You probably first heard Skylar Grey’s songwriting prowess through the voice of Rihanna on the 2010 smash “Love the Way You Lie”. Since, she has continued writing and has been featured as a vocalist on Diddy’s “Coming Home”, Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor”, Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said”, and Kaskade’s “Room for Happiness”. Although formerly Holly Brook, the singer will release her first album as Skylar in the spring, executive produced by her now-frequent collaborator Eminem. We talked to Skylar about the album, her writing process, and her new single “C’mon Let Me Ride," which you can go buy on iTunes right now.
BroBible: You have a new album coming out. What can we expect from the album and how does it differ from your previously released works?
Skylar Grey: I’m really excited about this album because it mixes a lot of different things that I love, genres I guess, that I love into one album. It’s laced with hip hop beats and piano, ‘cuz I play a lot of piano, and then stuff from the single, “C’mon Let Me Ride”, which is on the goofier side of me, all the way to stuff that you would expect more, which is melancholy, melodic stuff. So I’m really excited about that.
What were some things that inspired the album?
Everything’s based on life, so if I’m in a happy place in my life, I’ll probably write a happy song, which I am, and that’s why “C’mon Let Me Ride” is so spunky because the past two years have been great for me, I’ve been in a really positive, happy place and there’s this goofy side to me that I’ve never shown in a song before, and I thought why not now? But some of the songs, especially the older ones, some of them are written two years ago, they are on the darker side of me ‘cuz I came out of a kind of rough period of my life like right before I wrote “Love the Way You Lie” and stuff like that.
So does this album this span past couple years?
Technically I’ve been working on it for the past couple years but it’s not been a steady working pace, like I’ve taken time off to tour and I’ve taken time with the writing because I feel like writing an album isn’t something you should rush or force.
Speaking to some of the different artists you’ve been working with on this album and since some of your earlier releases... What is it like in studio with someone like Eminem versus being in the studio with someone like Kaskade?
Well, they’re both really great people, I mean working with Eminem’s a lot of fun. He’s really smart and makes really really good suggestions, has really good ears, and makes fun of me. And then Kaskade is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I love working with him, we’re kind of just buddies, you know? It’s hard to work with somebody you don’t like, honestly. You have to like the person.
Is there someone that you’d want to work with that you haven’t yet? What’s your dream collaboration?
I don’t know, I feel like I’ve had so many dream collaborations already. Honestly like I’m not thinking about collaborations as much right now, I’m just thinking about how excited I am about my own album.
What’s the direction of the album like as your first Skylar Grey album as opposed to your Holly Brook releases?
I just feel like I’ve grown as a songwriter, lyrically especially. I finally feel like my songs are complete. They’re simple yet introspective at the same time, which has always been the challenge for me, and I feel like I conquered it. Something that people can understand on one listen but it’s talking about more than just like, sex or love.
So what’s the process like when you were writing the album?
With this album, most of it was written to pre-existing tracks, which was a totally new thing for me. I used to write to an instrument or a chord progression and when I got introduced to the writing to a beat thing, my first attempt at that was “Love the Way You Lie” so I thought “oh, maybe I should keep trying this”. That worked.
The video for “C’mon Let Me Ride” was filmed in a trailer park. What was funniest or weirdest thing you saw during the shoot?
It was a fun day, the leaves were very colorful, it was raining and freezing. I think one of the funniest things I saw was one of the extras was wearing overalls with the stomach cut out so that his gut hung out of his overalls. I thought it was cool. He rocked it.
Will you be touring in support of the album?
I’ll be touring in the spring. I haven’t set anything up yet but it’s being worked on as we speak.