Skylar Grey Recalls Morphing Into Hip Hop’s Vocal Hitwoman, Working With Dr. Dre, Diddy & Lupe Fiasco

Skylar Grey Recalls Morphing Into Hip Hop's Vocal Hitwoman, Working With Dr. Dre, Diddy & Lupe Fiasco

Lester Cohen/WireImage

LOS ANGELES, CA – As we covered in part one of this three-part series with Skylar Grey, the singer-songwriter was in a creative and financial slump at the time she wrote Eminem’s most successful song, “Love The Way You Lie.”

With the help of British producer Alex Da Kid, Skylar’s writing was brought to life with Rihanna singing her words and Eminem rapping alongside in the verses. The immediately popular track launched Skylar into the forefront of Hip Hop, placing her next to an elite lineup of talent.

Skylar became one of Hip Hop’s hottest commodities — artists saw the Wisconsin-born singer’s proven ability to craft a hit, and they all wanted a piece. Dr. Dre, Lupe Fiasco and Diddy all were initially drawn to her prowess for hook-writing but then discovered her voice.

Tender and emotive, Skylar’s voice only added to her appeal. Her phone buzzed nonstop, and suddenly, her financial troubles seemed manageable.

In part two, Skylar tells HipHopDX about working with Eminem, Dr. Dre, Diddy and Lupe Fiasco.

HipHopDX: Why do you and Eminem work so well together?

Skylar: I don’t know. I just think we have naturally good creative chemistry.

HipHopDX: After “Love The Way You Lie,” you’re catapulted into this spotlight, you’re writing tracks for everyone; how did you adapt to that new public eye?

Skylar: I didn’t really enjoy it. Everything happened so fast. I went from nothing to having a huge successful song, being flown all over the place to write songs for people. But I put so much pressure on myself to deliver every time as well as I did for “Love The Way You Lie” and I just felt like not good enough. I felt like I peaked with that song and I would never have that success again. Going into sessions, I put so much pressure on myself to the point of—I would leave a lot of sessions in tears because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. It was really hard for me for a while. After the first initial sessions with Puff and Dre and stuff, I stopped doing sessions. I did some from home sessions, but I didn’t go into the studio with other people. I got too self-conscious in the room with other people. I really became reclusive for a minute.

HipHopDX: How did you that confidence back for solo stuff?

Skylar: Well working on my own stuff was very different. That’s me in control and me having the creative vision not having to supply it for somebody else and do what they’re requesting. It’s such a different experience creating songs for other people versus creating songs for myself. I always had this home studio and I like to work and write alone. I was able to get a lot done, as far as writing songs for other people, it was really hard for me to do those.

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HipHopDX: Let’s talk about “I Need A Doctor.” How did you get placed on that song and what was your role in the discussions with how that would lead up to the album?

Skylar: Honestly, I didn’t know what Dre’s plan was with Detox. I know that they called [“I Need A Doctor”] the first single off Detox, but I wasn’t really involved in those discussions, I just worked on the song with Alex. We were in New York, Alex and I, and we came up with this track and hook and then we brought it to Detroit with us and presented it to them and said, ‘here’s our idea for a song.’ It just came together. That was pretty much my only involvement in that project.

HipHopDX: I’m interested in what working with Lupe was like, given that he’s such an elusive figure. Could you talk about working with him on Lasers?

Skylar: That was a song that I had actually come up with this idea and written it about my grandpa who had passed and I didn’t get to say goodbye. A lot of times these hooks that I write for other people are actually hooks that I wrote for myself and I gave them away. That was one where I had an Alex Da Kid track and I wrote a hook and actually wrote a whole song—you can find my version out there, too. We ended up giving the hook and track to Lupe and he put his verses on it. We performed it on Colbert or something. He’s a super talented guy.

Stay tuned for the final part of the Skylar Grey interview series coming soon and follow Skylar Grey on Instagram @skylargrey for new music.

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