New Music Friday: Skee
We're back with a New Music Friday! This week Skee came by the studio for an exclusive interview. Check out the pics we took too!
Nadia: Hi guys! We're back again for another exciting New Music Friday shoot, and today we have Skee in the Stööki studio with us. So just for everyone, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Skee: My name's Skee, 19, an artist, producer, and songwriter from South London. Yeah that's basically it, I just do music.
Nadia: So would you say that you live and breathe music?
Skee: Yeah definitely, I’ve kind of grown up around it, I've been around it my whole life. I have a couple of family members in the industry and played a couple instruments when I was younger. But I didn't really take it seriously and then started properly writing around year 10 onwards and going into college. That's when I was like, cool let me do music because I didn't know what I wanted to study. So I studied music technology and I was kind of behind the scenes, sound engineering. And then I was still writing, but I was just shy and then when I got into the flow of things, sound engineering for a band and I was like, I don't want to really be behind the scenes. It's not like I don't really like it. I was like cool, let me just show my stuff that I've been preparing and now we’re here.
Nadia: So you took the leap? How did it feel when you took that first step into being at the forefront?
Skee: It was a lot of anxiety, because I'm a shy person anyway, so it was a big leap. But I feel like once I got into the flow of things, it just became second nature. It was just kind of natural.
Nadia: How did you get into making music?
Skee: My dad's a DJ, so growing up, I was always playing on his DJ decks, the vinyls and that. He moved over into producing a bit for his own stuff and as a hobby. I was always jumping on the computer, just making my own stuff. And it would probably sound terrible if we looked at it now, but I kind of always found it fun and then, when I started sound engineering, I learned a bit about production and it kind of was, when I was sound engineering with my band, that my friend was like, you can actually rap, “just go and do your thing”. Then I connected with a lot of people, kind of created my team that I was growing up with and it's just kept getting bigger and bigger, and now we’re here.
Nadia: Amazing, so would you say it was very important for you to have the right people around you?
Skee: Definitely, I felt like if I didn't have these people, I probably wouldn't have made any progress at all or I would've fallen into the wrong crowd and just not really be making music for the right reasons or just be distracted and kind of live in the rapper lifestyle before I'm even there yet. Do you know what I'm saying? So exactly, I'm grateful to the people around me.
Nadia: No, I feel a good positive vibe around, the way you carry yourself and I think that’s super important.
Skee: I appreciate that.
Nadia: Not enough people in the industry have that.
Skee: Yeah definitely.
Nadia: So your latest single Hyundai has had a great reception. What was your inspiration behind that song in particular?
Skee: It’s actually based on a true story, but one day the chorus just came to me in the moment, and then I was like wow it doesn't really make sense to rap about me getting picked up by a girl to go to the studio in a Hyundai. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really make sense, but it sounded kind of cool and quirky and a bit different. So I was just cool. It's just one of those stories that doesn't really have too much meaning, but it makes sense. It happened in real life so I just kind of ran along with it and then it turned into one of my favourite songs that I've made, if I'm being honest.
Nadia: Awesome. So you said that it was one of your favourite songs. Does that change?
Skee: It changes a lot, it depends on how long I'm working on a song for. If I'm working on a song for a while and I want to make it perfect and it's taken long and long. I kind of get sick of hearing it. I don't want to hear it at all when it comes out. I'll play it of course and promote it, but it wouldn't even be in my own playlist, you know what I'm saying? So I feel like because this song was kind of made quite quickly it just came to me straight away. It was kind of refreshing to listen to the final mix and because it wasn't kind of getting banged into my head all the time. It changes a lot though, and then depending on what vibe I'm feeling. You know what I'm saying?
Nadia: Of course. And how long does it take you roughly to make a track from start to finish, would you say?
Skee: It varies. There's been times, one of my songs, ‘On Me’, that took about five months.
Nadia: Wow. That's a long time.
