A Rockstar in the Making : Emmett Skyy
Some people are just born with an innate talent to succeed, regardless of what it is that they put their mind to. In the hectic life of music, artists take on multiple challenges, from writing their own songs to producing fashion merchandise, to travelling globally to perform for their fans. Blowout takes a dive into the exciting, but busy life of singer/song-writer, Emmett Skyy, who’s done it all, and he’s only just getting started.
It’s very rare that you will meet someone at some point in your life who will leave you completely starstruck. My luck came in the form of a 6 ft 6, creative artist who goes by the name of Emmett Skyy and the more we spoke, the clearer it was to me that Emmett was so much more than just musical talent.
Sitting opposite me with round-framed red glasses on, a custom-made hat (his own design of course) a biker leather jacket and boots to match, Emmett looks like he’s just walked off a Saint Laurent runway. The glasses never come off, nor does the hat and from the very beginning of our conversation, curiosity paved the way.
So, who is this figure behind the red lenses?
“Emmett is my father’s name and it means truth in Hebrew and Skyy is a nickname that my friends call me. My messages and music have a lot to do with my name; they represent truth, hardship, love and all the things that you go through life,” he explains.
Emmett is an incredibly talented singer and song-writer, with a unique voice that makes his music really hit home when listening to it. He’s been singing since the age of three, which makes me think if it was normal for a toddler to possess so much confidence and courage to be able to do so.
Coming from a family of soul singers, who were already invested in the world of music, this talent could only be described as an innate ability which was nurtured by those around him. For some, that may have meant an extra dose of pressure in order to impress the high expectations of parents who had set a bar equally as high. But Emmett considers himself lucky and blessed to have such supporting family members around him, who encouraged him to be true to himself.
“The beautiful thing about my family is that they just believe in me. They want me to put a good message out there and at the same time, do what I love. The family standard is high, and I can’t put any crap out there,” he says. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to sound and if it doesn’t feel extraordinary, I won’t put it out there anyway.”
Originating from Louisiana, but currently based in Los Angeles, Emmett is an instinctive traveller. He’s been on the road now for four and a half months, settling in London for a short period of time as he continues to write music. I’m hoping London’s stolen his heart…
“I’ve been in London just over 3 months now and my heart and soul feel very connected with the city. I feel a lot of love here. There’s inspiration and it’s a beautiful place to be. I am considering moving to London,” he admits.
I smile at his response, proud of my city. A lot of musicians tend to say that travelling inspires them to write their music, as they see, meet and experience different cultures and people. I ask Emmett where he gets his inspiration from.
“Women. Women have this gracefulness and this energy that’s unmatched. No one else in the world can express things the way women can. The nurturing spirit of a woman is the most beautiful thing and I love hearing their stories, but, in general, life inspires me. Travelling to different countries and connecting with different people,” he replies.
Everything Emmett says, he says it with passion. If you didn’t know he was a singer, you would be quick to guess from the way his speech flows so melodiously. You don’t only believe what he says, but it makes it impossible to disagree with!
It’s hard to put Emmett’s music into one genre. From ‘Old and Grey’, to his debut single, ‘I Dare You,’ no two songs sound the same, but I’m pretty sure they will all make you emotional, nevertheless.
‘I Dare You’ was co-written by myself and by Blue McCauley, who is a friend of mine. We wanted to write something that would impact the world. I dare you to take another step. I dare you to not compromise who you are and to be authentic and to not be afraid. You don’t always have to follow the crowd and you shouldn’t let the pressures of social media get to you,” he states.
‘I Dare You’ is so passionate and upbeat. If listening to it does not get you out of bed on a gloomy Monday morning, I genuinely don’t know what will!
“It’s always been a challenge to confine my music to one genre, but I love that folk sound and that Appalachian sound. I try to bring together the worlds of rock and folk, because what I’m saying is coming from my soul and rock and roll has been a huge impact on how I write my songs.”
Emmett’s been inspired and influenced by numerous people, including John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, The Beatles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Johnny Cash. It was becoming obvious why his songs all sounded very different, because he was a lover of great music, period.
