Interview: Naomi Sky
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I fell in love with music. Growing up, I was always surrounded by it. My mom took me to music classes as a baby, my parents played music in the car, and I felt this natural pull towards music. There were little signs along the way that pointed towards a career in music, too. Like when I was 5, I ran around the house singing “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and “Come Clean” by Hilary Duff. I even had my dad print out the lyrics to both songs on his computer, so I could sing them correctly! And my dad also greatly influenced my interest in music because he played the piano in our house. But there was a point where I really doubted myself and my capabilities, and I ended up switching majors in college from Music to Communication Studies. If I wasn’t pursuing a career in music, I would probably be some type of communications researcher or a writer. I’m grateful that I made that switch in college because as ironic as it might sound, studying something besides music is what made me positive that this is the career I want.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love to dance, work out, play with my dog, spend time with family and friends, and watch a lot of rom coms. Dancing strongly influences my creativity with music because it forces me to listen to it differently. When I’m writing a song, I focus a lot on the lyrics and the melody or catchiness of the tune, but when I’m dancing, I listen a lot more to the production elements. It helps me think about music from a different perspective and connect to it in a different way. Any type of exercise, like running or HIIT workouts, helps me to focus and clear my mind. And I think the people I surround myself with and the movies I watch inspire me, too. Anything can spark an idea, so I try to remain as present and in the moment as possible to enjoy life and stay open to inspiration.
How long has music been your career?
In the past two years, I started taking music seriously as a career. Before that, I was really figuring out who I was as an artist and an individual. I created and wrote a lot of songs, and I’ve been making, learning, and playing music for about 18 years now. But I felt a switch in my energy and commitment to music in these last two years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I come from a suburban area in Pennsylvania near Philly, but I was born in Arlington, Virginia. I think growing up in one area but being born somewhere else always made me feel a little different. Like my family feels like home and my childhood house feels like home because it’s the place I grew up in, and I’m really grateful for my childhood and the experiences I had growing up. But I never felt like I fully belonged in that area. I think that sense of searching for belonging can be felt in some of my songs on my upcoming album. It’s all about vulnerability and finding myself in love. And I feel like that’s a very relatable feeling and experience: finding yourself, navigating romantic love and self-love, and craving a city to call home.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
The best show I performed in was probably my sophomore year in college when I got to sing and dance with some of my friends. One of my classes was focused on performance and pushing us to think out-of-the-box, so our performance ended up incorporating a lot of different elements. I was a background dancer and singer, I sang harmonies with my friends, and I really got to feel into and be in my artistic side of connecting to the music and enjoying the performance part of playing in a show.
The worst show I performed in was due to technical issues. I was playing an acoustic set at a coffee shop, singing and playing keyboard, and the mic stand was a little loose. There was definitely something off about it, and the microphone kept sliding down and swinging forward towards the audience. It wouldn’t stay in one place! It made me laugh, so I tried to really play into it and crack a joke about it! The audience laughed :) When there are technical issues that randomly occur like that, the best thing one can do is embrace it.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Oh gosh, I honestly don’t know if I have a favorite venue yet. I love being on a big stage because I love having the space to move around and dance. And I would love to play at someplace like Hotel Café in L.A. because I’ve heard great things about that venue.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, ABBA, Gunnar Gehl, and maybe a few of my musician/artist friends because I always think it would be fun and exciting to be around artists who inspire me and individuals that I can celebrate success with.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
If I could tell them anything, I would say believe in yourself. Like anything else in life, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed in music and fulfill your goals, so commit to practicing and becoming the best version of yourself. And if you have a vision or a project you’re really passionate about, find a way to share it because you never know who it might help or how someone might relate to it. The best thing you can do in the music industry is figure out who you are and what you want to base your artistry or your musicianship around because knowing the answers to those questions will help you keep going during challenging times and keep you grounded and motivated everyday.