Cathy: How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it before?
Skyler: It's my own special brand of rock 'n roll. It's pop rock, but listeners tend to hear whatever they want from it. Different people have told me how obvious the country influence is in my music. Others tell me how obvious the 90s Alt Rock influence is. Whatever style of music people like is what they tend to hear in my music. C: There are obvious pop and country roots within your music. If you had to choose one, which would you say your sound and primary influences lean more towards? Why?
S: I went through phases as a kid. For the first 8 years of my life, I refused to listen to anything but the Beatles. For about three years after that, I wouldn't listen to anything except N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, and mainstream pop music. Then, all throughout middle school, I worked my up through the ages of early rock 'n roll. I rekindled my love for the Beatles and started listening to their influences (Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan). I immersed myself in Motown and 60s AM pop. Eventually, I become enamored with classic rock. Starting with the Who and Led Zeppelin, I began to discover the Cars, Aerosmith, and the Stones. This, in turn, opened me up to the Clash and the Ramones. At the same time, I started to discover Springsteen, Petty, and Mellencamp. Shortly after that, I began dating a girl who introduced me to country music. For years, I refused to listen to anything with a twang, but she got me into Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift. That was a very long explanation of a very simple answer: I'm influenced by rock 'n roll, which means I am influenced by everything. Rock 'n roll is just a hybrid of Blues, Country, Jazz, Folk, R&B, and Pop. It all comes together to form the music I am playing. C: Music isn't a new thing for you - you've come out with multiple CDs and you're not even 2 decades old yet. Does songwriting come easy for you? What do you think the hardest part about writing a song is?
S: I've been writing songs since I was in third grade. It's always felt like a very natural way to express myself. When I started writing with my songwriting partners, Adam and Michael Scharff (the Scharff Brothers), was when it really took off. Once we found the best way for the three of us to collaborate, it made writing effortless. C: After all these years, do you still remember how to play all of your songs, or are you the sort of musician that primarily sticks with current material and avoids older tunes?
S: It's definitely a struggle to remember some of my older songs. My first five albums were released in a two-year period, but most were never promoted and I never played most of those songs live. I was ages 14 to 16. Since I began collaborating with the Scharff Brothers, my songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds, and those old songs just wouldn't compare to what we've been writing for the past 3 years. These songs are so well crafted, that I'd be happy to be playing these 50 years from now. C: How many instruments do you play, and of all of them which is your favorite? Why?
S: I play guitar, bass, drums, sing, and dabble in piano. My first instrument was drums, and playing for other bands and in pits for plays was how I made money during the summers of my high school years. Bass was the instrument that I was accepted into Berklee College of Music on, but I switched to Voice during my second semester. I took several years of piano lessons, but most of what I do is self-taught. My favorite instrument is definitely guitar. It's the instrument that feels most natural and sounds the best to sing with. I do most of my writing on guitar. C: Do you ever have to deal with situations where people discredit you or don't take you seriously as a musician because of your age? How do you get around that?
S: I certainly have had people write me off, simply because of my age. The assumption is that at 19, there is no way I could have come into my own yet. I just have them listen to my music or watch me play, and they tend to get over it pretty quickly. C: What upcoming things are going on for you? Tours?
S: Promoting the heck out of my music! C: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
S: Entertaining and bringing joy to as many people as I possibly can through my music. C: What do you believe is the biggest problem with the music industry currently? If you had the opportunity to fix it, what would you do?
S: I don't even know where to begin... C: Hypothetical question time! If you had the chance to interview your biggest musical influence, who would it be, and what's one question you would ask them?
S: I'd interview Paul McCartney and say, "Share your genius with me, please?" C: If you were stuck on a deserted island and had the opportunity to take 3 things with you, what would they be & why?
S: Guitar, laptop, internet connection. This way I could still create my music and share it with the world. C: If you could choose any animal to be your own personal mascot, what would it be and why?
S: That question might be too deep for me... ;-) C: Closing statements?
S: Thank you so much for the interview!