Ranging from dance music to soft emotional ballads, music by Skylar Batz has all the glittering potential of a six-ring circus. As a current student of Berklee School of Music, she’s been learning all the ins-and-outs of production for a while now, but her artistry extends far beyond the mixing board. Heading up the new podcasting effort for Motif, she also interviews other artists who take time to pop by The Parlour for a brief chat – but we figured it was high-time she got her own time in the limelight.
With clean piano chords mixed throughout the electrified beats, her songs like “Moving On” and “Lonely Girl” exhibit a more emotional side. Conversely, the more EDM-side of her work is best shown through the dramatic vintage-slanted “Golden Hour” and R&B-inspired “Glassword.” With such versatile skills and intriguing tastes, I had the opportunity to pose some questions to the queen mix-a-lot about her experiences in the music industry as a whole.
Angelina Singer (Motif): What inspired you to pursue the production side of songwriting?
Skylar Batz: Music production is a male-dominated industry, just like many other things in today’s world. I have never liked to be the center of attention. I love the behind the scenes in the music industry. It’s not only about the musicians and the instruments; it’s also about the engineers, the sound techs and the set-up crew. Without these players, the magic can’t happen. I find it so interesting how sound can be manipulated and be made to sound different. I also have found that only 7% of music producers are women, and I think that is crazy. I want to change that. I want to show women, they can excel in a male dominated field.
AS: Is there a particular song you’ve written that feels most relevant to who you are today?
SB: Every song that I have written in the past has related to the time and space I was in, in that moment. It’s weird to re-read lyrics from years past and think, “What was I going through?” The song that most related to me now is the new song I have coming out called “me in the corner.” I feel this relates to a lot of people. It’s about wondering if you have the time for a new relationship and what is going to happen with this person. I think it relates to me mentally as a person – not physically or emotionally. This song, you can hear and feel is different from my other songs.
AS: If not for music, what would you be doing instead?
SB: If not for music, weirdly enough, I would have wanted to go into the Olympics for swimming. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years. I hurt my rotator cuff doing butterfly and that dream died after that. But thinking back on it, I don’t think I really should, or wanted to not, do music as a career.
AS: What about music challenges you the most?
SB: I was never classically trained in music. Saying this, I learned backwards. I learned creativity and having fun before the being taught the theory part. Now that I’m at Berklee School of Music, I’m expanding my knowledge on all the things that I didn’t know before.
AS: Can you share a favorite moment from a gig (back when those could happen in person)?
SB: I have been lucky enough to be on stage and in back of the stage. I’ve found I like being behind the scenes more than being on stage. One of my favorite memories is working as a tech person at The Met. I definitely miss The Met – one of the shows that was really fun to work at was the Royal Crowns. There were so many people, people just having fun and enjoying themselves. I am really lucky to have learned from Mike Arujo and Sara Lupo. That night I helped in The Met, at the front door, gear moving, gear set up, and it was so much fun. I think working there made me realize that I really love doing this. I know that sounds weird, but I had a moment where I was thinking, “This is what I love to do.”
AS: What artist(s) inspires you the most?
SB: I have an obsession with John Mayer. Some may laugh at this, but he is amazing on guitar and his lyrics tell a great story that make you continue wanting to hear more. He knows the music business and works it well. I also love house music, I like to be able to sway to music and listen, and take it in. There are so many different versions and feelings in music that I feel you have to find music that fits your feeling in life.
AS: What do you hope listeners get out of your music?
SB: I make music for myself, but also for people who feel the same way I do. Letting people know that others are feeling the same way and they aren’t alone in that. It sounds corny, but I love when I connect with music, so I figure other people like that, too. I hope people get that they may be in a certain place now, but it will all be okay.
Follow Skylar Batz on Spotify HERE: open.spotify.com/artist/0iNRdzeEgaHx2lbY0T4ZGl?si=DSjkCSLvTTCySiFvZ4Azjw and on YouTube HERE: youtube.com/channel/UCbSS4h6QqJUrqJAHotZQJPg