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself that people may label or judge you, but those labels/judgments say a lot more about them than they do about you. Everyone operates based on their own beliefs & experiences, so sometimes people judge others because it’s different from what they know. That doesn’t mean that those judgements are okay or correct, and I know sometimes it’s hard to not let others get to us. But especially in those moments when a judgment or a label is hurtful, it’s our responsibility to not let other people get in our heads. I’ve had experiences where I questioned myself because I was afraid of what my friends would think about something or how the people I surrounded myself with would respond to a project. One of the best things I’ve learned is that the people who love you are always going to love you, and your people, your true friends, will support you in anything. Stay grounded and focus on your goals because you matter and your vision is important. And be yourself because as they say, “No one is you and that is your power”. Remember who you are and what you’re doing if anyone ever tries to question it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
At the moment, the song that means the most to me is called Golden Light. I haven’t released it yet, but it’s my favorite song to perform because the lyrics are so intimate and descriptive. It’s a hopeful song about love and starting a new relationship, enjoying the present and imagining a future together with your person. I feel like music is amazing because it gives us something to relate to when we’re sad, gives us hope when we need it, and helps us celebrate when we’re feeling happy. This song helped me feel hopeful about love when I was feeling pretty upset and down about my future. One of my biggest goals in music is to help others by giving them something to believe in or hope for and relate to with my songs. We all go through things in life, and sometimes the music is what helps us get through it. Love is an important part of life, and it is such a gift. If I can make just one person or thousands of people feel hopeful about their romantic life and their future, then I feel like I’m doing my job as a musician.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Red Roses, which is an original that I’ll be releasing on my upcoming album, is one of my favorites to play because it’s so romantic and I get to play the piano live! I also love singing heart-centered covers! I get a lot of requests for heartfelt songs or ballads, like Almost is Never Enough by Ariana Grande & Nathan Sykes and Give Me Love or Perfect by Ed Sheeran. My family members each have a favorite song that they request when they come to visit, and I love playing for them and seeing their reactions. One of the best moments I had was with my grandpa: he started to tear up during one of my performances. He had heard me sing and seen me perform a handful of times, but when he was so touched by my original songs that day that he cried, it showed me how much I had grown musically. Moments like that make music so rewarding to me. Music has this healing power, and it’s all about connection, self-expression, and love. I never know who might need to hear that one song I perform, but music has a way of speaking to our souls when we need it the most.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
I get inspired most when I’m in a really emotional state about something personal going on in my life or when I’m deep in thought. There have been moments where I was crying and the only thing that made me feel better was writing about it. Sometimes I write to uplift myself and other times, I just need to get something off my chest. I also have moments where I’m thinking deeply and reflecting on something, and inspiration will suddenly strike. In those moments, my writing is a subconscious flow of thoughts, and then I’ll go back and edit the lyrics and the music. I’m inspired a lot by my personal experiences, but sometimes a friend will say something that strikes an idea in me, too. I look at the creative process like the ocean. It ebbs and flows, and it’s always there for me when I need it the most.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to be honest about my experiences and uplift people with my music. I think it’s important for people to have songs to pick them up when they’re down, to have music they can relate to when there’s an off day, and have songs they can sing along to when they’re in a good mood. For the great days, I have songs that people can blast in their cars, roll their windows down, and sing along to. But I also hope to be the type of artist that people listen to when they have a challenging day.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
If I’m working with someone and we have different opinions about the direction that a song should go in or what we want to do creatively, I think the best solution is to try both suggestions. Start with one option, see how it works with the song, and if it’s not working, then try the other option. I usually like to try what the other person is suggesting first and then see what we think because it opens my mind to new possibilities.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’m really excited to announce that I’ve been working on an album, and my next single is coming out this summer! I’ll be sharing the pre-save links on all my social media pages, so follow me there if you’re interested in staying up to date on my music! The album is all about the different sides to every individual and how that comes across in a romantic relationship: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It deals with vulnerability, conquering fears of a relationship feeling too good to be true, feeling true passion and wondering if it’s just lust, and coming to terms with all the things we experience as a human in love. I’ve been working on this project for a while, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the world.
Social Media Links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzz1H2mW4Jk&feature=emb_imp_woyt (Let’s Dive In Music video)