Justine Skye
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Justine Skye

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Justine Skye is living out her dreams everyday. The 17-year-old Brooklyn songstress serves up a retro-futuristic sound infusing classic 90s R&B with trippy head-nodding beats reminiscent of the days of Brandy and Aaliyah. Sure, the beautiful singer/songwriter is not of legal age yet, but her level of maturity speaks volumes.

On her debut EP Everyday Living, which dropped today, she teams up with producers Eric Hudson and August Rico (who has worked Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Sean Kingston), she channels her talent with the pen and voice harmoniously. Whether navigating the ups and downs of life in her hit "Everyday Living" or professes her love for her significant other in "Messin' With You" featuring Joey Bada$$, Skye sings that real talk. Here, the pretty girl with purple curls sits down with VIBE to discuss her new music, style and who's she looking forward to collaborate with in the future. --Andrew Asare

Now that your EP Everyday Living has been delivered, what’s the typical day-to-day for you now?
Now, well today has been my most cluttered day, I had so much to do today, but right now I’m just trying to chill with my friends and do as much normal things as possible before like things start getting really hectic.

You hair styles change from time-to-time. You had a bob cut a few weeks prior now you're rocking violet curls. Why the switch-up?
Well the purple hair is my natural thing, I have purple highlights that’s been my thing for two years now. That haircut was for a shoot I was doing with “Messin’ With You,” and it's this theme to it like we’re in different worlds, so that was just a different look I was giving. It wasn’t something I’d be doing all the time. Just for the video [laughs].

Speaking of switching up cuts, what do you think about Beyonce’s cut?
It’s really different. She’s had her luxurious long blond hair for a really long time so I guess it like struck people like 'Whoa, we’re not used to this Beyonce' but I think they’re going to get used to it. I mean, hey it’s what she wants at the end of the day. I don’t think it’s that bad, I like it.

What’s your definition of style?
My definition of style is like whatever you’re feeling. If you want to wear this, then you wear this, that’s your style. Everyone has their own style it’s unique, no one person style is wrong.

Back to the EP. What was the inspiration for the EP title and the lead single?
This is my first body of work coming out from the label so I want people to understand who I am, what I’ve been doing, what I’m going through everyday and to connect to it. Whether you're in a relationship or not, or if you have a crush on someone, everyone has that feeling of love at some point in their life. It’s nothing too out there in which people will be like 'Ok I don’t know what she’s talking about, I’ve never done this, I never done that, I don’t wear this or that.' The EP is very universal.

You've worked with esteemed producers Eric Hudson and August Rigo. Any dream collaborations?
My dream collaboration would be to work with Drake. Honestly, he’s an amazing songwriter, and I feel like if we got the opportunity to do a song it would be the most amazing thing to ever hit people’s ears. Now that all this stuff is coming to play and it's a reality now, and people are asking me is there anyone I would like to work, it would be Drake, that's my ideal person.

Now you stated in recent interviews that your songs are very personal, what song do you consider to be the most personal on Everyday Living?
The song I feel is the most personal is “Good By Now.” It’s about my dad but metaphorically, I wrote it [as] a relationship so that more people can connect to it. Sometimes, people have issues and you just wish sometimes that it could be good.

On Everyday Living, you talk about being in L.A. Which do you prefer: Brooklyn or LA?
Brooklyn, 100 percent. I like L.A., but I’m definitely a Brooklyn girl, I’m a city girl. I need the cars honking. I need the bright lights. I need people yelling in the middle of the night screaming at each other. I need all of that. When I'm in L.A., I kind of go crazy in the middle of the night when it’s like completely quiet. I’ll always be a Brooklyn girl.

Speaking of Brooklyn, that was the birthplace of Aaliyah, there’s a lot of comparisons made between you and her, how do you feel about that?
Wow, I feel that’s an honor. She was a legend.

Your music is very nostalgic of '90s R&B. Who are your top three favorite '90s artists?
It's so hard to choose just three, I love the old school sound, but if I have to choose right now I love Aaliyah, SWV and TLC. I used to sing SWV’s “Weak" everyday when people would ask me to sing.

What are five things you must have with you at all times?
Well, I definitely have to have my phone. That is a must. My red bracelet. It’s a bracel - Vibe.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

In an age where influence and reach is determined by the amount of followers one has on social media, Justine Skye effortlessly dominates the competition.

The R&B singer-songwriter rose to notoriety simply by being herself and letting her undeniable vocal ability shine. In 2010, Justine covered Drake's "Headlines" and racked up nearly two million You Tube views purely from word of mouth. Since then, Justine's popularity has only grown with over 50,000 followers on both Tumblr and Instagram respectively.

But if you ask the violet curly-haired chanteuse how she and her group of eclectic and creative friends continue to stand out and keep people's attention, she'll tell you its all organic.

"We're just being ourselves, living our lives and putting our pictures on the Internet. I think what people like most about me is that I keep it real. I'm just real with you."

Justine was 8 years old when her grandfather, Assemblyman N. Nick Perry of the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, New York realized she had a gift. Justine accompanied Perry to political events where she would often sing the National Anthem and the Black National Anthem. However, Justine was still nervous about her talent.

"I always knew I could sing, I just didn't think I was that great because of all the other singers out there. In my mind, I was like 'I'm just a girl from Brooklyn.' "

Justine soon left her insecurities at the door. In 2010 she attended a BMI music panel with her mother, entertainment lawyer, Nova Perry, who has represented everyone from Eightball & MJG, Lloyd, Machine Gun Kelly and Eric Hudson. It was during the Q&A portion, Justine surprised everyone.

"They were talking and I don't even know what they were talking about but I just knew there were a lot of music executives. During the Q&A, I walked up, grabbed the mic, and I asked 'Can I sing for you guys?' they were like sure. I sang "Black and Gold" by Sam Sparro and that's when my mom realized I was serious about singing because that was really gutsy to do."

After wowing the panel, Justine began to make strides towards her career, which included vocal lessons and writing songs about her every day life, which she would then turn into songs. In 2012, Justine started working with producers August Rigo and Eric Hudson whose musical resume includes Justin Bieber, Sean Kingston, Kanye West and Mary J. Blige.

On the seven-track EP, which helped her ink a deal with Atlantic Records, Justine fuses traditional 90s soul, but also sprinkles in hip-hop, alternative and dub-step elements to create a unique sound unlike anything in today's musical landscape.

The free-flowing harmonies and relaxed beats are reflective of Justine's calm, laid-back demeanor. When writing and recording, Justine said there's no structure in the studio, she just does what came naturally to her.

"August and Eric would ask me how I’ve been? How I'm feeling? Whatever mood I was in they would then create a beat around my mood, and we lay down melodies and start writing. We let it feel its ways out and once we have the melody and the beat then we start developing the story once the foundation has been established. It’s all random."

Justine is proof being yourself not only works, but is contagious. There's no gimmick or planning behind her talent and relatable personality. Justine isn't trying to impress; she's just living her life.

"I want people to know who I am I want people to know how I think. All my songs are personal. I just want people to connect to my music and to me.”