Skee: But it wasn't like I was just focusing on that one because usually I'll make something, not really feel it and then I'll come back to it. Then because I would like to say I'm a perfectionist. I'm putting time into that song to make sure that everything about it is right and sounds alright and going through different mixes and masters, just making sure you can elevate the track to the best it can be, but then there's some songs that I have that I haven't released that I made in a day type of thing.
Nadia: So, it really depends.
Skee: Yeah defo as Antonia was saying, every creative gets a kind of a creative block. So I've had writers block so many times, but it's just because you're not really inspired by anything and the littlest thing can inspire you at any time. I don't really try to stress over it too much. I used to stress over it a lot, but I kind of just ride the wave.
Nadia: Yeah because there's nothing you can do, when you have writer's block, then you just let it happen and then come back to it. So what would you say your writing process is like?
Skee: Usually before I used to just find beats on YouTube. So Knucks type beats, Jazz, UK Drill, whatever, 120, 140 bpm. Write to that, make a song out of it and then when you go to buy the beat for a lease, sometimes it's already bought, so you can't use it and release it.
Nadia: Oh, is it?
Skee: So, unless you pay a lot of money to, own the rights to it. But when I found that problem, I spoke to my producer and I was like, why don't we just make our own beats? Do you know what I'm saying? So now either, we'd make a beat and get a reference track to make the beat around the vibe then I write to that or I'll just use lyrics that I've written to other songs and make a beat around that with Ryan, my producer.
Nadia: Awesome, so are there any artists that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Skee: UK: Knucks, Dave. Cleo Sol definitely, there's a producer called Vena who works with Knucks a lot, and a producer called Mill. Little Simz.
US: Brent Fiyaz, Snoh Aalegra, I was gonna say Tory Lanez, but be real, free him innit,
Nadia: 10 years time maybe he’ll make a come back.
Skee: Yeah, I just want to be that sometimes, not even just have a feature, but be around the environment when they're creating their music, I like to be in spaces where people are creating music, even if I'm not getting involved.
Nadia: You can vibe off it.
Skee: Right. Exactly. There’s something special about it.
Nadia: And you mentioned Drake, he's really loving the UK vibe right now, isn't he?
Skee: Yeah, he loves it.
Nadia: He's just popping on so many UK tracks.
Nadia: So what are your music influences? Are they quite similar to the people you just mentioned?
Skee: Yeah, I would definitely say, growing up writing that I came through like my first introduction to UK music was through Grime. So, Skepta, Stormzy, Chip and that was kind of who I was watching as I was growing up. Then in terms of writing, I used to follow a lot of Dave's style and kind of compare myself to him, but that's never good in the end. You have to be yourself, you know what I'm saying? But in terms of making beats and the vibe of music, I wanna make is definitely alongside Knucks, underground, jazzy, UK rap/drill vibe. Yeah, I'd probably say that I want to start creating a lot of songs with singers that do melodies.
Nadia: What would you describe your style as right now, would you say?
Skee: I don't even know what this style is. If I'm being honest, I feel like I'm still finding my sound but then again, I feel like everyone's still finding their sound, everyone changes, you have to.
Nadia: Time makes you evolve as well, doesn't it?
Skee: Exactly. So right now I call my vibe varies. I've got some chill songs, some conscious songs, and I've got some jumpy songs and I've got some nice beats and melodies and some other songs. I wanna say vibes. Call it vibes. So yeah, Skee vibes.
Nadia: Skee vibes, I love that. So what's your favourite thing about performing live and what's been your favourite show so far?
Skee: Favourite thing about performing live, funny enough, it's ironic. I don't like a lot of attention on me.
Nadia: Is it?
Skee: Yeah, at all. But I like it when I can interact with the crowd and I know the crowd is messing with my stuff. When they're singing your lyrics back to you, it hits a different type of way and that's what happened at my last show, which is probably my favourite one so far. It was the biggest, first sold out, it was fifteen-two hundred capacity. That was when I realised, raah, people actually listen to my music. It was kind of a shock to me. Do you know what I'm saying? So yeah, it was big, but, yeah, definitely the crowd reception and, I feel like I connected with the crowd even though everyone’s watching me. You know what I'm saying? I can look at people and actually see that they're interested and it just forms like a connection almost, without getting a bit too deep, you know what I'm saying?
