Justine Skye has been experiencing a transformative year on so many levels. At the beginning of 2019, all mention of the singer, model, and actress revolved around her budding relationship with GoldLink, followed by disturbing abuse allegations that she made against Sheck Wes. But what could have been a tumultuous period filled with chaos turned out to be a push for major personal and professional growth as she ditched the symbols from her earlier era of fame (like the signature purple hair) and drowned out the noise by focusing on cultivating her craft. After seven years in the business, Skye is ready to take back control and embrace the unknown as an independent artist.
"Honestly, I'm just trying to be my most authentic self as I can as an artist wherever that takes me," she explains. "Obviously, I want people to enjoy it as much as I do, but I feel like I've drowned myself in expectations to the point that it drove me crazy. I realized I'm a lot happier now that I'm just following my instincts and being surprised. I'm surprised in my own self."
Not long after GoldLink unveiled her profile as the face of his phenomenal Diaspora album, Skye gained even more recognition from her contributions on Blood Orange's surprise mixtape, Angel's Pulse. The guest feature roster includes a handful of established artists such as Tinashe, Kelsey Lu, Toro Y Moi, Ian Isiah, Arca, and Porches, but it's her voice that dominates on the record.
Today, Skye returns to the spotlight fully exposed with the Bare With Me EP, a manifesto that speaks volumes about the woes of burning passion and love. She doesn't want to get lost in categorization and describes the project as "transferring into my independence as an artist," and going back to the basics of true authenticity. Aside from that, the 24-year-old is also starring alongside Seann William Scott in Christopher Kenneally's Already Gone, a film executive produced by Keanu Reeves that premiered this month.
"I feel like 2019 is the setup year," she says. "After this project, a lot of questions that people had about me will be answered. People will be able to really see the direction that I'm trying to go in."
Prior to her New York release show in partnership with the World of McIntosh, Farfetch, and E&E Creative last week, we hopped on the phone with Skye to learn more about the full story behind the EP. Scroll down for the full breakdown in her own words.
1. "Too Much"
"'Too Much' is about getting involved with someone and you realized that they're asking for too much and then you realize that you're move involved with them and you're now asking for too much. It's kind of like the tug of war between love, and that's really what this whole project embodies.
I'm a Virgo so I'm a lover, and my friends say that I love hard. My friends and family call me a hopeless romantic, but that's a good thing and a bad thing. I just have to figure out how to channel that into my music. I feel like 'Too Much' really represents that and starts off the project like, 'All right, this is the way it is. We're gonna show you the ups and downs of my experience with love.'"
"'Secrets' is about that feeling when you're not sure about someone and you don't want to make it like a public thing. We've all been through it. We've probably been the person keeping the secret or we've been the secret. I know that I've been on both sides of it, and it's not a great place to be, but this is from the perspective of me keeping a secret."
"So 'Bulletproof' is my favorite record on the EP because it really touches my Jamaican roots. I really get to showcase that on this track and it just feels good. I'm glad that it's coming out while it's still summertime and hot out so people can enjoy it."
"'Fav' is also one of my favorites. It's a little bit different for me, it's kind of an experimental thing. I was very nervous as to how people would take it, but turns out that ends up being everyone's favorite song. It's 'Bulletproof' and 'Fav' that people are super drawn to, and also 'Too Much.' 'Fav' really embodies the new age of Brooklyn that I'm living in... That Williamsburg, Dumbo, downtown in the city kind of feel to me that I finally got to bring to life in a song. For me, it's not so much about the lyrics of it, it's about the feeling of it."
5. "When You're Ready"
"['When You're Ready'] was actually the last song that I recorded for this project. I was extremely sad about some personal things going on in my life. I didn't know what to do and I just had to put it in a song so I titled it 'When You're Ready' because it's like 'When you're ready to talk to me again.' It's really a love letter to my love."
"I got to write that one with one of my best friends, he's super talented in so many different fields... We'd been meaning to link up for a really, really long time and create, and finally we were in the same place — he was in LA and I was in LA, and we got to the studio. I was so nervous because I hadn't seen him in a while, I think that was my first session as an independent artist. I didn't know what to do, I was so used to the structure of having writers in there and all the bells and whistles are there. I was just like, 'I'll just go in there and do what you do.' So I went and just started doing the melodies and writing how I was feeling in the moment. I was feeling really good about everything and created a vibe. It was super smooth and I love it so I'm glad that everyone is enjoying it too."