Sky is indeed the limit for rising singer Justine Skye.
The Brooklyn-bred belle has been touted as one to watch ever since she burst onto the scene with a cover of Drake’s ‘Headlines.’
In the years since, she’s been steadily building buzz and at 21 is ready to crank her career up a notch.
To help that cause, she departed her longtime label and signed a lucrative deal with Roc Nation/Republic Records.
With an album on the way and her new single ‘U Don’t Know (ft. WizKid)’ burning up the airwaves, we caught up with Skye to chat about her journey and a whole lot more.
Sam (TGJ): We love your new single ‘U Don’t Know’ with WizKid…
Justine Skye: Thank you so much!
TGJ: You’re welcome. How did the collaboration come about and what was it like working with him?
JS: Well, basically, our fans linked us up together because I was really into Afrobeats music. So our fans were like “you guys should work together, you guys could make magic together”. And then finally he reached out to me and I was like “we should work together “ and then we got to the studio, we made a bunch of songs and ‘U Don’t Know’ definitely became the clear single.
TGJ: Cool. And we hear that the video is dropping really, really soon. What can we expect from that?
JS: It’s very sexy; kind of like an intro to the new Justine Skye.
TGJ: The song has a real island vibe to it; given your Jamaican heritage can we expect to hear more of that in your music moving forward?
You can definitely expect more of that in my music. I always have to incorporate that. It just happens naturally too, you know? I’m very excited for everyone to hear how I pepper it into my new music.
TGJ: This year saw you leave Atlantic Records and sign with Roc Nation: what led to that move?
JS: Well, you know, it was definitely time for a change. You have to go where your heart sends you. Especially in the music industry.
TGJ: Over the last three years, you’ve released two EPs – the most recent being ‘Emotionally Unavailable’. With your new situation at the Roc, can we expect a new album soon?
JS: Yes, I’m working on my album; expecting it to drop next year. I’m definitely going to put out some more music before the end of this year just to get people more excited, you know?
TGJ: Who have you been working with? What can we expect in the way of sound?
JS: I’ve been in the studio with incredible people like The Dream, and Tricky Stewart. So, that’s just going to be iconic. And I have a song that Boi Wonder produced which I wrote and I’m really, really excited about that one – it has a real Reggae vibe on it. And I’ve been working with Teck from The Mekanics. Given all the songs I’ve recorded, I feel like I have a song for everyone while still maintaining my own sound throughout.
TGJ: Who are some of your musical influences? And have you met any of them?
JS: Musical influences, I feel like for every member of younger generation, Aaliyah. Beyonce, Jill Scott, Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Usher. Just growing up with my mom, whatever she was playing influenced me.
TGJ: Your mom is a music attorney; has that impacted your approach to the business side of music. Especially following the cautionary tales of the TLCs and many other acts?
JS: I’m absolutely grateful to have an entertainment attorney as a mother because she will always be able to protect me when it comes to deals and situations. Making sure no one ever tries to play me. I also know about more than the average artist, especially the average new artist, because I’ve grown up around it. So it’s definitely a great advantage.
TGJ: The industry is full of twists and turns; you’ve been open about being turned down by labels in the past. What motivates you on this journey?
JS: It’s really easy to get discouraged in this industry, especially in the era of social media and everything. Like everyone can show his or her opinion of you to you, and it’s just showcased out to the world. It’s really easy to get discouraged or insecure about singing. But what really motivates me, as clichéd as it sounds, is my fans and my team. They keep me going, they push me harder.
Because sometimes I’ll be like “you know, no one cares,” and I used to get emotional and get in my feelings. And then you’ll see how hyped your fans are for you to blow and the music you make, your shows, and all you do, and then you remember that this is what you’re meant to be doing.
TGJ: You’re now repping the Roc – home to so many big names. Is that pressure at all?
JS: I think it’s more of a great thing. Everyone’s so different and all the artists are so unique in their own way. It’s more of a family out there. No one is in competition. It’s just about wanting everyone to win. But I love the fact that there’s so many amazing artists and writers signed there.
TGJ: You’ve been tipped as one to watch by so many.
So to help the masses get to know you, let’s play a game. Your new single is titled ‘U Don’t Know,’ using that phrase tell us three things we don’t know about Justine Skye.
JS: I like that! So…
– You don’t know that purple is actually not my favorite color, it’s green.
– You don’t know that the song ‘U Don’t Know’ is actually written in Jamaica.
– And you don’t know that I absolutely despise mustard. Just letting you know that I never put mustard on anything.
TGJ: One thing a lot of people want to know, after all the Instagram snaps, is whether you and WizKid are dating?
JS: We’re definitely…cool. He’s definitely someone who I spend a lot of time with and we’re getting to know each other. We just met, so…good vibes…good vibes [laughs].
TGJ: If you could you be in a super group with two other females, who would they be and why?
JS: If I could be in a super group? That’s a tough question. Probably would have to be Beyonce and Rihanna.
TGJ: That would be very, very…interesting.
JS: That would be so insane.
TGJ: And finally, where does Justine Skye want to be in the next 3 years?
I hope to be performing at award shows, walking up on that stage, grabbing some awards. Definitely working on my second album, and maybe acting. ?
[Interview by Sam + Nehemiah]