R&B new comer Justine Skye is one of only six emerging artists picked to light up the stage alongside a star-studded line up that includes Beyonce, Jay Z, Usher, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne at the TIDALx1020 charity concert in Brooklyn on October 20, and with all that she brings to the table, it’s not hard to see why she fits right in with the music industry elite.
Her year thus far has consisted of promoting her recently-released Emotionally Unavailable EP, doing a stunning photo shoot as the new face of La Belle Roc clothing line, hanging with BFF Kylie Jenner, and impressing the likes of Jay Z, Rihanna and Jake Gyllenhaal with her rendition of the national anthem at the inaugural Roc Nation boxing event.
To put it lightly, she’s one busy young lady!
We recently got a chance to chat with the “Purple Unicorn” herself just ahead of her TIDALx1020 performance, and she had much to say about hitting the stage, being in the spotlight, her new EP, meeting Jay Z and more.
Check out our interview below.
You’re a Brooklyn girl so, Tidalx1020 will be a hometown performance on a huge stage. What are you most looking forward to about your performance?
I’ve been there a bunch of times but, this is going to be huge. It’s my first time performing in my hometown, literally right up the street from my house. Especially since the line up is so crazy! I mean, Jay Z, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj…it’s just gonna be insane. So, it’s such an honor.
What was your reaction to finding out that you were on the line up?
Oh, I screamed when I saw my name on the flyer! I was like, “ahhh, that’s meeee!”
You’re also a Tidal Rising artist, which is a platform for emerging artists to shine. What’s been the biggest benefit of being a part of that cohort for you?
Well, Tidal is definitely reaching new levels. They hit a million users recently so, that’s just a really huge platform for me to be a part of. So, it’s just awesome. People are really learning the music and figuring out who I am and it’s growing my fan base –I call them the Unicorn Nation [laughs]–so, it’s amazing, really.
Your EP Emotionally Unavailable dropped this summer in June and you’ve hit a couple of different cities to perform some of the music. Which city has given you the best reaction so far or which has been your favorite?
Well, I went on a little mini run and went to a couple of cities. I did Boston, North Carolina, DC, Philly and I’d have to say DC shows a lot of love. They were lined up, they were ready, they were singing all the words. And that was also my toughest show so far because the sound went out in the middle of one of my songs. So I had sing it a cappella ( I sang my heart out for that song) and they literally sang right along with me. I love DC.
Speaking of the EP, “Don’t Worry,” is a great song. What inspired that one and what was the writing process like?
Well I actually worked with the same people that I did “Bandit” with. The Insomniacs produced it out in L.A. I also [worked with] Joelle James, who is in amazing songwriter, and one other writer.
At the time, I was just going through it. I’m really an emotional person, even though the EP is called Emotionally Unavailable [laughs]. I feel like the title is somewhat of a contradiction because to even say something like that, you have to be emotional, you know? But I was just like talking to them about the relationship I’d just gotten out of and they were like “ok, we got it.” And, we came up with “Don’t Worry.”
You just have to move on from situations. Life goes on and you can’t sit there and dwell on the past.
Let’s talk a little bit about your collaborations so far. You did with “Collide” with Tyga and your new single “I’m Yours” with Vic Mensa. What’s the vibe been like wokring with other young artists who are making a name for themselves?
Well, Collide [with Tyga] I actually did before Emotionally Unavailable. It was super early in my career (even though it’s still early) but, he was super cool. I was kind of scared because I’m like, how does that work? What if he doesn’t like me or what if he doesn’t like the song? Will he still do it? But, we just sent the song over to him and he was like “yo, this is dope,” and just put a verse on it. I think that spoiled me for a second in the beginning of my career because after that I thought like, “oh, it’s that easy. We just send them the track and they just do a verse? Yeah, we got this! [laughs].” But, of course, I learned that it’s not that easy as I got further into my career. It’s actually a huge accomplishment when they send the track back.
As far as Vic, he’s a new artist as well so, that was really dope that we got to do that song together. He’s a really cool guy too. I’m excited for the video, I can’t wait for it to come out.
If you could do a duet with any male singer who would it be and why?
If it was up to me, I would put Drake on every single song because..he’s amazing,man [laughs]. His melody choices…and his lyrics…are just very touching and I feel like we would make magic together.
You just recently turned 20. As a young person, what is one issue that you think should be pushed to the forefront for the 2016 Presidential candidates?
I’d definitely say the cost of education. I’m not in school but I hear people talk about it all the time. My mom is even still paying off her college loans and I think that’s something that [the candidates] should pay attention to. Whoever the next president is, that should be one of the main priorities. Even people who have high paying jobs, they’re struggling with that and it seems like they’ll still be paying them off forever. So, something just has to be done with that, it’s crazy.
Also, figuring out what’s going on with the police brutality. It’s just insane. It’s always been bad but now, it’s getting out of control. I fee like it takes less time to be a police officer than it does to learn the law and that doesn’t add up. So I think that needs to be addressed.
What would you say is the most challenging thing about being young and living your life out in the spotlight with everyone watching?
A lot of people on the internet, because they’re hiding behind a computer, don’t look at you as a real person. They feel like they’re just supposed to be able to say whatever they want to you and for you to just take it. They don’t really know what it’s like when you’re just alone, looking at your phone. And I don’t care how famous you are, everyone looks at their comments. I’ve seen it with my own 2 eyes. I remember sitting next to Janelle Monae and she was actually looking through her Instagram comments and I was like “wow.”
I look through my comments and so does my mom and I had to tell her like “mom, you can’t respond to everybody now” [laughs]. I feel like people just don’t know how their words can affect someone and they feel like because someone is famous, they deserved to be criticized and picked apart. Every little thing that they see, they try to use that against you and I feel like it’s not fair.
Jay Z was a fan of your Star-Spangled Banner performance at the Roc Nation boxing event earlier this year. Did you get a chance to meet him?
I actually didn’t get to meet him when I sang the national anthem. I was kind of sad about that [laughs] but, just him standing up and cheering for me was still cool. I remember when they [announced] that I was from Brooklyn, he was excited about that, and then I’d heard that loved the way I sang [the national anthem].
I didn’t get to meet him then, but I was at Made in America in Philly [this year] and I actually got to sit and talk to him and he was so cool. And very supportive. He told me, he was like, “yeah, if you would’ve messed up singing the national anthem, it would’ve been all over for you [laughs]. And I was like, “well, good thing I didn’t [laughs]!” But yeah, he was really cool.
What can your fan base expect next from Justine Skye?
I’m going on tour in December and I’m really excited about that. It’s gonna be the next level for me so, I can’t wait to announce all the details.
While Justine and her team put the finishing touches on plans for her upcoming tour, you can head over to iTunes to check out her Emotionally Unavailable EP and find out more info how you can watch her TIDALx1020 performance live HERE.