Nadia: That's so cool. What are your goals for 2023 and 2024?
Skee: I'll say by the end of this year. Get my first distribution done for a single. So that's what we're pushing towards after the next single that drops. That's defo what we're gonna push towards. And start the EP by next year, [the] goal is to release the EP even though I feel like I'm gonna push it back just 'cause of, you know, making a choice that sounds right. I want one feature that makes people be like, rah, actually kind of stepping into the industry proper, properly, and I want to get first million streams next year for that. I feel like that's possible.
Nadia: What is your stance about streaming though, how do you feel about it? 'Cause you say a million streams, but you wouldn't get much from that, would you?
Skee: Yeah, you know what? I wouldn't even want it for the money. I wouldn't want it from the money side of things. I just kind of want it as a milestone so I can say. I got a million, let me try to get to the next type thing and it gives you leverage, say if someone went on my Spotify, a lot of people base their views off streams now, innit. So even though I'm not trying to please them, those type of people, it'll bring more people towards me and you know, they can see my other music and then with Streams and one song, the other songs go up as well.
Nadia: So you're looking at it from a different point of view?
Skee: Yeah kind of for myself, I want to feel like I've achieved that. I feel like it'd be a good achievement to say I have, you know what I'm saying?
Nadia: That's cool. So what is your ideal day off?
Skee: Definitely sleeping. I feel like I'd even make music on my day off or just chill or listen to music, see the mandem. We all just live next to each other, to vibe out, nothing much really. Just not working.
Nadia: Do you get much time to kind of just rest and recoup?
Skee: There's phases where there is, but usually if I'm not doing music, I'm working. And if I'm not working, doing music. So there are a couple times where there might be three days where I'm just chilling, not doing anything. But then I kind of have to force myself to be productive from home. Do you know what I'm saying? But there's also times where I'm not at home at all for seven days straight and it's draining. But yeah, it varies. It depends on what's happening in my life. I feel like with music or anything creative, you don't have a set schedule. If anything can happen, you need to be ready to be somewhere.
Nadia: How would you describe your fashion style?
Skee: I would say that it's me, you know what I'm saying? I don't really look at people and be like, yeah I want to wear that because they're wearing it. I would look at it and be like, that’s calm, but I'm not gonna copy that exact thing. I'll probably just go off the vibe. I just say, I want to start stepping outta my comfort zone a bit, but I'm not too sure yet, maybe in the future, but I like the cargos, the track suits, the oversized type styles.
Nadia: When you say step out of your comfort zone, what does that mean?
Skee: Just wear things that aren't really UK street wear. Do you know what I'm saying? Obviously I can wear the classic Nike tech and the big jacket and the hoods and whatever, but actually wearing pieces that people don't see other people wearing, or pieces that catch your eye. If I'm walking past you, it's not out there, out there, but people might look back and be like, “oh”,
Nadia: Like a double take.
Skee: Yeah. It's kind of cool.
Nadia: Do you want to talk a little bit about the prop that you have in front of you?
Skee: Yeah so this is my first magazine feature, with a magazine called ASBO. They reached out to me, after my second single? And they all did an interview and basically asked me about my journey and then kind of put in writing and these stills from the video and, yeah, it was just a good little touch that, and I feel like going into music, I never was like, oh yeah, I want to get a magazine feature, but when it came I was like, oh, I'm kind of proud of this. A lot of people can't say they’re in a magazine. You know what, what I'm saying?
Nadia: And a printed one these days as well.
Nadia: It's easy to get into digital. A printed one's good for the archive.
Skee: Yeah. I actually got another one from ASBO coming out soon. And one from Anri Magazine with me and Tony Textures. So yeah, keep an eye out for that.
