In 3rd grade, Skyler wasn't on the playground at recess, he was on stage performing for his peers. That's how it all started for this 19 year old country singer. Skyler released an EP titled "Take You Away" in April of 2011 and it is available on iTunes. He has played over 250 shows for his fans.
We’re Taken Away by Skyler and his Band of Thieves
May 26, 2011 by FV Editors If all of life were that great new music video you saw on YouTube, Skyler would have written the song, played all of the instruments, and directed the video.From performing on imaginary stages during recess in the third grade, to becoming a multi-instrumentalist with a full-length album by the ninth grade, and now a up-n-comer to keep your eye. He’s got over 250 gigs under his belt, writes his own music, and just recently released his second EP, titled "Take You Away".
Fanvasion caught up with Skyler on a rare day off to get to know him a little better and now you can too. Read our interview below, watch the video and if you haven’t already give Skyler a listen.Can you tell me a little bit about your musical upbringing and how it got you this point?
Sure, um well my parents introduced me to The Beatles when I was about three years old, and I just fell in love with music. All throughout elementary school I was constantly trying to form bands because I wanted to start the next Beatles, starting in Kindergarten. I remember in third grade I actually had auditions for a boy band. I would get guys from all around my school to come and audition, they would have to sing and dance.Were a boy band fan?
Yeah, and this was back when ‘N Sync were really popular and Backstreet Boys were really popular, so I wanted to do something like that. Around that same time was when I started writing music and I started playing drums. Then I eventually learned how to play guitar, bass, piano and I just sort of went from there and started doing everything.You’ve been writing and recording for years, what’s your process for writing music? Are any of your songs based off personal experiences … or something you would like to happen?
Yeah, a lot of the songs are from personal experiences; especially on the first CD, Long Gone. Most of those are all from personal experiences that really happened and I wanted to sort of tell stories and express that those feelings I was feeling at the time, because I knew a lot of people could relate to them. With this new CD a lot of the songs are more ideas that I had; that I talked to my song writing partners about, maybe that they had … um, rather than necessarily actual events.So you grew up listening to The Beatles and you’re a Backstreet Boys fan. Who are some of your other musical influences and how do they affect your sound?
Um, well around probably by sophomore or junior year of high school I really, really started to become influenced by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. So then that really started to influence my sound and probably around my senior year in high school is when I started transitioning and started listening to Country music for the first time. People like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban have become huge influences in my sound.Well, people have called you “the male Taylor Swift”.
Yeah they have, and that’s great I love it.Like I said, you’ve been compared to Taylor Swift. But, how would you describe your music for those that haven’t heard it?
Uh well it’s a mixture between Country, Pop, and Rock music. I always just called it rock-n-roll, but people really seem to latch onto the country/rock or pop/country aspect of it.Tell me about your single “Take You Away”!
“Take You Away” is the first single off of the new CD called Take You Away. And it’s a story about uh – you know – from the singers point of view, there’s this girl who he’s just enamored in… enamored of… enamored by…enamored something. [Laughs] I’ll have to check in the English dictionary for the correct saying of that. Um, who he’s just infatuated with, but he realized that she has no idea who he is. He just sees her, ah – going through the motions, and not ah – being with guys who he feels…um – like he could – ah.. really give her something that they aren’t, and really treat her right. Then so, the whole idea is ‘I’ll take you away from all that’. I will give you everything that you deserve.Kind of an anthem for a lot of people out there.
Well uh, that’s what I hope – that’s what I hope for.You have a band that plays with you called Band of Thieves. Where did that stem from?
Yeah, uh – The Band of Thieves, they actually for the longest time didn’t have a band name. So that just really confused everybody, everyone was like ‘so is the band called Skyler?’, ‘are you called Skyler?’ what’s going on. So we finally had to come up with a band name, and we’re all huge fans of Taylor Swift and when her new record came out one of the favorite song of all of ours was the very last track on it, called “Long Live”. And there’s this one line in it that says “a band of thieves in ripped up jeans got to rule the world”, and so we were talking about that and one of them said ‘oh, a band of thieves’ – Skyler and the Band of Thieves…and it just stuck.You’ve been touring a lot since last year, what was your most memorable performance so far?
