SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Skye on perseverance, persistence and carving your own path
By Cierra Bettens
For Kingsley Etuk, better known as Skye, music quite literally changed the trajectory of his life.
“I’ve always been into singing, but never really thought about it as a career until roughly four years ago. I was homeless at the time…I was out of options” Skye says. “Then someone introduced me to a studio.”
Originally from Nigeria, Skye has recently made a name for himself in the Manitoba music scene—but the 23-year-old R&B/pop artist doesn’t intend to stop there. After testing the waters at several local studios, the musician made a commitment to take advantage of every opportunity that arises.
While it’s common for artists to release EPs and full-length albums, Skye never rushes. Rather than release a dozen songs in an album, he opted to release a series of carefully-crafted singles.
“You need to get at least one song in everyone’s mouth; get one song that everyone will listen to,” he says.
The catchy choruses of Skye’s singles are sure to remain on repeat in listeners’ heads throughout the day. With beats similar to Drake and The Weeknd, Skye’s discography pairs equally well with dancing and chilling with friends.
Yet, the depth of Skye’s lyrics goes beyond what you’d expect for pop music. In “Ease”, the singer talks about being afraid to reveal parts of himself to someone else. Similarly, “Joker’s Melody” deals with darker desires and desperately wanting connection.
“My songs kind of vary depending on how I’m feeling,” he says. “I draw music from conversations. I make songs from things I feel.”
Skye doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges of getting your start as a solo artist. Recording songs, finding collaborators and promoting new releases can be taxing at times. Ultimately, he says persistence is what keeps him going.
“Music is my full-time job,” he says. “I send over a hundred emails, a hundred festival applications, a hundred radio stations a day. People think that it’s luck that I have a lot of shows, but this is one, two, three, four or five that get back to me out of a hundred.”
While he’s a solo artist by trade, Skye has worked with several collaborators. His duo of backup dancers and partner DJ 1NDAMIIXC have become a staple at his gigs. At a recent show at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC), he was awestruck when the crowd sang the lyrics to his songs.
In the near future, Skye hopes to organize a music and fashion show and release a few music videos. With festival season just around the corner, he’s anticipating a bustling summer.
“I’m excited for my music videos that I’ve been planning for years. I’ll probably release one by the end of the year, so people know the face behind the song,” he says.
If one thing stands about Skye, it’s his perseverance and dedication to his musical vision.
“I wake up every morning, I look in the mirror, and the thing that motivates me is I act like I see Skye in the future,” he says. “I can’t wait to be that person.”
Cierra Bettens is a writer, editor and student based in Treaty 1. She edits the arts and culture section of The Uniter.