that’s something so special”. Could Skylo be anymore correct? This song brings a picture to what it is like to be in a love paradise. Right now, Skylo is working on releasing several other versions of this song. Paradise recently hit international radio market, where it sat at #1 on the charts for 4 weeks and remains in the top 10 for the past 10 weeks and counting. “I’m amazed!!!I never expected that, but it’s been an honor to have everyone love what I’m doing”.
Along with other versions of Paradise, Skylo is working on a few remarkable things in 2019. She is in the final stages of production for her first music video and release of her new song “We Go Hard”. Her team is working on festival preparation for 2019 and her hope is to hit a few great festivals and spend some time sharing music at great outdoor venues. “I’m stoked to finally get back out there and experience meeting the fans a little closer up”. Her goals for 2019 are to get out of the studio and from behind the scenes a bit more, begin touring and focus more on performing and singing in the artist world.
Skylo does produce some of her own music and she really plans to focus on producing more of her own projects in the future. She loves producing bands and that’s something she is working on a lot more now that she is in Nashville. “There’s so many phenomenal bands, musicians, singers and songwriters here, and it’s exciting to help bring all these cool projects to life. I love combining our visions and creating magical pieces. It’s quite fascinating when you get a lot of talent in one room and we all just get to do what we love and pour our hearts out. I’ve been blessed with some incredible and legendary Artists to work with, and it’s truly an honor to be a part of their journey and them be a part of mine”.
There was one last thing that I wanted to learn about Skylo’s career. Something that caught my eye when I first reached out to her. It was about her new endeavor MicCheck.TV. MicCheck.TV is about the dedication and drive of the greatest musical artist, producers and engineers in the world. It is about the struggles and victories they all go through and shining the spot light on those involved. She hopes that with this project she can show people how hard the music industry really is, and that they shouldn’t just expect all of their music for free. She wants to bring back the value in music by revealing the blood, sweat, and tears that it makes to bring it all to life. She explains
“Everything great takes time, dedication and sacrifice. A lot goes on behind the scenes that the general public never sees, therefore, I feel they’ve lost the appreciation and value for music as a whole, and let’s be honest, who could imagine life without great music to get us through? We all need it and we should show our appreciation for it by supporting the ones who work unbelievably hard for it”.
When you take a second to think music really is a trivial part of life. It can bring you back to certain memories and feelings, it has a way of being able to heal the hard times and enjoy the good. We often forget to give thanks to the men and women who struggle putting these feelings into song and this outlet will be a perfect way to keep us reminded of that. At this point, Skylo has filmed a few episodes with some truly legendary people including The Wailers, Morgan Heritage Band, and Amy Grant, “I can’t wait to begin sharing it. I hit a few bumps in the road in 2018 which slowed me down for a minute, but I always bounce back stronger”. Be on the look out for these episodes. You can follow MicCheck.TV on Facebook and Instagram.
Skylo told me some of the obstacles she faces being a woman in music. She says that one of her biggest obstacles is she has men who claim to want to work with her and end up trying to date her. She says that it just makes things awkward and has learned to set boundaries. Once she says no, they either fall off and become distant or they show their professionalism and they get back to work, and make beautiful things happen. Skylo says
“Let me say, I’ve worked with some amazingly talented gentlemen, who are upmost professional and would never cross that boundary, and those are the people I continue to work with today. They make my life easier and I love them for it. They respect me and my music”.
She jokes though and says “I guess I should look at the bright side, at least they don’t hate me, right?! Lol”. Being in the Pop, R&B, Dance music genre comes with obstacles as well she says. People automatically assume she is a country artist because of her southern accent. She explains its that men are the gate keepers to everything in music right now, from radio to studio work, its all men.
“I believe, we’re here to raise each other up to new levels, empower each other and pay forward the opportunities we’ve been blessed with. I believe when you bless others, you too will be blessed. Matter of fact, I’ve found personally, there’s no greater feeling or reward seeing someone be blessed because of your kindness. Men or women, we’re the perfect team when we put our talents and resources together and we can make something remarkable happen, something so big that, it not only pours into our lives but also overflows into the lives of those around us. That’s cool in any genre and in life in general”.
With the tremendous passion for music, her 2019 goals and Skylo’s bubbly personality, I knew she would have the perfect advice for someone just starting out. Skylo preaches
“Learn your craft and build (invest in yourself) before just jumping out there. Before you do anything, ask yourself, if you made zero dollars would you still do this the rest of your life? You must put purpose over everything. Is this your purpose in life? Would you risk giving up your normal daily luxuries for a while and use that cash flow to invest in yourself for a future you say you want in this industry? If you’re not cool with the reality of any of those things, you should probably just go ahead and find another career because without that sort of passion, you won’t be able to stick it out in the tough times. Great songs often come from great struggle. The more you allow yourself to feel, the better your songs will feel. Allow yourself to embrace the struggle, that’s where you gain strength and wisdom and usually where your greatest victories arise from. If you’re just handed everything in life, you’ll not appreciate it enough to maintain it. Be willing to put in the work and sacrifice. Simply put, don’t ask for a greater level of blessing, if you’re not ready for a greater level of commitment. Even more than talent, it takes obedience and relentless dedication to thrive in this world”.
I absolutely loved having Skylo in the studio. Having her as my first feature sure set the bar high for the ones to come. Thank you for sharing your passion, your personality, and story with a complete stranger.
Be sure to be on the look out for Skylo in 2019!