When you hear Skye's voice on any of Morcheeba's songs or her solo work, you know you are hearing something that seems to be not of this planet. Her voice is as powerful as an opera singer but is as tender as an eggshell. She mixes soul, rock, dub, and R&B over microbeats and has become the undisputed queen of trip-hop. After releasing her third solo album, Back To Now, last fall, she has been touring the world and also prepping with Morcheeba for a new album. I spoke to Skye about her music, Morcheeba, and her long career.
What does the title of your latest record, Back To Now, signify?
The title Back To Now is a line taken from a song "Little Bit Lost" from the record: "Trying to figure it out and find my way back to now." It's about feeling centred or grounded, if you like. Letting go of the past and being ready to move forward. I'm in a good place right now, mentally, spiritually and the album title reflects that.
With three solo records under your belt, how do you feel you have evolved as an artist?
It's been six years since my first solo record was released. I have evolved and naturally, one changes as a person. I'm always learning something new and I feel like I'm getting better at songwriting. I've already started writing for my next solo album and I hope to always keep evolving.
What did you do different on Back To Now that you had not done before?
In the past when writing songs, I would use a guitar or piano. This time around, I started with beats and loops. I knew I wanted the album to be more uptempo and have an electronic feel. Apart from three tracks, the whole record was written by myself and Steve Gordon [husband and writing partner]. We had 10 finished songs that we then took to a producer. That's another difference, the last two albums, each had two different producers. Back To Now was produce by just one person, Stephen Fitzmaurice, and in a shorter length of time. I think this record feels more cohesive.
Being that this is your third record, do you still get excited and / or nervous to make new music for yourself?
I'm every bit as enthusiastic aboutwriting and creating a new album as ever. I love being involved in the whole process. I have my own label, Skyewards, and have complete creative control, right through to the art work on the CD and the music video.
After rejoining Morcheeba in 2010, you are now back to being a solo artist full time or are you splitting your time among the projects?
Yep, I'm back in Morcheeba and we are in the process of writing a new album that will be out later this year. I will also continue to release solo albums. I'm in a very privileged position that I can do both!
You have collaborated with some amazing people, who would be your dream collaboration?
I'd love to work with Brian Eno and I'm a big fan of David Gilmore. My dream collaboration would be to work with the music producer of the next Bond movie! I'd really love to sing a theme tune like Shirley Bassey. She's one of my favourite singers.
Of all the songs you have written or sang, which is your favorite and why?
Can I pick two? I love "Bright Light" from the current record. It's the last track on the album. It's base on the take of a friend who has fallen deep in to the darkness of depression. And I want to try and help them, to bring them back. 'I'll take my brightest light, I'll take my rope. I'll pull you out to love again'
I also love "Not Broken" from my second album, Keeping Secrets [released 2009]. It's a very simple recording, voice and electric guitar, down tempo. Melancholic yet hopeful. Someone up loaded it on to YouTube and its gotten over a million hits without any push from a label or ad. People have found it and seem to really connect with it.
A version of this interview appeared on officiallyayuppie.com