IN CONVERSATION WITH SKY FELIZ
British-Surinamese-Dutch R&B artist Sky Feliz is releasing her third single ‘The Middles’ today (7th July). Her sultry vocals and riffs, extensive background in music production, acting and dance let her songs live in that threadbare zone between substance and secrecy, alluding to intimate situations in which the physical and intellectual overlap, stalemate or rupture.
Sky, you’re releasing your newest single ‘The Middles’ today. Tell us more about the story behind this single and what inspired it.
‘The Middle’ started out as a joke. I wanted to make a POV song of eating out without being disrespectful. It became my attempt to openly discuss sexual intercourse in an honest, fun and cheeky way. Intimacy is very personal and it doesn’t come as naturally to everyone to the point where you just get off wherever and whenever you want. I think it’s important to keep listening to each other in order to feel safe. I’ve had many moments where I didn’t dare to speak up about these things and as a result, I physically experienced a lot of trauma because of it. That’s why I emphasize the word ‘listen’ at the beginning and at the end of the song.
What prompted you to speak up more openly about intimacy and sex in your songs?
I don’t think we do it enough. There are a lot of women with intimate issues as a result of non communication between the sheets. If a man can sing, rap about getting head, why not me?
I’ve experienced chronic nerve pain that made intimacy an even bigger subject. I’ve lost partners, but even worse myself. But I’m back through selfcare, spiritual healing and I started to talk about it bluntly. And if you think it’s too forthright, you’re not my guy.
Your previous two singles ‘Patience’ and ‘1 2 3’ put your vulnerable side on full display, whereas ‘The Middle’ showcases your unguarded sense of humor. Why did you decide on this approach, to create this song with a touch of humor?
I am working on a body of work and I wanted to make a song for every mood with big main character moments. I can be serious and sultry, but an even bigger part of me is wrapped in giggles. I think it’s important to be authentic and relatable. To start the summer off with a sexy house/R&B track felt like the perfect moment to shine the light on this part of me. In the end, I just want to make people feel amazing, sexy, energized and make them laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously. You become even more radiant when you dare to be bold. My heart is on my sleeve.
What made you fall in love with music in the first place? Tell us more about your musical journey, from the very beginnings until where you are today? What are some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
It’s cliche, but I knew ever since I gained consciousness that I wanted to make music and perform. I was big on theater from a young age, playing Greek tragedies, auditioning for films and series, but quickly I started to realize music had my heart. I started writing songs on a janky keyboard and wanted to audition for competition shows. When I finished high school, I got admitted to the conservatory in Rotterdam. I’d like to say it was a smooth sail, but it took me a while to understand where I wanted to be. Immediately after graduating, I got into a full year studying creative production and engineering. To get into the technical aspect of it all made me even more excited to start my own project.
How would you describe yourself as an artist and your musical style?
I want people to experience a concept rather than only my music. The base of it all is soul and R&B, but I was also highly inspired by alternative producers like Arca and Flume. Let’s say you put Mariah Carey in the mix with Sade and add a hint of darkchild to it. Visually I work a lot with fashion and dance. I had the pleasure to dance on a professional level and I learned a lot from colleagues I met along the way. I won’t say I am a dancer first, but I sure love to move and add it to the mix. I don’t want to just sing the songs, I want you to experience it as a whole.
What are you most looking forward to in the future of your career? What are your biggest goals?
I am a ‘ride with the wave’ woman. Whatever is written for me, will happen. I just feel that it’s going to be big and beautiful and I can’t wait to experience it all. Touring with my band, hopping on and off the plane to work with the best of the best, get into hibernation to train and create new music and then take off to share it with the world. In the end, it’s about creative freedom.
Is there anyone specific that you could say is your biggest inspiration and kind of behind your decision to be in the music industry?
Not one person in particular, I just love to watch and get inspired by multiple art forms. Movies, dancers, singers and multi-talented artists like FKA Twigs show me that there is no limit to integration and expanding.
You have a very diverse background, British-Surinamese-Dutch. How do all these different backgrounds affect you as an artist, as well as you as a person?
My mom is from Suriname and my dad is from the UK. I was brought up by my mom, so initially I got to experience Surinamese culture above all. My family is very musical and they are so supportive and proud of me. Very vocal and lively people that showed me lots of rhythm, based on good music. My British side is the complete opposite. They are very poised and reserved, but my grandparents always made sure I felt welcome even though my dad took off when I was 3 months old. I like to milk this as a joke because you know the people with the most trauma, in my case also ancestral, are the biggest personalities. I use that to move forward and create with all my being. Also, my dad is a singer. Even without knowing him and growing up with him, I inherited that part. That amazes me.
Sky, what’s coming up next for you this year? Any exciting performances, an album in the works?
I am going to drop a body of work this year. I am over the moon excited, but I’m not done yet. I am currently in and out of the studio, but also taking care of all the visuals and work behind closed doors. Luckily after just two releases, I got into a few big Spotify playlists, had airplay on a big national station and got approached by several parties. It’s all just starting, but I’m already so proud of how it’s going. I’m buckling up because it will get even busier from now on. There are big and cool shows coming up, but I can’t share anything yet.
interview by JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
photography ANGELA HUIZER