Interview: Skylar Grey Dishes On ‘Don’t Look Down’ Album, Rihanna, Eminem, Skrillex

Singer-songwriter, Skylar Grey, is quite possibly the most down-to-earth artist in the music industry. Her “cool factor” almost supersedes the raw talent she showcases in tracks like “Final Warning” and “Love The Way You Lie” – both featured on her new album Don’t Look Down. VIBE caught up with the songstress last weekend before her performance in L.A. at the Bootleg Theater. Decked out in what looked like an ex-boyfriend’s flannel shirt, ripped jeans and military boots, her style completely matched the venue’s grunge scene. She started the show with a personal favorite “Back From The Dead” (Travis and Big Sean were a no-show) but that’s okay because she rocked it. A few songs into the set, she ditched the flannel and showed off her rock hard abs while belting out the spoof-pop song “C’mon Let Me Ride” featuring Eminem and “Wear Me Out.”

VIBE sat in her dressing room with a cooler between us shooting the shit and (neither one knowing it was FULL of beer – #fail) got a chance to dish about the new album, Don’t Look Down:

VIBE: On the title track “Tower (Don’t Look Down)” you sing, “I’ll be drunk off cheap beer like everybody else.” Do you like cheap beer?
Skylar Grey: Uh huh! I like Bud light. I’m from the Midwest, they love cheap beer – it’s like a thing, with all the kegs and keg parties and everything.

How long can you keg stand?
I’ve never done a keg stand before. I don’t know, I didn’t go to college so I wasn’t really into the whole scene. I didn’t even finish high school.

What about the album/track title? Can you give VIBE readers any insight on the inspiration for that choice?
The song is written from the perspective of someone who is in a small town watching their love leave to follow their dreams, which is basically what I did.

There was a use of a “white suburbia” in the video [for White Suburban], and was curious to see if that was intentional or not?
Kind of, but just the idea of white suburbia is kind of a play on that. I like to keep it authentic no matter how much production I use. The foundation has to be authentic no matter what I do.

What’s your preference when it comes to producing a track and a video and the whole process? “Come and Let Me Ride,” is very pop-ish; it’s very fun compared to your raw, serious side.
Yeah but it’s also very sarcastic. It’s a spoof on pop songs so that’s kind of where I was going with it. A lot of people didn’t realize that, but that’s why I had Eminem on the phone because he’s sarcastic, and it helps the funny aspect. There’s also the bridge, “I’m only fucking with you.” So it’s kind of a joke song. But for some reason I love it because it’s so damn catchy.

“Love The Way You Lie” sounds like a very personal song. Was letting Rihanna sing that originally the plan or is that something you wish you had kept for yourself?
People always ask me if there’s any difference writing for other people or for yourself and there’s not – everything I write comes from a real emotion or experience for me. So it’s weird to hand it off to someone else…

Why’d you give it to Rihanna?
Uhh, because I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I hadn’t.

But you put it on your album now…
Yeah, I put it on the iTunes version. I just felt it had to be out there somewhere because it’s just the origin of that song and everything. It’s very powerful and it meant a lot to me so…

If you could collaborate with one big DJ/producer, and remix a track off the new album (if you haven’t already) who would you imagine working with?
I’d love to have a Skrillex remix or something. I’m friends with him, I just feel like it would be interesting. I’ve worked with Kaskade and Zedd.

Are you going to any EDM festivals this summer?
I’m not really big into the EDM thing. It’s cool, but it’s not really me. I dabble in it, but I would never make an album with EDM music. For some reason midtempo, live instrument stuff is more me.

Photo Credit: Getty Images