Nadia: And now the Stööki blog...
Skee: Yeah word Stööki blog as well.
Nadia: We are everywhere. Trying to get everywhere. What do you like about Stööki jewellery and the Stööki movement?
Skee: I really appreciate the fact that you handcraft your jewellery. It kind of gives a sense that you care about what you're doing, you are putting love into it, and I feel like that's organic and natural. That's kind of how I base the way I create around, so I kind of relate to it in a sense. And the way you've welcomed me here many times, I have nothing but love and respect, so I really like that lot.
Nadia: Likewise, likewise. We wanna support your journey too because you know, I think what you've got going is something good.
Skee: Thank you.
Nadia: So, do you have any advice for aspiring artists coming up?
Skee: I would say, be yourself? Be consistent and don't compare yourself to other people 'cause then you'll just be in an overthinking mindset where you're like, rah, my man’s doing this. Why am I not there? This is that but everyone's got their own journey, do you know what I'm saying? I feel that you need to stay on your path and be consistent. Make sure you are working all the time. I'm saying this like I do this, but would have I'm still learning, innit, but be consistent, put work in your craft. Don't be scared to step outta your comfort zone when creating music and be nice to everyone that you meet because even though you come across weird people in the industry, still be nice because you never know what they can do for you. And I'm not saying use them, but make sure you gain connections and create relationships 'cause even if they're not used to you now you might meet someone that is a producer, and they only specialise in keys, but you don't know a keys player and you have your own producer on in the future, you need a keys player. So you're like, yeah, I know you and then just connect through there.
Nadia: Also another point is the same people you see on your way up, you might see on your way down too, so if you're not nice to people, then you just don't want that kind of awkward interaction.
Skee: A lot of people are preying on your downfall as well. You don't want people giving evil eye and them ting there, you know what I'm saying as well? Just positive vibes, man.
Nadia: Yeah also where can we find more of your music? What platforms are you on?
Skee: I'm on every platform @Skeeunoffical and then on streaming services, YouTube, just Skee, and yeah, I think that's it. I think everything's the same, so.
Nadia: So consistency.
Skee: Yeah, consistency. You have to make sure.
Nadia: Is there anything else you'd like to add that we've not talked about?
Skee: Speaking of what I've said, yeah. That's another piece of advice for an artist. Pick a name that nobody has because I'm telling you, when you put your music out there, and you have a name with the same as other people who are named Skee, innit. I don't like it, but it's kind of hard to, you know, get your trademark and your brand because other people are named it, you know what I'm saying? But, other than that, buy Stööki jewellery, stream my music. Hyundai out now.
Nadia: Why did you choose the name Skee when you knew other people had it?
Skee: You’re probably thinking it’s a crazy answer, but I wasn’t bothered to change it.
Nadia: Oh really?
Skee: Because, you know what it is. I had this name, kind of, growing up just from being in endz and that, people knew my older cousin, having the same last name as me innit, but I didn't like everyone calling me by my last name. So I just shortened it, which is Skee. I'm not gonna say my full last name innit, but, I shortened it to Skee and then it kind of just stuck with me. Then when I was like, let me make music, because I wanted to be a producer first. I was about to put Skee production, whatever, and then I was like, no let's just keep it as Skee. It's kind of a short, roll off tongue. Then yeah when I saw other people had it, I was just like, yeah I'm not, I'm not changing it. Let me make sure that I'm the biggest Skee.
Nadia: Do you regret keeping it through?
Skee: No,I don't because I feel like it means something to me. I don't really have any other name. If I thought of another name, it would probably be cringey and it wouldn't run. So, yeah. I like this name, I like it when someone recognises that name. Do you know what I'm saying?
Nadia: Fair enough. So from this point onwards, you've gotta be the biggest Skee out there.
Skee: Biggest one. The biggest one. I have to.
Nadia: Cool. Thank you so much for coming to the Stööki studio. Thank you guys for tuning into another New Music Friday. We'll be back again for the next one soon.