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At 16 years old, Skylar Stecker is doing what most aspiring female singers dream of.
Hailing from Wisconsin, the R&B/pop recording artist has moved around never staying in one spot, foreshadowing her current life on the road while performing for music-lovers all across the world.
When asked about herself, the only word that comes to mind is “music.” The “Redemption” singer writes from a real-life perspective through her soft, buttery vocals while showcasing her bubbly and contagious personality. Blending the genres of both R&B and pop, Skylar proves you can do anything you set your mind, as long as your stay passionate.
Moving to beautiful California seven years ago, Skylar has built an impressive and loyal fanbase doing everything, independently while still being homeschooled. With her new album Redemption finally out, she proves why she’s a star in the making.
For those who don’t know, who is Skylar Stecker?
I play multiple instruments, I write all my own music. I grew up in Wisconsin. No one in my family does anything musical related whatsoever, so my love of music came out of the blue. Who is Skylar? The music is Skylar. I always say that to my mom. She gets so mad at me because she’s like “you are more than just your music!” It’s my soul. It’s who I am. Without it… it’s just me [laughs]
How would you describe your sound?
I’d describe my sound as R&B pop.
You’re from Madison, how does that play into your life and career?
I grew up there until I was 9 years old, lived there for 4 years. All my family is there. My parents met in college in Wisconsin so Wisconsin is my home, which is great. Having lived in so many different places — I was born in Florida, then lived in Louisiana, Wisconsin, now I’m here — growing up, it was so great to not only move around so much and meet so many new cultures and people, but also getting used to what it’s like to travel and be on the road. Pick up and move, pick up and move. I loved having the Midwestern background and then coming out to California to pursue music, it’s great. Definitely keeps my head on my shoulders a little tighter. [laughs]
Did you come out here ‘cause your family came out here or for the music?
For the music and the weather. We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm after being in Wisconsin, the winters are harshly cold. It was either Florida or here. Then when I discovered my music, it was a no-brainer to come out here.
Talk about being independent and doing everything on your own.
It’s definitely a lot of work like with anything, but it’s super fun. I was with the label and chose to part ways because I felt like I wasn’t heading in the creative direction that I saw myself and wanted to go. This album and this whole next era is really exciting because it’s the first time it’s 100% me. I got to set up the studio sessions, pick the order of the songs, do all of that little stuff which is so important. It gives me a better connection with the listeners of my music and all my fans because it really was 100% raw, really through me. I definitely love the experience, it’s fun.
What was your decision to keep your real name?
I mean, I always liked my name! People in Wisconsin would always call me “Sky-larr,” [mispronounces name] stuff like that. Sometimes people would be like “Stick-ler” or “Stack-ler,” they mess it up. But I like having my real name as my stage name, because it’s not confusing when people are like… “wait what?”
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Well let me tell you this, I’ve been playing piano since I was 5. Started playing when I was really young for math reasons. Because it’s supposed to help with math, so not even for music. Then I just fell in love with piano. I signed myself up in a talent show when I was 9 to play piano. When I went to audition, the teacher was like “no I don’t want you to play piano, I want you to sing.”
At that point, I’d never tried singing before. I thought I’d be bad ‘cause no one in my family does anything musical. Sang for her, got in for the singing, and then sang for the talent show. I immediately fell in love with it. That was the moment when I was like “ahh [singing voice], this is what I am going to do forever.
When did you record your first song?
I recorded my first song probably a month after I found out I could sing. I was writing, but then my mom — after I got a collection of music — took me to a studio in Wisconsin. I recorded a mini EP there. [laughs]
Congrats your album Redemption. How are you feeling now that it’s out?
I’m so excited, I can’t believe it. It’s been such a big secret for a long time of mine, for over a year. I’m really excited that it’s finally out and people can hear my stories. Hopefully relate to the music also, with whatever they’re going through in life.
The visual is cinematic. What was the best memory shooting that?
Yeah! So fun, thank you. There were so many. I just love trying new things, I’m a total guinea pig when it comes to anything weird or crazy. I’ll be like “I wanna do it!” Being in the strings was really fun because they tied me up individually to every single string, which was really fun. Then there was this giant swinging light in one of the black and white scenes we did. It was very on a super thin wire, it was this close [pinches fingers] to falling and hitting me in the head possibly. But I was like “yeah i am ready to do it, let’s go! It’s gonna look cool.” [laughs]. That was funny. It gave my mom a little bit of a heart attack but it was really fun.
How are the boys in LA?
[pause] Nonexistent in my life. [laughs]. This is my uncle actually [points to shooter], so he kicks them to the curb. He’s like “get out of here, nope!” I mean, I’m so focused on music. It’s just 100%. For me, I have time later for guys. They’ll wait. [laughs].
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I have so many. Now, the main goal obviously is Redemption and getting as many people as possible to hear it and hopefully connect with the music. I really wanna go on a tour this year of some sort. I’ve gone on a tour, but not one of my own or of the bigger, larger scales as an opening act. I would love to do that. Of course, winning Grammys. I want to be one of the greats so a long, fun road ahead.
Who would you wanna open for?
I always say Khalid, we’d be a really good fit. Or like a Bruno Mars.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I don’t know if it’s a mix, but sporty put together with grungy. It’s always more casual, but I’ll accessorize it up sometimes to make it a little bit more sophisticated or put together. Today I’m just rocking the casual sporty look.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Well, I live in Orange County. I live in Newport. I love it in Orange County, but we drive up every day pretty much. Usually, we get up early, drive out, I’ll have a rehearsal or a studio session. That usually lasts all day until about 4 or 5 o’clock, then we get food, go home, and do it all over again.
What keeps you in the OC?
I have a younger brother, he’s 11. It’s nice because the schools — he goes to a public school and everything — because it feels more Wisconsin-like. It’s also kind of nice to separate my music so he’s not always surrounded by it. He has his own thing as well with sports and everything.
How long were you guys in Irvine for?
We were in Irvine for 6 years. Last year, we moved to Newport. I love being next to the ocean. I just feel a lot happier when I can see the ocean, but we still go to Irvine still when we workout, etc. I go there everyday ‘cause all my friends are there.
My brother went to UCI!
Omg, they have the best campus. Their food options… amazing!
3 things you need in the studio?
Tea. A microphone… just kidding. [laughs]. Pen and paper, I like to write down all my notes physically. I don’t like doing it on my phone all the time. It just feels more connected when I’m writing it out. I’ll also usually wear heels or have something else like a meeting, so I’ll always bring slippers in my trunk of my car, in case I can always switch out.
How important is social media for your career?
It’s definitely important. It’s a great way for the masses or people that might not know you to get a quick glimpse of what you are and who you are. It’s a love-hate relationship always with social media because I’m not the biggest social media user. Sometimes I have to remind myself like “oh, I should be documenting. This is cool, I’m at rehearsal,” but it’s great. I definitely have a connection with fans all over the world because I can easily just text them.
What’s your favorite influencer to follow on Instagram?
Hmm… I just recently followed The Rock. He is hilarious! He’s so funny. I’ve been enjoying his jokes and everything.
The best encounter you have had with a fan?
We were just talking about this! There’s this one girl in New York that no matter what, she’ll find where we are. She’s so cute, she’ll always be like “hi!” She made a phone case, kind of like mine that says “Redemption album out now” on it. She’s always super supportive and dedicated. I always love seeing her pop out of nowhere, like “hey!” [laughs]