“We all want to be the number 1 guy or girl, but do you deserve it? And are you willing to be patient until you are deserving enough? These are questions that a lot of artists aren’t asking themselves. I’ve asked myself and I’m prepared.”
Check out the interview with Liyl Skywalker exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
Liyl Skywalker: I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I grew up singing and dancing to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Around the age of 11 I stumbled onto the music of Tupac Shakur and fell in love with hip hop. I have been writing and recording since my early teenage years. I started taking it more seriously in 2010 after losing in a talent showcase where the winner got an opportunity to meet with Def Jam Records.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
Touring and being on stage would make the most sense. I’m also a very big advocate of social media marketing. It seems as if in this day and age your online presence can make or break you. I try to stay one step ahead and remain interactive with fans and supporters. Tips? Just remain true to yourself, your family, and most of all the reason you started creating. It’s a special gift use it wisely.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
I want to become inspirational. I spoke of Tupac earlier and I feel that he serves as the blueprint for my own aspirations. I don’t shy away from hard topics especially when dealing with politics or race relations. I want to be a mogul, one of the guys who can really help other peoples dreams become a reality. If God continues to bless me it’s my duty to return the favor to others.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
I think the hardest thing about being in the business is being patient. We want instant gratification and more often than not that will be impossible. We all want to be the number 1 guy or girl, but do you deserve it? And are you willing to be patient until you are deserving enough? These are questions that a lot of artists aren’t asking themselves. I’ve asked myself and I’m prepared.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where skyscrapers and a posh downtown make tourists forget about the ills of the ghetto. I am a native of those same ills, North Philly. It’s a very vibrant and lively place with a thriving underground music scene and has birthed some of the best lyricists to ever blaze a mic.
I feel like I have a little bit of a reputation to maintain based on the type of musicians my city has been known to produce. Living here is like living in a melting pot. You have killers, scholars, pimps, artists, b-boys, and a prevalent Islamic presence. Loosely, about 85% of the city is Black Muslim including myself.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
Work hard. Don’t pay too much attention to what other people are doing and just make sure you’re being true to yourself. If it makes you feel bad don’t do it. Life’s too short to suffer the entire time so keep friends close and enjoy the things that make you feel good.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
The creation of my own label, HeadHunterMoneyGang Entertainment LLC. The freedom that comes from owning yourself is second to none. I’ve also had business meetings with some of the most influential people in music. Also a recurring best thing would have to be the fact that fans are supporting and buying the music and merchandise. It gets no greater than that.
What is your inspiration?
I come from nothing. My friends and I can be quoted telling people “we have saved up to be broke.” Nothing came easy for me or any of us. That was the initial inspiration. But in 2007 my son was born and that’s when I knew I had a real purpose in life.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
That depends on your perception. Success means different things to different people. I don’t think that one hit wonders qualify as successful but others might. Me personally, I feel like you have to solidify yourself in this business not just through releasing singles but albums too.
If people could go back to making music from the heart we may be better off. Too many artists are following the industry blueprint. Get a mustard beat and make and up-tempo song and you got yourself a hit for 3 weeks. No shade to the beat making DJ, but I just feel that the wash, rinse, and repeat approach is a little tired.
Where can we find you on social media?