Skylar Stecker Gives You an Inside Look at 'Redemption'
Skylar Stecker released her sophomore album Redemption last Friday, and her fans can’t get enough of it.
Redemption is a record that showcases Stecker’s impeccable range. Listeners of the album have been sounding off on Twitter, making their voices heard. Redemption is available on all streaming platforms, and the message is loud and clear—Stecker is the real deal. Not only has she arrived, but she’s making a buzzworthy impression with vocals that are absolutely to die for. The below tweets are just a small sample of what some people are saying about the pop R&B singer.
Stecker’s admiration and fandom is earned, as Redemption didn’t come without learning tough lessons along the way. Through the challenges of breaking away from the establishment, the 16-year-old singer gained wisdom that only a veteran in the industry could possibly understand. Making the difficult decision to be independent doesn’t come without serious thought, so it’s no surprise that Stecker is wise beyond her years—she has to be. As dazzling as she is wise, this Wisconsinite’s energy is as enchanting as you imagine it would be, and Music & Mojitos was all ears as we sat down with Stecker for an exclusive interview.
“I’ve been in super album mode,” Stecker emphatically tells Music & Mojitos. “There have been rehearsals all of the time because I’ve got a show coming up at the Roxy on the 22nd, and then another show in Wisconsin, my hometown, on the 30th. I’m getting prepared for both of those shows because it will be the first time that I’m performing all of the new music.”
The girl behind Redemption has a gigantic checklist of places where she wants to showcase her latest songs. One of the open spots on her venue bingo card includes a stop across the pond. Stecker dreams of playing a packed house at Wembley Stadium, with visions of 65,000 adoring fans chanting her name. With Stecker’s raw potential and upside, her wish is more than likely to become a reality. She also has visions of performing with Bruno Mars and Beyoncé .
“Honestly, the Super Bowl was so cool with Bruno, Beyoncé, and Coldplay. In my head, I was like, ‘Sorry Coldplay, I love you, but I’m gonna take your spot,” Stecker bursts out into a warm laughter.
The confidence that Stecker embodies is in part due to her family. They are firmly planted in her corner. Stecker’s mom was seen giving a powerful and emotional testimonial of her daughter as they were making the media rounds last week. The singer tells Music & Mojitos that despite her parents having “zero music ability,” they backed up her decision to pursue the hard road known as the entertainment business.
“I signed up for a talent show to play the piano,” Stecker remembers. “When I walked into the audition, the music teacher told me, ‘You should sing.’ I was like, ‘Uhhh…nobody in my family sings. I’m going to be terrible.’ I sang for [my music teacher] and I found out I got in for my singing. After that, I fell in love with it.”
Immediately after the talent show, Skylar marched up to her mother, Kara Hendricks, to tell her that singing is what she was going to do with the rest of her life. The pill wasn’t too hard to swallow for Stecker’s mother. Hendricks was used to living life on the road. Traveling with her husband Aron Stecker—a football player with a Super Bowl ring—Hendricks has lived all over America while Stecker bounced around to different teams.
“My mom was like, ‘Uhhh…Not again! Here we go,’” Stecker playfully recalls.
The singer had to lace up her bootstraps and prove herself on a gridiron of her own. She learned the national anthem, and started submitting it everywhere that she possibly could. Armed with a trusty flip camera—which was a birthday present—Stecker would record herself and then email every team and celebrity that she could find. In a world before social media, Stecker had to be savvy with her diligent detective work. Stecker even managed to spam Ellen Degeneres. It was to no avail.
“She never read them—still!” Stecker laughs. “I mean, c’mon Ellen!”
Eventually, Stecker’s research paid off. The Wisconsin Badgers saw her video and picked it up. The rest became history. Within six months, Stecker found herself singing for the likes of the Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, Angels, Packers, and Saints. The young singer kept going on like the beloved Energizer Bunny, and her resume expanded.
“I grew up singing that song,” nods Stecker. “From then on, I started to write my own music. I always knew that I wanted to do more than covers. I wanted to put out my stories. My music.”
Before she turned 12, Stecker had her major opportunity to do just that. She released her EP, Firecracker. It was the first chapter in Stecker’s blossoming professional career. On the fast track to success, she continued to make waves. She signed with a label and released her debut album, This Is Me. Life was great for the then 14-year-old rising star.
Momentum was the singer’s biggest ally. Stecker was made with the song “Only Want You.” The track got the attention of the industry—and Mickey Mouse—on March 10, 2017. Radio Disney called her “the next big thing,” and it was hard to argue. Catchy at its core, the song did exactly what was necessary to capture the hearts of listeners. Produced by Tricky Stewart, “Only Want You” effortlessly climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs Chart. It marked the beginning of a successful working relationship between Stecker and Stewart. Stecker released several clips of her new songs with Stewart on her Instagram page before the official release of Redemption last Friday.
“[“Only Want You”] was a super fun song. I flew up to Atlanta right before Christmas a couple of years ago. I was there for 10 days. I did session after session with him,” remembers Stecker. “I loved Tricky. He was like a big teddy bear. He’s the sweetest guy, and so musical. It was such an experience. I came back to Atlanta to do two songs on Redemption. ‘Up On Game’ and ‘Fire.’”
The collaboration between the singer and producer creates an undeniably high-energy atmosphere, so it makes sense that the two joined forces again on Redemption. Stewart manages to capture Stecker’s crooning abilities at her very best and match it with poppin’ backdrops. Much like The Lion King, Stecker took back her throne to work with Stewart, only this time, independently.
“I’m independent by choice, which has been great,” Stecker admits to Music & Mojitos. “I’ve taken back a lot of the creative control that I’ve lost. I just want to be honest with this next phase of music. I’m so grateful for the way things played out.”
The body of work that Stecker produced wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t take the road less traveled. She considers herself lucky to be around people who believe in what she does. Stecker thinks her life is that much more fun and exciting because she is currently surrounding herself with company who is on the same page as her.
“It’s hard to do something to the extent that I want to do it if there’s people around who might not see the same vision,” Stecker tells Music & Mojitos. “It’s hard to do it like that. It’s honestly impossible if people want to go in different directions. I think it’s about finding new people who believe in me like I believe in myself.”
Having the people in your corner is one thing, but doing the work is another. Stecker knows that it takes intense hustle in order to make it to the top. She’s been there before, and she has plans on doing it again with Redemption.
“Hard work is the number one thing. If you put your mind to something and work really hard, and have no plan B—and just go for it, you can honestly accomplish anything you want to. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” says Stecker. “That’s what I’ve done just to get here. Not taking no for an answer. Continuing to keep pushing. You have to believe in what you’re selling. Keep going after it.”
The message of Redemption is telling. Stecker advises her listeners that they don’t have to depend on other people to do things for them. Being her own boss has allowed Stecker the freedom to find out who she really is. She wants her fans to be their own redemption, and not think twice about it.
“People have reached out to me, telling me, ‘That song has really helped me through my situation.’ That’s the best feeling ever,” smiles Stecker. “To know that my music was not only fun for someone to listen to, but to help somebody through something.”
With a potential tour on her mind, Stecker’s positivity is what the entire country needs right now. In a world that is being shaped by deceit, Stecker wants to counterbalance the turbulence with a breath of fresh air that can only be found in music—especially her own.
“I’ve been very honest with my fans. We’re all a family and have gone on this journey together. I know a lot of people say that, but they’ve got to see me grow up. I grew up with them. I’m really excited for them to hear this next chapter of music. I still can’t believe it. It’s surreal,” Stecker concludes.