Photo credit Riley Dwyer
Introducing Gabi Sklar
At what age did you take an interest in music and when did you know this was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
I remember being a kid and loving to perform and to sing. I think I completely fell in love with music when I was seven. That’s when I started teaching myself piano and writing. It wasn’t until I was 13 when I signed to my management, and having that push showed me it was way more than a hobby; it was something I could actually pursue for the rest of my life. I went to a studio for the first time and sent out some demos to producers. Around that time, I started going back and forth from New York to LA and Nashville to work with other writers and producers. That’s really when my journey began.
Where do you draw your creativity from and who are some of your musical influences?
It sounds a little cliché but you can really find inspiration in anything. I always say, it just depends on the perspective. The more I live and experience, the more I am inspired to create — whether it’s from conversations, a good night out, adventuring… etc. Whenever I’m blocked, I always do something outside of my comfort zone, it sort of reboots my brain. I’m also extremely inspired by strong female artists: Lana, Stevie Nicks, Miley, Dua Lipa, Ariana. I think they show that woman are amazing, capable, strong intellectuals… especially in an industry so dominated by men.
What are some of the challenges of being a young artist, studying music in Miami, while trying to make a name for yourself in the industry?
I think a challenge I have always struggled with is juggling these two completely different lives successfully. It’s like there’s this side of me that feels I can almost relate to other people my age but it’s also really difficult to do that when I’ve grown up in an industry that’s so complex and complicated. It’s an internal battle because I don’t want to let myself down and I don’t want to let the people I care about down. There’s a lot to sacrifice and I personally think it’s entirely worth it but it can even strain friendships and relationships. Putting my career first has caused me to miss important birthdays and weekends but at the end of the day, I know that these opportunities you can’t pass up or take for granted. Then there are the times I’d rather stay in my apartment on a Friday night and write music instead of going to parties and clubs… Most of my friends don’t understand the responsibilities that I’ve chosen to take on by having a career in music and that’s okay. You cannot please everyone and that’s something I’m working on accepting.
Please tell us a little about your writing process?
My process is something that’s always changing… I used to only write songs on the piano. When you collaborate with so many different writers, you adapt to their styles and processes. Sometimes, I bring in a song idea, other times we start from scratch and develop something start to finish. It may start with a track, a song title, a few words, a melody, some chords. It really always varies. Having all this time at home, I’ve reverted back to playing the piano, more than ever actually. It feels really good and organic. I can write to tracks all day if I wanted to but there’s nothing like sitting down and writing on a piano.
You have 3 stand out singles, LA Changes You, Liberteens and your latest, I’m Sorry You’re Boring. All have creative videos, ranging from super dramatic to outright funny. How much of a part do you play in the creative direction?
A lot of the visuals and creative direction begin with me and then maybe develop further with the help of a director or my team. I put a lot of emphasis on the visuals and having something that compliments and parallels the feel of the lyrics, but translated to a screen. I have always been a die-hard film fanatic and it’s super nerdy and weird but I find cinematography, colors, the intention behind things, extremely impactful.
You recently had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at a New York Rangers game, at Madison Square Garden. What were your feelings when you first got the gig, and what was your experience like right before, during and after?
When I sang the anthem, I blacked out. I remember the lights, feeling and adrenaline very well but everything else… I was oddly really calm and just trying to take in the moment. During sound check, I was so nervous singing to empty seats but when the time came to sing in front of 30,000 ranger fans, I was totally fine. Performing at MSG has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I used to go to sporting games, Billy Joel concerts, Jingle Ball. I’ve seen so many incredibly talented artists and athletes in that same venue. It’s very surreal. I look back at it as probably the biggest achievement of my career thus far especially being a New Yorker. It makes the anticipation of what’s next for me even more exciting. Maybe I’ll be back at Madison Square Garden on the stage singing my own music soon. No goal is too high, I truly mean that.
People instantly form their opinions on what separates one artist from the next. What do you feel makes you different?
I think a lot of what sets me apart is my perspective and my lens on the industry, writing, and what it means to be a successful artist. I have never been into social media, in fact, I always joke about how I’m really technically impaired. Everything about being an artist comes down to the music and how it translates to people. You can have one song blow up on Tiktok and get a record deal but that doesn’t mean you have longevity in a music career. It’s all about the writing and what it means to be an artist, not an influencer.
Aside from music, what are some of your other interest, hobbies?
I love everything about film. If I had a day off, I would wake up, make the best breakfast you’ve ever seen, have my daily caffeine, and indulge myself in a movie marathon. I also love to explore, I don’t know if that counts as a hobby. I love staying busy and going to new places, trying new things in whichever city I’m in — Miami, New York, LA, etc. I enjoy anything that can add excitement to my life and put me out of my comfort zone.
What’s next for Gabi Sklar?
I have my next single coming out May 1st! It’s called All the Things You Never Say and it’s really close to heart. I wanted to capture that feeling of the first time seeing someone since shit went down — an ex-bestfriend, ex-boyfriend, someone you fell out of touch with — and everything you wish you could say to them and in turn, all the things you wish they’d say back to you. I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling of heartbreak and that longing of expressiveness. I have my EP — a hot mess — coming out really soon and I’m excited for the fans that have been with me since the beginning to see that growth, both personally and in my artistry.
Gabi is originally from Long Island, New York and currently based in New York and Miami. Check out her music here: