A (Young) Woman’s Worth: Justine Skye On Growing Into Your Confidence

In a corner of Justine Skye’s Tumblr page lies a comment about regurgitated interview questions.

“It’s a bit redundant … but each platform reaches a different audience so.. you gotta tell the same story til they know it by heart ya dig,” she responds like a seasoned vet to the follower’s comments on asking about her Tyga collaboration “Collide” and working with DJ Mustard.

But Skye’s no stranger to Vixen. Here, the purple-haired leader of #UnicornNation opens up about the life and times of 19-year-old Justine Skye. With her Emotionally Unavailable EP dropping in May, she has a wealth of experience to pour out on wax. Just before her first headlining show at SOB’s on Monday (March 16), the Brooklyn-born singer candidly shares her thoughts about finding balance between catering to her fans and honoring privacy, and personal growth. Skye’s the limit.

My confidence comes from:
Being that kid that was really scared and in the background a lot. I decided that I didn’t want to be that person anymore. Life is too short to be scared and not take risks. I’d rather be the person that’s like ‘I messed up’ than ‘I wish I did that.’

On her hair:
My hair is always going to be purple, that’s kind of my thing. It doesn’t matter what length I make it, as long as it’s purple. One time I tried bangs and people just weren’t feeling it at all, but it’s my hair. It’s my unicorn mane, and it’s definitely very important to me. It’s also my body, and so I don’t really care about other people’s opinion of it.

My beauty must-haves:
I’ve been doing this brown lip gloss kind of thing. It’s MAC Chestnut lip liner and then I use NARS Supervixen lip gloss.

On heartbreak at a young age:
I’m growing into a young woman. I’m going to be 20 this year and my sound – and really just my life – is changing dramatically. My love life is changing dramatically too. I went through a whole relationship and that was all cool. I was young and in love. Now I’m older and there’s still a lot of experiences I’m going to go through in life, but now I’m well-aware and not so naïve. During the first EP, I was in a relationship and it was the introduction, like ‘Hey guys, I’m signed to Atlantic Records, and I’m in love, and everything’s great.’ Now, I’ve been through some hard times. I’ve been through a heartbreak and seen the business side of the music industry. Now I see things clearer.

On learning social media boundaries:
What really drew the line was when I was in public and someone grabbed me and said, ‘Hey, what happened with you and [your ex] Glen?’ I got confused. This person grabbed me like I knew them and I was going to lash out like, ‘Why would you ask me something like that?’ I had to remember that my whole relationship was public. I learned I got to scale back if I’m talking to someone new and I can’t be so open in public with it. This is my life. Emotions are involved with this and this isn’t healthy to have people coming up to me asking me about this all the time. I kind of had to find a happy medium between talking to new people and still keeping my fans in the loop. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or not, you want to acknowledge your significant other and be like, ‘Hey, I’m happy’ and post things, but I’m not going to be as open about it like my last relationship. It’s definitely a lesson learned.

On comparisons in the music industry:
It’s the worst thing ever. There’s always competition in the world, but you don’t have to be enemies. You can empower each other. I feel like it’s coming back though, like in the ’90s, when female R&B singers empowered one another, got on each another’s songs, and did tours and shows together. I feel like that was super cool. Me and this other artist, Kehlani, talked about it the other day. We’re going to get in the studio. We were saying we should go on tour with these female artists and do this whole “woman empowerment” thing. That would be so dope and I don’t know why people, especially women, always want to compete with each other and bring one another down. If we come together and support one another, we could be so powerful and men would have no say in anything (Laughs).

Mentors-in-my-head:
I definitely look up to Rihanna. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and she’s not afraid of taking risks, and trying different things whether it’s fashion or music. She’s all about what makes her comfortable. Meeting Rihanna [at the Roc Nation pre-Grammys brunch] was a crazy huge moment for me. She already knew who I was too, which was really, really crazy. I walked up to her friend Melissa [Forde] and she goes, ‘Hey, Justine,’ and I go ‘Wait, hold up. You know my name? Is this real? Am I tripping?’

Another person is Beyoncé. She’s really the hardest worker in the music industry, and just in life. She’s always pushing her limits and always keeps her fans entertained. Aaliyah, too. She inspires many female artists my age. Just her swag and how chill she was, and Missy Elliott. When it comes to writing, her melodies, her phrases and metaphors, she’s really creative—it’s crazy. When I’m in the studio, I try to get as creative as she does.

What to expect from my upcoming Emotionally Unavailable EP:
There’s a fun, party song called “On & On”. I feel like it’s a great representation of me. Travi$ Scott is getting on it too, so that’s really dope. The EP’s coming out in May and I feel like it’s also a great time too, because [my fans] are like, ‘You went through a breakup and we need answers.’ I’m not going to blurt out my whole life on the Internet, and just be all crazy emotional. I’m not that type of person, but it’s in my music. All the answers they’re going to be looking for will be through that.

Best advice I ever received:
There’s a quote that I live by, and it’s “Never argue with a fool because onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” I feel like I’m still struggling with following that quote, but that’s something everyone should live by because a lot people like to fight back and argue, and don’t chose their battles wisely. When you’re arguing with a fool, you’re the fool for even going back and forth. You got to learn when to be the bigger person, especially in the entertainment business. When you’re in the limelight, you can’t always lash out.

ALSO SEE: A Woman’s Worth: Estelle On Owning Your Sexuality

Justine Skye heads to SOB’s on Monday, March 16. For tickets, click here.

Photo Credit: Instagram/Justine Skye, Graphic: Epiphany Cole