Balancing college with music,18-year-old Gabi Sklar is following her dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter. She is emerging in the pop music industry already in being recognized by industry veterans Lucian Grange and Mike Caren, as well as working closely with Don Lawrence, the vocal coach of Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, and others. Sklar’s single,”LA Changes You,” boasts 141k views on Youtube and her latest single, “Liberteens” has garnered 40k views. Her skill set as a pianist, songwriter and vocalist undoubtedly have her destined for success in the music industry. I was able to interview Gabi about her experience in the industry, the meaning behind her music, and her prospective future as an artist.
How long have you been playing music and how did you get involved in the music industry?
I cannot remember the first time I started singing, I was that young, but I remember teaching myself piano when I was seven, taking lessons at eight and this is when I began writing music. I was fourteen when I signed to my management, we sent out some demos, and from there the journey just took off.
What is the main inspiration or message behind your song and video “Liberteens.”
Liberteens is basically a part one to a novel of stories from high school and my teenage years. I wrote the song when I was sixteen (I’m eighteen now) and it was about my hardships; the best and worst moments of being sixteen and how it shapes you into adulthood.
What is your definition of a “Liberteen” and how does it connect to the spirit of the millennial generation?
I think being a teenager alone is a period of recklessness, mistakes, maturity, and your first time for everything. You have your first kiss, your first breakup, you go to your first party… It’s all a lot to take in and that’s really what the song aims to emphasize. Sure, libertines are significant in the millennial generation but truly, all generations.
List your musical influences and the impact they’ve had on your music.
Early 2000’s music was a huge influence and inspiration in my taste of music. Even to this day, I love Fergie, Panic at the Disco, Hilary Duff, Miley. The reason I started playing the piano was because of All American Rejects’ “It Ends Tonight”. There’s a piano part in the beginning that I remember thinking ‘wow I need to play that’… The only problem was I didn’t play the piano. I would sit down and try to play it by ear until a jumble of notes sounded somewhat accurate.
One of your songs is called “LA Changes You.” Do you still believe this? Why or why not?
I mean, the song was based off of a fear I had at the time. I don’t currently have that fear because I’ve kind of grown up to realize the person I’m not. I definitely have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but I can say that I’m surrounded by great mentors to help lead the path in my career.
What has been your favorite experience thus far as an artist and why?
I went to China a few years back to tour and I think it was just so different than what I was used to seeing. They really appreciated the culture of American music and they responded so positively. It was my first experience getting to interact with fans and touring in general.
How has working with Don Lawrence helped you find your voice as an artist?
He just taught me an entirely different way of thinking and singing. He took what I had, helped me enhance it, and added so much technique. I never realized how important technique is because, without it, you don’t have longevity in singing or a career. More than just singing, he taught me to be diligent and not to be afraid to mess up, and I’m forever thankful for that!
How do you balance college and your music career and what obstacles have come from it?
I always told myself that education is extremely important and no matter what happened in my career, I’d go to college. I’m not gonna lie, it’s extremely difficult. I think it’s a lot about time management and making sacrifices. Sometimes, I may not go to this party but I’ll be writing an awesome song instead. Of course, my experiences influence my music and vice versa but to me, music is the priority.
From what you’ve learned from the music industry, what is one piece of advice you would give to beginners looking to start a career in music?
Find what sets you apart from others and stick with it. It’s your differences that will make you stand out.
What do you see for the future of your music?
More music! And hopefully with more music, a tour.
Are there any projects or new music coming soon that fans could look forward to?
My manager called me the other day with some news, and we have a lot in the works, which is so exciting. I’m planning on releasing a few singles and we’re working on a bunch of cool projects, but I can’t give too much away just yet!