Pre-med student balances studies with singing career

You would expect an artist with almost a half of a million YouTube views on her debut music video to have already quit school in pursuit of a music career. But Skylar Steinberg, a junior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention, studies while perfecting her musical chops.

“I like school, I like science, I like doing that stuff,” Steinberg, who is also known by her middle name and alias Skylar Renee, said. It’s nice to be in an environment where I can do both: singing and science.”

Steinberg released her first single, “Good As Gone,” with Hazan Records on iTunes in late July. Her music video racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube. Meanwhile, she’s taking chemistry at USC and finding time to finish her album which will be released next year.

“Right now I’m in organic chemistry, and that class takes so much time,” Steinberg said. “But any second of the day I can spend singing or writing songs, I am. I’ll be studying, and I’ll come up with a song idea, and I’ll just go to the piano [to]do it.”

Steinberg, a Malibu native, found her passion for songwriting earlier than her love of science.

“I’ve been singing since I was a kid, just ever since I did karaoke once when I was 8,” Steinberg said. “Ever since then I’ve been singing in my free time. I was in choir, and I wrote lyrics. Every once and I while I would just come up with an idea and write it down.”

Though she was in choir in high school, she has had less institutional involvement in music at USC. Steinberg only recently declared her songwriting minor, and for the most part, she separates her life at school from her life in music.

“I feel like a lot of my life at USC does not have to do with singing just because I kind of ignored it in the first few years here,” she said. “I’m growing as a musician now and meeting more people through music.”

Steinberg works with a producer in Studio City and has also begun songwriting classes, which have helped her get feedback from music students at USC.

“It’s hard to find time to write songs and play during the school year,” Steinberg said. “I started taking a songwriting class which helped me make a scheduled time to write songs, show them to other people and get feedback.”

Steinberg said she jams with a band in her free time, which helps connect her social life to her music life. Originally, she said, it was hard as a spring admit to originally connect the two.

“We’ll just chill and play, and I’ll just sing a random tune,” Steinberg said. “It’s fun to be in an environment with friends, doing what you love to do.”

Tunes like those come to Steinberg throughout the day, and because of her busy schedule, she grabs them on the go. She says her songwriting process is somewhat randomized.

“I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’m inspired by my own experiences and people and life and the world around me,” Steinberg said. “Sometimes I’ll go on walks and a song idea will come to me. I take in my surroundings mostly. I could be doing any activity and a song will come to me, and I’ll grab a quick voice memo.”

Steinberg is hoping to finish her album by next summer so she can play shows in Los Angeles or elsewhere. Right now, she’s just excited for the future.

“I don’t like planning too much in advance,” Steinberg said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Right now I’m focusing on the music.”


Artist Sky Renee talks Memorable Moments, RADD and the LA WineFest

Artist Sky Renee talks Memorable Moments, RADD and the LA WineFest

Sky Renee

Sky Renee

1)      Where do you draw inspiration for your music?

From everyday life, my relationships, what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in my mind, I never know when inspiration strikes – sometimes a song will just flow out of me. Sometimes I’ll go on a walk or listen to music and be immediately inspired other days I just wait till it comes.

2)      What techniques do you use, both in and out of your music, to relate to your audience?

I like communicating to the people that listen to my music, I have found a place online through platforms such as instagram and soundcloud that allow me to connect with people who enjoy my music, I really love DM’ing the people that listen and sustain a conversation. I love hearing about others lives and perspectives and music has given me the availability to interact with a lot of great people. I also try and write from an honest place, I think we are all human beings and thus encounter similar experiences and feelings, we can empathize with one another. I think that if I maintain being genuine with my lyrics my listeners will be able to relate just out of pure human nature. 

3)      What musician or producer have you been most excited to collaborate with?

As I was saying I have found a really amazing community online, known as vaporwave or future funk, its been really awesome cause I’m finding other artists that enjoy the music I make and make similar tunes themselves. They are all super open to collaboration so I’m just really excited overall, to work with them and just meet more people I relate to. I just finished writing to a track by Binary Stars called “Fire” so I’m excited to record that and release really soon!

4)      What’s your most memorable moment as an artist so far – either a performance, interview, or recording session – and why?

I think my most memorable experience would be the day I played the Troubadour, it was my Dad’s 50th birthday and my debut show that I ended up selling out. It was incredibly exciting for me just because it was the start of me really taking initiative with my career and getting my message out there, since I booked and promoted the whole thing myself. 

Sky-Renee-Music

Sky Renee

5)      Can you tell us a little bit about your history (and exciting future projects!) with RADD?

I’ve been writing poems and singing my whole life, I started songwriting in college and working with some really amazing producers and songwriters like Eric Jackson, Storm Daniels, David Frank and Greg Penny. I spent a lot of time discovering my voice and learning what I wanted to make and say. In the past year I took the leap to producing myself and its been incredible! I really want my music to come from a unique and honest place, I’ve always messed around on Logic but never thought one day I could actually make a song for myself. I started producing “Why Don’t We Dance More?” and everything just clicked for me. It all feels right. I’m still learning and growing as a producer but I want to grow with my audience so I am currently releasing a song a month for the next year and making lots and lots of visual content. It’s cool cause I started making these visuals and disco songs on my own and in the past month I’ve discovered a whole online community that is surrounded on similar funky songs and cool graphics. I truly believe when you listen to yourself, the world forms around you. In this case it proved to be true, I’m just excited to share everything I’ve been working on. 

RADD is awesome!! They hosted a concert at the Hi Hat with Uber in the beginning of the year that I M.C.’d it was a beautiful event 

6)      You’re a USC grad, and USC is one of our RADD partner schools. Can you tell us why you decided to support RADD?

I remember we had every 15 minutes come to our High School and it scarred me for life, and then a friend I went to college with got hit by a drunk driver and was on the verge of death so immediately upon hearing of them I wanted to support. It’s so easy now to get an Uber or a Lyft, there are no excuses to drunk drive. It blows my mind that someone would get behind a car drunk and put others at risk. 

7)      Being the person that has to step up and say “hey, maybe you’re too drunk and shouldn’t drive home tonight” is always hard. How do you deal with that, or how do you approach those situations?

Honestly, I’m not a big drinker – in fact usually I’m not drinking. I do like taking lyft/uber when I go out though just in case I do drink or because I personally think that driving tired is dangerous too. So I am always there to offer a ride to anyone who needs one. Also its better to suffer a difficult circumstance than have something bad happen and know you could have stopped it.

8)      What can attendees and RADD music fans expect from your June 2nd performance on the RADD Stage at the LA Winefest?

I’ll be doing a more ambient, laid back acoustic set that I am really looking forward to. A lot of my online music is uptempo, but I’m a soul singer at heart so I’m excited to be bringing some of that to my live show 🙂


Copyright © 2018 Skylar Steinberg