For Justine Skye, struggles lead to success

 

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Photo by Allison Perston
Shoot for the Skye: Justine Skye performs Aaliyah and original music in her soulful set

BY DAVID SHOEMAKER

Features Editor

When someone has the confidence to cover an Aaliyah song, he or she better have the stage presence and killer vocals to pull it off. Justine Skye did just that when she performed Aaliyah’s “I Don’t Wanna” at Baldwin High School on Thursday for the High School Nation tour. Before the show, the Purbalite had the chance to interview the R&B songstress.

Question. Who are your biggest influences?

Skye: Aaliyah, Beyoncé, & Brandy.

Q. Where are you from?

Skye: Brooklyn, NY.

Q. Why did you join The High School Nation Tour and how do you think it will help you?

Skye: I just turned 18, just got out of high school, and I knew that this is my core audience who I need to reach out to.

Q. Have you have any times when you thought you weren’t going to make it and you wanted to give up?

Skye: Yeah, months before Atlantic signed me last March, I was starting to apply to colleges and I thought that I was going to be a regular person attending school. Then, I got denied to NYU and I thought that I was going to be working at McDonald’s. Then, I stopped begging for labels to sign me and I started to focus on who I am and figure out what kind of image I wanted to have. That’s when the labels started coming to me.

Q. Which artists have you worked with?

Skye: I’m actually friends with Pro Era (the rap group) and Joey had a verse on a song on my new EP. We’re both the same age and from Brooklyn, so we decided to work together. That was actually the first collaboration I did.

Q. When did you stop becoming “star-struck” and realize that famous people are just like us?

Skye: That’s actually a funny question, because I was sitting in my room a few days ago and I was thinking, wow, Jay Z and Beyoncé are just like us. They go to the bathroom, drink water, and walk places, sometimes I guess (laughing), just like us.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Skye: Well, my mom is an entertainment attorney, so when I started becoming serious, people thought that I was just another person’s kid who thought they could sing. So probably having to prove to everyone that I can truly sing and I am an artist was the hardest part.

Q. Which artists would you like to work with?

Skye: I would love to work with Drake but not until I am bigger, because once you collaborate with someone like that, there’s like nowhere else to go.

Q. What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?

Skye: The best advice I’ve ever received came from my manager who told me to always believe in myself.

Q. What is your favorite place that you’ve visited?

Skye: I’d have to say L.A. because I know that area the best. This tour is the most traveling I’ve done, so I don’t know that many places. Like where are we right now? (laughing).

Photo by Allison Perston
Photo by Allison Perston
Smooth singing: Skye leaves the crowd in awe during a vocally strong performance