Justine Skye is the definition of a strong black female with something to say. The singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, and overall entertainer hails from Brooklyn, New York, with music being a part of her since she can remember. After her cover of Drake’s “Headlines” went viral, a 19-year-old Justine would eventually sign to Atlantic Records—succumbing to the confinements of the music industry which put a limit on her creativity and artistry.
Fast forward to 2021, Skye stands wiser, more confident, and determined to take her career to the next level. Most recently, she released her newest single titled “Intruded,” produced by the legendary Timbaland. The song’s cinematic visual sees her good friend Bella Hadid.
Additionally, Justine partnered up with fashion brand Garage for their spring campaign titled Play Loud, Stay You, which fused the realms of fashion and music together. The goal is to encourage audiences all around the world to turn up the noise on their individualism, something Justine has valued tremendously as she shines into her newfound independence.
Flaunt caught up with Justine via Zoom to discuss her partnership with Garage, her favorite pieces, love for fashion, collaborating with Timbaland on “Intruded,” shooting the visual, adjusting to COVID-19, forthcoming album Space and Time, goals, and more!
How you been holding up with everything?
I’m good, I’m good. I have rehearsal today, getting ready for some shows. Getting ready for the album. I have some virtual shows coming up for some colleges. You know, everything’s virtual nowadays. Also preparing, you can never be too prepared.
How do you like the college shows compared to other shows?
Not going to lie, college shows are so fun because these are people who’ve been in class, and they want to let loose and have fun. I remember one time, I was singing a ballad and people were crowd surfing to it. I’m like oh, they really want to turn up. It doesn’t matter what’s happening. [laughs] Their energy is so great.
What does this partnership with Garage mean to you?
It definitely is a huge honor to be recognized, to be a part of this. It’s extremely amazing, so grateful for that.
What do you like about Garage?
What I love the most is what they stand for. The clothes are amazing obviously, but the message with this campaign with Play Loud, Stay You is exactly what I guess I try to push out to the world. Being an artist, the world moves so fast and you have to make sure you make noise. Stay true to who you are, be unapologetically you. Keep going.
Talk about what your favorite pieces are and why.
One of my favorite pieces are the cargo pants because that’s such a me thing. I love to be comfortable, the cargo pants really have to be one of my favorites. I like the vest as well too. The whole fit that they gave me, the bandeau, the vest, the cargo pants, it’s very me. If I walked into the store and had to pick something out, it would most likely be that. [laughs]
What’s your love for fashion? Talk about blending the worlds of fashion, music, acting, etc.
Music and fashion go hand in hand. Obviously being an artist, you have to be wearing clothes. That is who you are. It’s expressing yourself through your clothing. Sometimes it’s difficult for me because I love to be comfortable, but then sometimes you know what, I’m going to go all out. My fashion’s really dependent on my mood mostly, but where I’ve been going recently especially with the new sound of this album, we’re creating a universe. It’s really, really important to always be in character.
Who or what inspired “Intruded”? I know it was produced by Timbaland.
That song was the first of many Space and Time Sessions, this miniseries that I did on IGTV with Timbaland. It was the first one, the first beat he ever sent me. What inspired it was whatever I was going through in the moment, being so in love to the point that you know this person cannot leave you no matter what’s happening. As much as they say they want to leave you, they can’t. It has this weird quirkiness to it if you listen to it. I know that on first listen, a lot of people think “oh my God, I love this song! It’s such a cool, cute love song.” No, she’s kind of twisted. It’s basically saying you’re not going anywhere and I know it. Try if you want to, but you’ll be back.
Was it done in the studio with Timbaland or how did that come about?
That one started remotely because it was written in the beginning of the pandemic. Literally the beginning of it, around this time last year.
How was it adjusting to COVID-19 for you? Especially because you’re a touring artist as well.
