- July 28th, 2011
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UK national daily news publication The Guardian has picked Ms. Grey as their July 28 New Band of the Day featured artist. Longtime Guardian contributor Paul Lester had the following to say about Ms. Grey….
The lineup: Holly Brook (vocals, piano).
The background: New? Not as such, no, but she’s one those who we’re imagining might be New to you. And anyway, this is a rebirth of sorts. See, Skylar Grey has something of a pre-history and a CV splattered with illustrious names. Still only 25, she has been performing and recording for at least a decade, having first been one half of a folk duo with her mum called Generations. The came a solo career under her birth name of Holly Brook that didn’t amount to much, even if the failure did afford the acoustic naif a healthy dose of angst to fuel the next stage of her career. It was only after the jejune Wisconsin kid moved from Los Angeles to Oakview, California – renting a room in a house infested with black widow spiders and working as an editor of porn videos – and assumed the alias Skylar Grey that things started going in her favour. She began dressing like Marilyn Manson’s depressed little sister (she and the gothfather are, in fact, now chums), and penning pain-wracked hits for the great and good.
One of them, Love the Way You Lie, did rather well for Eminem and Rihanna, becoming the biggest-selling single of 2010. She also co-wrote P Diddy’s top five single Comin Home and Dr Dre’s UK top 10 hit I Need a Doctor, selling 1.5m singles in the UK and more 10m worldwide. More stats: she wrote the chorus to the Eminem/Rihanna track in a quarter of an hour, and it apparently took Eminem even fewer minutes to dismiss the suggestion by one of the producers on Dre’s long-awaited Detox album that Lady Gaga should do the vocals for I Need a Doctor, at which point he ever so politely insisted that it would be Skylar or no one.
Like Emeli Sande, Grey’s a behind-scenes pop writer for hire, as well as one of a new breed of tortured/ twisted female recording artists (see also: Niki and the Dove, Oh Land, Kyla La Grange and Lana Del Ray). Can she make the transition to pop star? She makes a decent fist of it in the video to Dance Without You, which posits Grey as a Stateside Anna Calvi or Zola Jesus lite. Set in a mental asylum, it shows our heroine as the wracked actor in the padded cell, all disturbed and dishevelled. Dark, clearly, is the new black. But who is the high priestess of this latest angst wave? Is it Polly Harvey? Siouxsie? Alanis? While you’re pondering that, allow us to tell you that Grey recently performed for the Dalai Lama, that Russell Crowe invited her via Twitter to go with him to a Prince gig, and that the aforementioned Mr Manson came up with the punny title of her forthcoming album, Invinsible, not to be confused with the single which precedes it, Invisible. The former is her watchword; the latter seems unlikely.
The buzz: “Thanks to her head-turning, raven-haired good looks and her voice, which is equally honeyed and icy, Grey is more than just a blip on our radar” – popcrush.com.
The truth: She’s not going to remain Invisible for long, she looks Invinsible to us, etc.
Most likely to: Be invinsible.
Least likely to: Be invisible.
What to buy: Her single Invisible is released by Universal on 15 September, and is followed by the album Invinsible.
File next to: Emeli Sande, Oh Land, Kyla La Grange, Niki and the Dove.
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