If all of life were that great new music video you saw on YouTube, Skyler would have written the song, played all of the instruments, and directed the video.
From performing on imaginary stages during recess in the third grade, to becoming a multi-instrumentalist with a full-length album by the ninth grade, and now a up-n-comer to keep your eye. He’s got over 250 gigs under his belt, writes his own music, and just recently released his second EP, titled “Take You Away”.
FANVASION caught up with Skyler on a rare day off to get to know him a little better and now you can too. Read our interview below, watch the video and if you haven’t already give Skyler a listen.
Can you tell me a little bit about your musical upbringing and how it got you this point?
Sure, um well my parents introduced me to The Beatles when I was about three years old, and I just fell in love with music. All throughout elementary school I was constantly trying to form bands because I wanted to start the next Beatles, starting in Kindergarten. I remember in third grade I actually had auditions for a boy band. I would get guys from all around my school to come and audition, they would have to sing and dance.
Were a boy band fan?
Yeah, and this was back when ‘N Sync were really popular and Backstreet Boys were really popular, so I wanted to do something like that. Around that same time was when I started writing music and I started playing drums. Then I eventually learned how to play guitar, bass, piano and I just sort of went from there and started doing everything.
You’ve been writing and recording for years, what’s your process for writing music? Are any of your songs based off personal experiences … or something you would like to happen?
Yeah, a lot of the songs are from personal experiences; especially on the first CD, Long Gone. Most of those are all from personal experiences that really happened and I wanted to sort of tell stories and express that those feelings I was feeling at the time, because I knew a lot of people could relate to them. With this new CD a lot of the songs are more ideas that I had; that I talked to my song writing partners about, maybe that they had … um, rather than necessarily actual events.
So you grew up listening to The Beatles and you’re a Backstreet Boys fan. Who are some of your other musical influences and how do they affect your sound?
Um, well around probably by sophomore or junior year of high school I really, really started to become influenced by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. So then that really started to influence my sound and probably around my senior year in high school is when I started transitioning and started listening to Country music for the first time. People like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban have become huge influences in my sound.
Well, people have called you “the male Taylor Swift”.
Yeah they have, and that’s great I love it.
Like I said, you’ve been compared to Taylor Swift. But, how would you describe your music for those that haven’t heard it?
Uh well it’s a mixture between Country, Pop, and Rock music. I always just called it rock-n-roll, but people really seem to latch onto the country/rock or pop/country aspect of it.
Tell me about your single “Take You Away”!
“Take You Away” is the first single off of the new CD called Take You Away. And it’s a story about uh – you know – from the singers point of view, there’s this girl who he’s just enamored in… enamored of… enamored by…enamored something. [Laughs] I’ll have to check in the English dictionary for the correct saying of that. Um, who he’s just infatuated with, but he realized that she has no idea who he is. He just sees her, ah – going through the motions, and not ah – being with guys who he feels…um – like he could – ah.. really give her something that they aren’t, and really treat her right. Then so, the whole idea is ‘I’ll take you away from all that’. I will give you everything that you deserve.
Kind of an anthem for a lot of people out there.
Well uh, that’s what I hope – that’s what I hope for.
You have a band that plays with you called Band of Thieves. Where did that stem from?
Yeah, uh – The Band of Thieves, they actually for the longest time didn’t have a band name. So that just really confused everybody, everyone was like ‘so is the band called Skyler?’, ‘are you called Skyler?’ what’s going on. So we finally had to come up with a band name, and we’re all huge fans of Taylor Swift and when her new record came out one of the favorite song of all of ours was the very last track on it, called “Long Live”. And there’s this one line in it that says “a band of thieves in ripped up jeans got to rule the world”, and so we were talking about that and one of them said ‘oh, a band of thieves’ – Skyler and the Band of Thieves…and it just stuck.
You’ve been touring a lot since last year, what was your most memorable performance so far?
Probably our most memorable performance was at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. We arrived just before – actually not…just as a blizzard was hitting South Burlington. And we loaded in, in the snow storm and you know just kept our fingers crossed people would show up because we had never played in Vermont before. Um, and – you know God love them, our fans showed up and filled the room… in a blizzard; our first time in Vermont, so that was a real treat.
Who would be a ‘dream come true’ artist you’d like to work with?
Um, well most of my favorite artists are unfortunately either really old or dead. [Laughs] But uh right now, I’d love to work with Taylor Swift. She really seems to be on top of her game, and I want to work with somebody who – you know is really hitting their stride.
Your single, “Take You Away” – that we were just talking about – was just released this past month. Are there plans for a full-length record in the works?
Uh, well this is our second EP, so second half length album. Ah I mean we could potentially put both of them together and release it as one CD, but I’d hate doing that. It just seems so cheap. So, I would love to record a full-length album of all new material, but the time has to be right. So, who knows – maybe a year from now we’ll be talking about my full-length record.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day off to talk with me about your music.
Well, it was my pleasure thank you for having me.
For more videos from our interview, visit our YouTube Channel.
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photos: Tony Luong