That’s really the first thing that brought me back into feeling like an artist again, because I was supposed to go on tour and no one really knew what’s going to happen at all. A lot of artists started to become really flustered, how do we maneuver during these times? Really all the tools are right in front of you, and they always have been. I started doing a couple of covers online, then Timb saw that and reached out. My managers already had a great relationship with him, worked with him in the past. It’d already been a conversation for us to work together, always been something that I’ve manifested since the beginning. I knew it’d would happen, I just didn’t know it’d happen this soon or in this way. I really have no complaints because we got to focus on what we wanted it to be like and build something from scratch. Such a beautiful process.
What was your creative vision with the music video?
Whew, the inspo for this video came from a photo that my creative directors found online. It was from a 2003 Dolce & Gabbana campaign. That’s the first image we saw that started putting things in gear, to being like “okay boom, how do we expand off of this?” Really the concepts stem from us being human beings obsessed with their phones and FaceTime. Especially during this pandemic, a lot of things were through technology. We wanted it to feel like a fashion film somewhat. The great, amazing director from Copenhagen, the whole story of how the video came about was such a “keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Is it going to happen? Is it not going to happen? Being an artist that’s the whole cycle, the whole tug-o-war of it. In the end, it’s always super worth it. You feel so much better because you really go through it to get to such an amazing place. You definitely appreciate a lot of these things more.
How was the shooting with Bella Hadid? I know she’s a good friend of yours.
A couple of my friends were in this video. Timbaland obviously because he produced the record. Bella’s a good friend of mine, Yachty’s a good friend of mine. It felt good that all my friends were able to come through, be super supportive and play a part in something that’s so special to me.
What was the highlight form the shoot?
The whole thing in general. I can’t disregard any aspect of it. Us getting to London, shooting this, and making all this happen during such a strange time for the world was such a huge accomplishment for us. I can’t disregard any moment of it because all of it is a highlight.
What can we expect from your album, Space and Time?
Space and Time is what the sessions were called that I did with Timbaland on Instagram. It’s really a play off of how much space we had in between us while working on this, how much time we had to work on this as well too, which is everything we needed to accomplish what we did. We’re calling it the Bad Bitch Manual. Every single song on there takes you through a different side of me. I always try to picture if there was an album that could represent you specifically, what would it be? I wrote this, so it’s me. [laughs]
What is the significance in white gold with the album?
Space and time, the whole futuristic element. I’ve always loved chrome and white gold, that world, but yellow gold looked better on my skin. The way that this album hits me and how I visualize it, if I had to choose which gold it’d be, it’s definitely white gold.
Oh yeah, there’s definitely some amazing features on there. I have a really, really dope Afrobeat artists on there too, which is the next single. I have another iconic legend feature. There are some hints out there in the world if you want to go check that out. [laughs]
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in the music industry?
To stand up for yourself and to believe in yourself as well too, as easy or cliches as that sounds. This world, especially this industry moves so fast. Things are changing quickly, you have to stay grounded. If you think you work hard, work harder.
Oh I like that a lot. What drives your work ethic?
Honestly my team, and the goals we have set for us as well too. That is definitely what drives the work effort, reaching the goals we have set for us.
What goals do you have now?
Big ones! Taking over, to just take over. Take over this industry, take over this world. Really bring art back.
Talk about being both an introvert and extrovert, and what you’re most comfortable with.
Well, I would say that I’m a hybrid of both of them. I’m a Virgo so sometimes we really want to be alone, and sometimes we don’t. It’s dependent on what’s going on honestly. For the most part, I like to be with people I feel comfortable with. Sometimes I can act out and be friends with everyone. [laughs]
What do you do for self-care?
I’m still figuring it out what works for me. Sometimes I write stuff down. Sometimes I put on a movie, Netflix series. Sometimes I try to read a book or go for a walk. The weather’s getting nice here in Brooklyn, so walks around here are super beautiful. Things to keep my mind calm and loving yourself.
Favorite collab thus far?
Obviously this album I did with Timbaland. [laughs]
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Get ready. All I gotta say is get ready, and to stream “Intruded.”