Probably our most memorable performance was at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. We arrived just before – actually not…just as a blizzard was hitting South Burlington. And we loaded in, in the snow storm and you know just kept our fingers crossed people would show up because we had never played in Vermont before. Um, and – you know God love them, our fans showed up and filled the room… in a blizzard; our first time in Vermont, so that was a real treat.Who would be a ‘dream come true’ artist you’d like to work with?
Um, well most of my favorite artists are unfortunately either really old or dead. [Laughs] But uh right now, I’d love to work with Taylor Swift. She really seems to be on top of her game, and I want to work with somebody who – you know is really hitting their stride.Your single, “Take You Away” – that we were just talking about – was just released this past month. Are there plans for a full-length record in the works?
Uh, well this is our second EP, so second half length album. Ah I mean we could potentially put both of them together and release it as one CD, but I’d hate doing that. It just seems so cheap. So, I would love to record a full-length album of all new material, but the time has to be right. So, who knows – maybe a year from now we’ll be talking about my full-length record.Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day off to talk with me about your music.
Well, it was my pleasure thank you for having me.
Skyler - Long Gone EP
Reviewed by: cavanaughpark09
In today’s music scene it seems that pop is mixed with every existing genre, gaining larger audiences for artists, and new music for fans. While I normally wouldn’t give a country album a spin Skyler’s “Long Gone EP” was given to me by a friend whose musical tastes I trust, and after a few listens I’m glad that I do.
A Maine native, Skyler began his career on the playground during elementary school recess. Becoming a multi-instrumentalist by middle school, and with several original CDs under his belt before high school graduation it seems like this artist is poised for success. This release, produced and recorded by Jonathan Wyman, and mastered by Adam Ayan, readies the full band for a wider audience.
The EP opens with “Hold My Hand,” a song that if nothing else dates Skyler himself. The song screams high school, with lyrics like “can’t wait to read your words as they reach my phone,” which most of today’s youth can easily relate to. The song is simple with a sing-along feel provided by the backing vocals. It’s almost too simple. Despite the undoubtedly high school view of a relationship the entire sound is very clear and polished.
“This Daydream (Nashville)” is a huge step forward from the previous song. The song is less of a gang vocal, and more of Skyler’s voice. While the message of getting “back home to you” has been done before Skyler manages to put so much description into his verses that the song seems more like a story than most artists today are able to pull off.
With songs “Stephanie” and “Any Stupid Thing” Skyler continues the practice of descriptive songwriting, with small details that really make the songs stand out. “Stephanie” is probably the most country sounding song on the record, and is catchy and addictive. “Any Stupid Thing,” almost sounds like an extension of the previous song. . With lyrics like “I picked out the ring, ‘cause I’d say any stupid thing… you’re my whole world, you’re my everything” it sounds like the EP’s opener, definitely showing the artist with a very young view of relationships.
If any songs on this EP would make me a country fan it is easily the closing “It’s Just the Night.” Skyler’s descriptive songwriting is clearly going to be an asset in his future. The chorus, with the full band’s backing echo of “bring on the night, bring on the night” is infectious and will stay stuck with you for days. It is simply the song on the release that shows the most potential for the music this band is going to be recording in the future.
Skyler is clearly embracing both pop and country, and clearly makes both work for him because this album is definitely not a weak contender. I’m looking forward to seeing him play live and to hearing what kind of full-length he might release. However, a lot of bands seem to fall victim to writing to please a certain age group. Skyler, it seems, is right in the middle of two very different groups, but most of this music makes me sure that the next release is going to make me eat my words.
Recommended If You Likesinger-songwriters, a lot of guitar, a little bit country
-Introduce yourself:I’m Skyler.
-Your EP “Take You Away” was released in April, for those who may not have it yet, where is it available for purchase?iTunes, Napster, Amazon, skylertunes.com, etc.
