V-Exclusive: Skylar Grey Talks Debut, Changing Pop Music, Em’s ‘King of Hip-Hop’ Title
VIBE: I saw that you surprised Karmin at Lollapolooza during their Billboard set. Are you fans of their music?
SKYLAR GREY: I’ve never met them before, and I hadn’t even heard of them because I’m so out of the pop culture world. I saw them playing “I Need A Doctor”, I was like who’s this? They let me jump in and sing it with them. I didn’t even know who Kim Kardashian was until I was at the Grammy’s, and she was standing there. I was like, ‘Who’s that? I don’t even know who that is,’ and somebody pointed her out. So I don’t pay attention to anything.
How far removed are you from pop culture and why is that?
Well I grew up in a household without cable so, I’d occupy my time without TV and go walking in the woods and playing with my friends. I’d also play music. I grew up outside that pop culture world, [so] I don’t really see a point, unless you really hate your life, to live vicariously through people in Hollywood because it’s all bullshit anyway. I just like to live my life well and not worry about other people’s lives. I can take a good movie, but as far as reality shows and cowboys, and all that other stuff, I’m so not into it.
Do you feel pressure to be “in the know” about what’s going on in pop culture?
Oh, hell yeah. I get to see the truth sometimes about some of the bullshit they put out there, and it’s very unfortunate that they are promoting such an unattainable style because it’s not real. Everybody thinks its so glitz and glam to be in Hollywood, but it’s not.
Any thing in particular that you’ve seen and were just blown away by how fabricated it was?
That’s the thing, I don’t really pay attention, so I couldn’t give you an example right now. One of things that pisses me off is when I hear a rumor that so-so is a dick or so-so is a bitch. I mean maybe they were having a bad day. I mean, everyone in the world has a bad day where they say something they don’t mean, then they have a bad name. It’s almost like a world of little conspiracy theories about celebrities and [the rumors are] put them in the media. It’s retarded. It’s one thing to do an interview and promote your product or art; it’s another thing to create gossip for no reason.
Do you think celebrities do that or media?
No, the media does that. But, sometimes celebrities play into it. There’s a show where there are kids living in mansions, like Cribs for kids or something. I think I saw it at a hotel on tour or something, but this kid on TV had water slides and everything [in his house]. In the rest of America, the kids on TV watch it and think, ‘This is the lifestyle I need to have.’ They go out and steal and do whatever they need to do to get that. I think it just makes people bad. It makes them have the wrong goals in life.
I agree. Now, you’ve mentioned that throughout most of your life you felt out of control. In what ways did you feel out of control, and how did writing this album help?
I just felt like I let other people control my life before. I was trying to do what other people wanted me do or tried to please everyone else. Before I made this album, I went through a process of trying to figure out what made me happy, instead of trying to please everyone else. I moved to the woods and lived in isolation to get away from people who wanted me to see someone else. While I was out there, I did a lot of soul searching and self-discovery and found the superhero in me; that’s why I changed my name. It sounds selfish but, before you can help anyone else, you have to help yourself.