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Skylar Grey Talks Songwriting, Marilyn Manson and Airplanes

Skylar Grey
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Before today, you may not have heard Skylar Grey, but you’ve heard her songs. She is about to hit it big in the pop world, with her debut ‘Invinsible’ bowing this fall. The singer, whose unique vocal style can leave a scar thanks to its edge, had immense success penning hits for A-listers like Eminem. But she’s stepping out on her own and making a name for Skylar Grey the singer, not Skylar Grey the songwriter. PopCrush spoke to Grey about her preference in singing her own songs, how Marilyn Manson inspired her album title, and what she fantasizes about on airplanes. Trust us, it’s not what you think!

You are both a singer and a songwriter, having written hits for Eminem and Rihanna, and Diddy Dirty Money. Do you ever want to be selfish and keep songs for yourself? Which do you prefer?

I prefer to sing them. I know it is easy to see through bulls—, with a singer singing a song that they didn’t write or don’t feel. You can tell. Being the writer of your own songs takes everything to a different level; you get to be an artist. There are all of the visual aspects, the website, live shows and styling. I even wrote my treatment for the ‘Dance Without You’ video. I like to do all that stuff. I have a clear vision of what I want it to be.

A song can change form after you’ve written it, based on who is singing it, which might get old, I can imagine.
Someone like Diane Warren, she is a songwriter for other people and that works well for her. She likes to hear people change it up and interpret it. I’m not that person.

Your voice deserves to be heard, since it’s so haunting and icy. And by icy, I mean it in a good way!
I like icy. It’s about making good art. I don’t have a voice like people in the pop industry and you can’t make me have a different voice. I will just create art. Here’s my thing: Alanis Morissette didn’t sound like anyone when she came out. It sounded like alternative music. Then, being on the radio, it turned into pop music, which changes over time. Pop music is an ever-changing, evolving thing.

‘Invinsible,’ at first glance, is confusing as a title, but upon a second look, it’s a thought-provoking and intentional word and spell play. How did you come up with it?
‘Invinsible’ spelled with an ‘s’ was Marilyn Manson’s idea. I was talking to him about how I am not invisible anymore. That’s how I once felt and there are songs that explore that weakness factor, but at the end of the album, Skylar Grey is strong and invincible. I spell it with an ‘s’ since one word encompasses that journey. I was like ‘Yeah, thank you’ to Manson.

Are you still actively writing songs for other artists or are you on hiatus?
i am taking a break from it. There is not enough time in the day and I don’t have enough energy. At some point, I will for people again but I will be really selective. I don’t have a dream to be Kara DioGuardi. That has never been my dream. I would rather do some film scoring with someone.

What is one thing you want people to know about ‘Invinsible?’
It’s diverse. If you hear one song, the rest of album will sound just as diverse. At the beginning of the story I tell on my album, it’s about the weakest personality and then it grows stronger. There are also some features I can’t talk about yet.

Lastly, what’s one thing about Skylar Grey that we don’t know that has nothing to do with music?
I fly airplanes. I don’t have but a license, but I fly airplanes. I am working on my license, but right now, I don’t have time to finish the testing. When I am flying, I think like, ‘What if the pilot died? Could I land the plane?’ It’s like I plan how I would takeover in that scenario.

Watch the Skylar Grey ‘Dance Without You’ Video

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