IN CONVERSATION WITH SKYLAR GREY
Interview by Dean Sanders
Skylar Grey is an American singer-songwriter. She became known for collaborating with Fort Minor on the song Where’d You Go, which became a worldwide commercial success. In 2010, she sang the chorus on Diddy-Dirty Money’s Coming Home and wrote the music and lyrics to two versions of Rihanna’s and Eminem’s ‘Love the Way You Lie’. Now in 2023 she will release her own version of the song that she wrote herself but was unable to release due to circumstances.
How did you start your songwriting career? What inspired it and what inspires you today when you write songs?
When I was six, I started taking piano lessons but I never followed the lessons. I always just wanted to create my own songs. So, I played an original piece at my first recital. Inspiration for a song can come from anywhere. Sometimes I just freestyle on the piano and get inspired by a chord progression. Other times I’ll be watching a movie or having a conversation and get inspired by dialogue. The key for me is always keeping my eyes and ears open.
You released the strip down version of “Love The Way You Lie” that you also wrote. How is it to get the credit for this amazing song, so long after it became worldwide success? Because you deserve it.
Most of the world doesn’t pay attention to who wrote or produced a song. Re-recording “Love The away You Lie” myself has helped me step out from the shadows and get recognized for my work. I’m super grateful for the huge success the song had with Eminem and Rihanna, but I never set out to write songs for other people to sing. That was never the career I envisioned for myself. Yeah, I got paid which is awesome, but it’s a very personal song. So, when people acknowledge my work on it, I feel more fulfilled spiritually.
You’ve talked about the reason of selling your songs. Is there any advice you would give young artists that can relate to your story?
Ummm if you’re a writer don’t get married HAHA. But for real, if I had known that my “intellectual property,” meaning the songs I’ve written, would be considered half my ex-husband’s, I wouldn’t have gotten married. Or at least I would have had a solid prenup. And definitely don’t get married in the state of Utah- there is an archaic law there called “alienation of affection” look it up, as I don’t want to misspeak. But between the divorce and the lawsuit on top of it that my ex filed, it was about a 4-year legal battle that was very very expensive, and the only way I could afford it was to sell my catalog, which I did NOT want to do. Now I am focused on building a new catalog that no one can take from me.
Is there any artist you would like to collaborate with yourself?
I’ve already had my dream collaboration- Eminem. Multiple times. And I’d like to keep doing more with him. For me it doesn’t get any better than that. There are many other people I would love to work with, but if I never collaborated with another artist else again I’d die happy.
You’ve also talked about wanting to write music for movies or games. Is this still something you are interested in?
Yes, for sure. I’m really into film and tv music especially and would love to do an entire soundtrack. I’ve been looking for opportunities like that for years but haven’t found the right thing, so I’m toying with the idea of writing my own movie and scoring it.
What is a typical ‘Skylar Grey’ style? What do you like to wear from day to day?
I almost exclusively wear black. Sometimes white, sometimes grey or neutrals, but rarely anything colorful. And I wear platform shoes only, from platform sneakers to platform slippers to slippers to platform boots… Daily I live in oversized tees and sweats, but for occasions like red carpets, performances or photo shoots I like to wear darker leaning experimental and sculptural couture. I love designers who are pushing the envelope with silhouettes and materials. Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester are staples in my closet, but recently most of my favorite things have come from designers I’d never heard of before. The new Namilia season looks fire…. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of that!
Describe your music style in one word.
What are your plans for the future? Any new albums or exciting projects?
This year I’ll be dropping a Greatest Hits album which will include re-recorded versions of hit songs I’ve been a part of… “Love the Way You Lie,” “Coming Home,” and “Clarity”, to name a few. And I’ll be performing at a bunch of events. But I’m also simultaneously working on brand new music, which I’m most excited about. It’s in very early stages but will let you know when the project really starts taking shape.