-Can you tell us a bit about recording the album (how long did it take, where did you record, etc)?We recorded this record in Windham, ME with Jonathan Wyman in 5 days. It was fun and quick! You can see videos of the recording process at youtube.com/skylertunes.
-Any fun stories from recording?Unfortunately, our recording sessions were bogged down with illnesses. Fortunately, we had a camera running, so we have plenty of footage of a sleeping John with the producers dogs cuddled up with him on the couch. We tried to only wake him up when it was time to record his fiddle parts….
-Do you have a fav. song on the album? And why did you choose that song?My current favorite song on the album is “Hold On (Pray).” I love how tender it is at first and how rocking it gets toward the end.
-Fav. song to perform live?My favorite song to perform live is “It Kills Me.” It allows me to put my guitar down and really connect with the audience.
-Do you have any upcoming shows to support the new album?We have plenty of shows! You can check out when we’re coming to your area at skylertunes.com.
-Is there someone that you have not worked with yet, that you would like to? (for example a producer, writer, artist)Taylor Swift would be a blast to collaborate with.
-Any last words/message to fans:Thank you for all of your support. Not of this would be possible without you!
"I love the way you look," Skyler sings, "when you're holding my hand."
The nineteen-year-old musician, who hales from Maine, is singing to his girlfriend, who makes him feel... in love, as his words describe it.
His start was in the third grade, opting for a performance on a makeshift stage over playing with his friends during recess. With an audience of fellow students and teachers around him, Skyler had the motivation to pursue his dreams. And that he did. Various instruments could be found in his hands by the seventh grade, and songs like Hold My Hand and Any Stupid Thing are what derived from Skyler's pen.
He, and band members Adam, Michael, and John have released a poignant and interpretive CD about love. To the girl who's already taken, and the one he'd swim the Rio Grande with in Stephanie, to falling into love in Any Stupid Thing, Skyler's infatuated. "You're my whole world," he tells the girl he's desperately fallen for, "my everything." The emotion Skyler lets out in this song is the perfect example of how many of us can feel when we're in love with someone who's either out of our reach, out of our league, or who doesn't even know we exist. If she would would only talk to him, he'd be a complete wreck.
Relationships go completely awry in It's Just The Night. One girl is pleading with her boyfriend to take her back and another is making love in the back of a pickup truck.
But worst of all, it's Nicky K. who doesn't realize they are not alone. 'Cause in his head, he's cheating on her with the girl he met at the bar last night. (He was gonna take her home/She was gonna get it right.)
Whoa... Skyler's treading the mirky waters of relationships gone way wrong... but in This Dream it's different.
No cheating. No lying. Nothing but pure love and infatuation is on Skyler's mind.
"A million nights of wanting to be back there by your side," he dreams. "You'll be there on your front porch with your arms open wide." He just wants to make it from Nashville to Boston, hoping it's pure and true.
This dream will carry him, and pull what's left of him back to his love.
It's carrying him, alright. To her, to music fans everywhere, and to magazines, television, and the radio. He's currently pursuing his dreams at Berklee College of Music. He's the owner of five full-length CDs, and with over 300 gigs already behind him, Skyler is going places.
At twenty, he now has a growing fanbase, and with his guitar, Skyler is well on his way to stardom. After listening to his EP Long Gone and interviewing him, I know he's got it. I really enjoy the vibe his music sends out; the mood is happy, energetic, and grabs your attention. Skyler is gluten free and prefers the guitar over drums because it woos the girls. He's unique, and that is difficult to find in today's industry.
With five beautiful songs full of relatable lyrics and that country sound I love so much, he has an amazing EP in his hands.
The talent. The voice. The instrumental skills. And that gorgeous smile.
He's got so much more to say, but for now, he's speechless.
Long Gone was recorded and produced by Jonathan Wyman (Halo Studios) and mastered by Adam Ayan (Gateway Mastering).
Skyler will be our featured Summer Artist in July 2011 on the Rising Stars Webshow, a network of the Radio Disney Club.
Ch.L.: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?
