by Nicole Iuzzolino
Sometimes there is a moment of realization where you see what your future can be. It may be fleeting, but the minute you pick up that football or a paintbrush, that vision of the future is there, and you can’t escape it. This moment tugs at your brain, turning into a memory of what can be if you work hard enough for it.
At nine years old, Skylar Stecker experienced that exact realization. Due to a last-minute switch up at a talent show, she took the stage to sing a song rather than her previously rehearsed piano performance. It was the first time she did any sort of musical performance.
“When I sang for the first time, even though I was only 9, I had this feeling where I just knew that--it was what I was meant to do. It was the first time I had ever felt really excited and passionate about something, so I knew immediately that this was something I needed to pursue,” Stecker said.
Stecker left that talent show and did exactly that. She went on to release a number of songs, including one titled, “How Did We,” which was featured in the film “Everything Everything,” an album titled “Redemption” in 2019, her “Redemption” documentary series, and her most recent singles, “Questions” and “YOU.”
From nine to 19, Skylar Stecker has lived and breathed music, constantly pushing to reach that future end goal, “I learned that I love the entire process and the growth. I loved the fact that with music--it allows you to be you, but it is also very flexible and ever-changing, so when you change and grow as a person, your music can grow with you.”
This growth for Stecker is obvious when looking at her musical journey. From covering other artists on YouTube to then making the jump between the Pop genre and R&B, Stecker only kept growing, especially when she decided to leave her label and go independent in 2019.
For her, being with her previous label felt like a relationship going south and, “it sucked the joy out of the thing that brings me joy in my life...music is my love, and I started to not love it.”
Stecker explained how trusting of a person she is, and when with her label, she put others’ desires and opinions before her very own, especially since she signed with the label at just 12-years-old. So, with her 2019 album “Redemption,” she made it a point to channel that sadness that she once had into the music,
“It was the first time the choices were fully up to me...it was just so liberating because I felt like for the first time in a really long time since I first started that I felt like I was truly being honest with myself and others...and I gained a new sense of confidence.”
Going independent forced Stecker into a situation of limbo, a learning experience that she would not have gotten anywhere else. It only made her come out stronger in the end, “I learned to listen, but to listen to yourself more and if you feel strongly or passionate about something, there is a reason that you do.”
Navigating the music industry as a teenager is not an easy journey, and as a teenager herself, Skylar Stecker understands the trials and tribulations that young artists tend to go through. “You are going to hear a lot more no’s than yes’s,” she laughs, knowing that experience all too well. She explains that there will be lots of uphill battles, but your passion will get you throughout, just take everything day by day.
And taking life day by day is what she did, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that ravished the music industry. A week before the pandemic started, Skyler went on a vacation, just one week to relax and prepare for an upcoming tour and a variety of other schedule-filling plans. Unbeknownst to her, that vacation never seemed to end.
Taking the days of quarantine in stride, Stecker learned new instruments, learned how to vocal produce, grew ever-growing confidence in her songwriting abilities, and of course, didn’t skimp on her quarantine Netflix binge-watching with series such as “Tiger King” and “The 100.”
But besides binge-watching Netflix, Stecker took the time to reflect on the future of music for her and the world around her. “It [the pandemic] helped a lot with creativity, people had to get creative. So I think the virtual performances, playing with CGI and those effects in award show performances and I think that was really interesting and I feel like that will still be incorporated years and years from now and I think it opened up a lot of opportunities and things I didn’t really know were an option.”
For Skylar Stecker’s most recent single, “YOU,” it only took three to four weeks to create and release. The R&B single portrays the common theme of “internalizing things and second-guessing yourself and your opinions and analyzing it from ‘what did I do’ but in reality a lot of times it is the other person and it’s not you.” Stecker created the track to be more sensual, a contrast from her more Pop genre songs.
R&B has been something that Skylar has wanted to explore for a very long time, but at nine years old, she was encouraged to pursue the Pop genre and leave the more “mature sounding” genre for when she was older. “That part of me has always been there. It was just overshadowed by other opinions and things that started to, you know, dim that part of me because I was trying to please other people...growing older has added a sense of maturity to the words and things that I am saying,” Stecker said.
While the pandemic might have put a large majority of the music world on pause, Skylar Stecker still has an incredible amount of new projects rolling down the pike.
As exciting as they are, Stecker is keeping everything a secret until their release dates or announcements, and she summed everything up with a one-word hint: astrology.
Skylar Stecker has accomplished incredible amounts and is only 19-years-old. However, there is still so much for her in-store, and all of these past experiences and projects turn into a scrapbook of memories; ones for her to look back on and realize that her future is even brighter and more attainable than the little girl at the talent show could have ever imagined.