Interview of Skela by Rose Sejean // NYC musician Skela chats to Rose Sejean about her brand new EP, managing self-doubt and her favorite NYC artists!
Interview of Skela by Rose Sejean
Hey Skela! Watcha doin’?
Currently sipping coffee and sitting near the window sill of my bedroom. It’s autumn in New York but it feels like summer; the trees outside my fire escape are still covered in green… I’m thinking about how fall is the time of year where change is something you can feel in your bones. I wonder when things will start to.
Can you give us the low down on your brand new EP?
I’m so excited! Seriously, I cannot wait.
It’s been a long time coming, but I feel like all this really negative stuff had to happen, all of these toxic people had to leave the picture in order for things to have come together so beautifully. The EP is signed to Herø Records (under Sony Orchard) which is nuts and it’s coming out with a poetry zine and a comic book. Writing is such a huge part of my life and I didn’t know how I would intertwine it with music for the longest time, but it all happened so seamlessly. It’s my first EP, my first record deal, my first poetry collection, my first graphic novel. I’m ecstatic and terrified – both good indicators of growth in my opinion.
At Ramona, we’re super pumped about the very special additions to the release; tell us about your COMIC BOOK and how we can get our hands on it!
The comic book was illustrated by this amazing artist – Nicolette Battad. Working with her on this has been such a special experience. There’s so much of myself, real pieces and memories, woven into the characters and design. I could not have picked a better or more driven artist to work with on this.
It will be exclusively released through Herø Records and we have some limited print editions coming out… I’ll snag one for you guys <3
You’re known around Brooklyn as a freestyle artist, can you talk us through what a typical writing session looks like for you?
So, I usually walk into a session with some kind of theme in my head or a couple of strong lines of poetry that I can build out from thematically. If I don’t have that – I’ll just start going into the mic. I’m a pretty emotional person, but I also hold a lot of things and feelings in so I think it’s why writing and free-styling melodies & lyrics come out easily. I kind of just see these happenings in my head and I describe them – out loud. I’m not sure what’s going through other people’s heads but that’s what’s going on in mine.
How do you deal with self-doubt and at what point did you start believing in your music enough to pursue it as a career?
I used to think I wasn’t good enough or special enough, I always felt like I was supposed to be “someone” but I figured everyone felt like that and I should ignore it.
I remember I was nineteen when I decided that I deserved a chance to try. I walked into a local music school, Centre Stage and told the woman at the counter (her name is Veronica Sanchez) that I had songs in my head and I wanted to get them out. She told me that I was special – that not everyone could do what I did. She gave me free lessons because she knew I couldn’t afford them on my own. She believed in me. I haven’t stopped trying from that moment on. I don’t intend to. Music isn’t something you go after – it’s something you just do.
It’s an understatement to say that your ‘neck of the woods’ has produced some of music’s finest acts; which NYC artists should we be listening to right now (a part from Skela, of course!)?
There are so many amazing artists in New York right now, here’s a list!
– Josh Jacobson
– Julie Hanse
– Faye Webster
Look out Skela! We’re raiding your record stash; what goodies can we expect to find in there?
My old guitarist left a few of his records at my apartment. I’ve been meaning to give them back but I’ve had one of them, Here – the Teenage Fanclub album on my record player for a couple of days now…
Pretend we’re at a giant Ramona slumber party; tell us your hopes and dreams!
I warn you – the list is very long. I want to release at least eleven albums in my lifetime, to be a Times Best Selling novelist, to tour the world and bring all my friends with me, to run artist housing in New York where creatives can live affordably and safely, to start a non-profit that donates free feminine sanitary products to schools & homeless shelters all over the country, my own brand of beer, a highway named after me, and a candle shop. I really want to wind up selling candles out of a cute little shop near the beach and it has a secret lair attached that only I know about. I want all of these things. I’m currently manifesting.
If you could send a present back in time to your 14 year old self, what would it be?
This is a hard one. I was such a stubborn teenager, I don’t think there’s anything I could have given myself that would have changed the course of my life in a dramatic way for the better. Maybe a note, telling myself it would all be worth it one day. I don’t know that it’s actually true yet but I think the power of thought is the greatest force we have in this world.
Do you have any parting advice for our awesome readers?
I don’t want to be cliche, but I can’t stop thinking about Veronica now, her life and her passion for music and helping others – it changed mine. She believed in me so much – this lost girl who didn’t know what the hell she was doing with her life. My advice is to help one another, be kind, give back, be the hope people have lost. You are meant for greater things. You are someone. You have a purpose.
Skela’s new EP HERE | And stay tuned for the Comic Book & Poetry Zine!