Skye Steele Premieres "Stay With Me", Talks Paula Abdul and a Run In with Rufus Wainwright

Post Author: Meredith Schneider

With one of the most insane resumes we’ve seen in a while, Skyle Steele has really paved a path for himself in the music industry. His latest track – an island vibe track by the name of “Stay With Me” – makes its debut right here, right now, just ahead of the release of his new collection All The Light. A mid-tempo work, “Stay With Me” in enhanced by both Steele and Jolie Holland’s vocals, bringing a raspy, intense layer to it all.

In honor of hosting the exclusive premiere of “Stay With Me”, we were lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Skye.
What was the first track or album you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
I have three older siblings, so all the first stuff I remember hearing was what they were getting into. The first tape I remember on heavy rotation in our van that wasn’t classical music was Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl“, which my oldest brother bought when it came out.
Does that first musical encounter have any bearing on what you create now?
I listened to that album for the first time in years on tour last summer and realized it’s basically the record that every synth-pop band in Brooklyn has been trying to make for a few years. Sick synth bass, shameless rock sax, totally dancey. It’s pretty awesome. Also, the title track is this kind of responsive boy/girl duet I associate more with Latin pop music, like it could be Monchy Y Alexandra if it was in Spanish. It’s cheesy in a way I have no problem getting behind.
You have quite the musical background, by the way. Are there any fun anecdotes from your encounters you’d like to share, or anything you’ve learned directly from a musician that has aided in your solo career?
Hmm… I had a really sweet run-in with Rufus Wainwright when I was new in New York and I was filling in with this great 20s-style big band (Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks) that did the Aviator Soundtrack. I was like 25 years younger than everyone else on the recording session and just sort of freaked out to be there and trying to hold my own. Rufus came in to do his tune and after we’d done a couple takes and the producer had said, “Ok, I think we’ve got it” Rufus was like, “No, let’s do one more and this time have the violin take a big solo after the first chorus…” He kinda waltzed by and gave me this big smirk and went back into the vocal booth. And that’s the take they ended up using on the album.
“Stay With Me” is such a sultry, calming track. Almost has that island vibe that we’ve been craving all winter. What inspired it, specifically?
Ha! I love that you got that. We may or may not have been listening to Rihanna’s “Work” over and over in the studio while working on that beat.
Was the track written with this sound in mind, or was it something that developed while working with Jolie Holland?
It was totally different– I originally wrote “Stay With Me” for my duo project with Charlie Burnham, and he wrote most of the lyrics. He’s a really fantastic jazz/blues fiddle player and singer in New York, a generation older than me and one of my heroes, really. We played it with me on guitar doing this almost Brazilian finger-picking thing. When I brought the song to Cassorla, who produced this album, he had the idea to turn it inside out with the synths and dance-hall-y thing.
I already knew I wanted to do something with Jolie on this record and this song lyrically seemed like a great fit for her. Once the production took shape I thought it would be really fun to hear her sing in such a different context too. She knows and is a fan of Charlie also, so it just made sense on all these levels.
Speaking of, how did you get in cahoots to get her raspy, beautiful vocals on the track with you?
I was a fan of Jolie’s and we had a couple mutual friends, but we didn’t connect till Adam Brisbin, her guitarist, introduced us before a house show they were playing in Brooklyn a couple years ago. We hit it off and as they were getting ready to start Jolie said, “Hey, I have my violin here, why don’t you sit in with us on a couple tunes?” I was freaked out, but I had been listening to Wine Dark Sea obsessively on tour that summer, so I felt like I could jump into the vibe without ruining everything. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and we’ve become friends since then.
How do you imagine people listening to “Stay With Me”?
Hmm, I think it’s good for that dance party in your kitchen at the end of the night– maybe you cooked dinner for your girl or your boy. You had a little dessert, and you’ve only got a couple candles on and maybe the light over the stove. And the dishes aren’t gonna get done tonight.
Let’s worm a weird question in… if you could collaborate with any rumored member of the Illuminati, who would you choose and what would you create?
Umm, I bet Da Vinci could direct a sick music video. Maybe we could get Tupac to do a guest verse.
We really can’t wait to hear more. What’s up next for you in 2017?
I’m so excited for people to get to hear this album. It’s been two years of work and it finally all comes out May 26. I’ve got some solo shows coming up in the Midwest and Southeast, an NYC release show with the band, booking the rest of the summer, and looking for chances to sneak back to LA to do more recording with Cassorla, so… lot’s of music!
Gas ain’t cheap. Everybody buy the record when it comes out!
All That Light comes out May 26th via HouseTown. It is available for preorder now.