Answer: The first time I looked out into a crowd and saw the entire audience singing the words to one of my songs. That was definitely a proud moment for me.
Ch.L.: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?
Answer: Definitely myself. I'm always trying to strive for something better. I always want to outdo myself.
Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Answer: I like to go out and see movies. It's a nice way to force myself to relax. I can't check my phone or my email. It forces me to just chill out.
Ch.L.: Is there anyplace you haven't played that you would like to?
Ch.L.: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
Answer: No backing tracks!! Everything that you hear is played live. And I am very proud of that fact. Many of the bands that we play with use pre-recorded backing tracks.
Ch.L.: When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Answer: Never! I wish I did! There are so many cities that I'll have to revisit down the road....
Ch.L.: Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they allow you a private life?
Answer: For the most part my fans are very polite. If they see me on the street, they'll come up to me and say hi. I'll talk to them for a bit and then move along. I like it. It allows me to have a private life but still get to interact with my fans.
Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Answer: www.skylertunes.com .... You'll find songs, up to the minute news, my twitter feed, shows, videos, pictures, etc. You'll also find out how you can promote the band in your area!
Ch.L.: What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?
Answer: I wish I had written "Yesterday" by the Beatles. It's one of those songs where I go, "why didn't I think of that???" Of course, I was wasn't alive when Paul McCartney wrote it......
Ch.L.. What message would you like to send your European fans?
Answer: We're as eager to tour Europe as you are!Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )www.MySpace.com/ChristianLamitschka
1) Introduce yourself! I am Skyler.
2) What inspired you to take part of the music industry? When I was young, my parents used to play their Beatles records for me. That's when I fell in love with music. That's when I knew.
3) Who is your biggest role model of the genre you take part in? On a professional level, I certainly look up to Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.
4) How do you feel that you've grown as an artist? As I get older, as I keep working, I get better at everything I do. It just comes with the territory.
5) What music festival (Bamboozle, Warped, etc.) do you wish of playing? I would love to play Bonnaroo.
6) If you were to go on tour who would you pick & why? Taylor Swift or Keith Urban. They're both great performers and really seem to be on top of their game.
7) What made you chose the genre you are in? I didn't choose it, it chose me.
8) How does it feel to be part of the music industry?It feels great!
Check out BackStage Interviews' Skype Video with Skyler!
Review: Skyler “Take You Away” [EP]
There are a whole lot of people – especially musicians - who would scoff at the idea that they could learn something from a 19 year old “kid”. But Maine’s pop rock sensation, Skyler, could really take them to school. Since third grade, Skyler has been working to make his musical dreams come true. By sixth grade he was a multi-instrumentalist, and just one year later had converted his bedroom into a recording studio. By ninth grade, he released his debut full-length album, followed by four more prior to graduation. He’s played 250 gigs to date and even found time to excel at Berklee College of Music for a year.
His latest EP, “Take You Away”, which arrived this April, is poised to catapult this young man into superstardom. With a voice and vibe that just makes you feel fuzzy and warm all over,Skyler is the tonic for troubled times. The EP begins with the shimmering “Empty Rooms”, a nifty little anthem that impresses with a memorable chorus and lyrics that demonstrate Skylercan write to universal appeal despite his young age. The mood grows sober with the acoustic picking at the beginning of “Hold On (Pray)”, but this song of encouragement swells with lucidity by the time the sparkling chorus rolls around. With uplifting strings and an infectious backbeat, the title track – quite the serenade - is guaranteed to win over the heart of any girl. The proper ballad is “It Kills Me”, complete with dazzling backing vocals during the guitar solo, which comes straight out of the 80s power ballad songbook. The party ends too soon with “Sentimental”, a worthy upbeat closer with breezy verses sandwiching yet another catchy chorus.
Skyler’s music is modern pop rock at its best – “Take You Away” will appeal to fans of Ryan Cabrera (whom he’s opened for), Lifehouse, and Michelle Branch.
Lemonade Magazine did a follow up interview with Skyler for their May 2011 issue. Check it out!