Any time an artist receives the rare opportunity of having Eminem executive producing his/her upcoming major label debut, it only adds more pressure for that artist to meet sales expectations and to perform well in the charts. In light of this, Skylar Grey certainly has a lot to live up to. Even though her name isn’t that well known to us, she has finally made it to the mainstream scene. Thanks, of course, to her guest appearance on “I Need a Doctor” by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem. The song “I Need a Doctor,” which is nearly two years old, introduced us to Skylar Grey.
This created a demand for her to finally release her major label debut which had been pushed back repeatedly. Even her guesting on the single of Dr. Dre wasn’t as simple as it sounds and neither was it an easy choice.
The story is that she wasn’t originally the first choice to sing the chorus part of the song, but Eminem was so impressed by her vocals that he insisted she would be the final choice to do the chorus. And he was correct, of course, because Skylar Grey gave the song that haunting feel it needed. Plus, she was a goth-like singer with her droning voice and her dark hair. But to the surprise of many, when we finally got a preview of what her major label debut would sound like, it became the complete opposite of what she sounded and looked like in “I Need a Doctor.”
In her lead single “C’mon Let Me Ride,” her resemblance was more of a white trash figure, pardon the term. But listen to the lyrics, watch the music video, and you will see that she has chosen this direction freely and willingly, or that she was trying to portray that image to a “T”! Either way, she does well. But despite her outward appearance, it doesn’t take away anything when it comes to her capabilities as a singer and songwriter. Her most recent transformation may make her look cheap and trashy, but her talent is still there. What talent exactly? Her lyrical skills and how well she puts together her lines. And if some are wondering where exactly Skylar Grey came from and how she started out in the music industry, here are some tidbits about her. Skylar Grey started out as a really young singer. She also co-wrote a few hits for popular artists the last couple of years, and her biggest hit to date, which she helped write, was the song “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna. That was a mega-hit for Eminem! This further established Skylar Grey as one of the growing number of hit-makers the music industry now. That is why having Eminem guest on her lead single could be seen as a way of Eminem acknowledging her talents and in a small way returning the favor of co-writing one of his biggest hits to date which is “Love the Way You Lie.”
Skylar Grey even has Eminem providing the verse and helping out in the chorus for her lead single “C’mon Let Me Ride”. This single was originally planned to incorporate vocals from the late Freddie Mercury from Queen, but the way Eminem provided the chorus was funnier and fit in more with the song. Eminem is more ‘Slim Shady’ here, than he has been for the last few years. He has likewise gone back to becoming a “character”. His style here is reminiscent of his older studio releases like “The Eminem Show.”
When it comes to the direction and look Skylar Grey has assumed, this can be viewed and presumed to be a move to make her more accessible and stand out. Even though her lead single is satirical and humorous, it still shows how good she is as a songwriter. Just take, for example, this line from Skylar Grey’s lead single: “C’mon let me ride your bicycle/it’s so fantastical on your bicycle/We could get a little more physical/Baby, after all, it’s only natural,” You can’t be more obvious than that. You know what she is referring to, yet she still manages to keep it playful and light. This song has more sexual innuendos than anything I have heard for some time.
This isn’t a bad song at all to be chosen as her lead single. In fact, this single really is meant to establish Skylar Grey as a mainstream artist by doing exactly the same things or rather following the formula that have served other artists well and made them hits. What is that tried and tested formula? Sex sells! That is what it is! She made the contrived choice to not become what others expected she should be. By taking the completely opposite route, this has to work for her career in the long run. Can Skylar Grey be as successful as she was as an independent artist in the indie scene, or will she miss the mark which will throw her back into starting over by going into yet another transformation? We have to wait until her major label debut titled “Don’t Look Down” is released in early 2013.