“It’s interesting because I don’t really idolise anyone. I really love what I do, and it has just been a journey. I started out singing gospel music and so a lot of my gospel heroes taught me how to sing. My upbringing consisted of a lot of spiritual music and then I fell in love with Marvin Gaye and his voice, his lyrics, his passion and his genius,” he explains.
Music means different things to different people, but I suppose the reason why we listen to music is ultimately to feel something. Whether that be happiness, sadness, or to calm our anger, music has the power to enhance our emotions or to change it and every artist has a vision of what they would like you to feel when you do listen.
“I want people to feel empowered and feel loved. I want them to know that everything's going to be okay. We go through so much in life where emotional trauma and life can weigh us down but as soon as they hear one of my songs, I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel sexy, powerful and like they’re close to God. I want them to feel like they can live life to the fullest,” he exclaims.
I thought this would be a great time to find out what his personal favourite song was. As hard as it was, I could tell that whatever answer I was to receive would come from a deep and sensitive experience.
“The song is called ‘Dreamer Again’. It was one of my first songs that I've ever written, and I had a vision that I was at that time in a very dark place and I couldn't see around me because everything was so dark. There were smoke clouds around me, and I just felt like I don't want to live. I didn't go as far as wanting to kill myself, but I had that thought come into my mind,” he tells me.
“I felt so weighed down and, in that vision, I saw a streak of light at the end of the tunnel. That little light gave me hope and I wrote the song. Sometimes you lose sight of your dreams and you put them to the side but they’re always there. You can still become a dream again. I knew once I saw the light, everything is going to be okay, because the light will guide you. Even though it's dark around you, it’s all just an illusion in your mind.”
I’m mesmerised by the story, which has such a strong spiritual underlining to it. How many times have we felt down, and music actually helped us feel better about ourselves and the situation?
“I wouldn't be here, without having God, the universe, angels around me to help me travel through dark realms. I've been down in the dark places so many times to a point where I know now, I’ll come out of it. I'm a messenger to the world.”
Emmett is a creative influencer for BMW Group Culture, a position which first introduced him to London a year ago. Last month, he made his initial appearance at the Mandrake Hotel, to perform unplugged, to a mixed audience of friends and new fans. So where is he setting the bar for himself?
“Truly setting the bar for myself is not trying to do what was done in the past but do it better by speaking something that's going to impact culture. It's not really just about how great the music is, but for me, it's about the message,” he ponders.
“I try not to even put any expectations or goals, and I don't have a particular goal at hand. I just want to live, and I want to be in the moment. I’m not saying I don’t have any goals, but I would like to tour the world with my music and design things that will create immersive experiences for people who listen to my music. Ultimately what gets me excited is really creating something that's going to be magical and timeless, like Stevie Wonder.”
As much as music is at the heart of Emmett’s career, it isn’t the only thing that defines him. He’s recently started his own bespoke jewellery, accessories and fashion line. Emmett wears a lot of his own pieces, which really shows his confidence in what he creates. My personal favourite is a gold-bar ring worn on two fingers, which has become somewhat his signature accessory.
“I see myself so much more than just music. Music is one of my talents, vocation and functionality, but I'm not just music. I think music is the forefront of Emmett Skyy but he’s also art, fashion, humanitarian, messenger, storyteller. Now it's bigger than music; I see myself as a creative artist,” he declares.
Well so do we! It’s so amazing to see someone take on multiple projects and not crumble under the pressures of succeeding, but then what can we expect from such a multi-talented individual. In the words of Emmett Skyy, “do the impossible,” something which we can see Emmett evidently accomplishing and will further accomplish in the months and years to come.
Biography and Discography on : www.emmettskyy.com Words by: Syeda Uddin Photographed by: Erica Bergsmeds Styled by: Emmett Skyy Assistant stylist: Ines Whitworth
The suede blue biker - LTHJKT
Gold boots - Maison Margiela
Glitter boots - YSL
Eye wear Frames - Cubitts
Black suede - LTHJKT
Long cream coat - Prospective Flow
Hats - Co-design The Wise Hatter
Jewelry - Emmettskyystudio/Edward Avedis
Pins on the black biker jacket - Art Comes First
Black Leather Biker jacket - LTHJKT
The leather trousers - Vintage