The Future Of Christian Music Looks Bright!
Wheatland is a small town with a total area of only 4.1 square miles and a population of less than 5000. It is located in southeastern Wyoming. If Christian singer/songwriter Skylar Kaylan gets her wish, she’ll single-handedly put Wheatland on the map!
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Kaylan possesses a maturity beyond her years, and she has a solid grasp on her faith and music, and she is very well spoken and conveys the “It Factor.” The music of Skylar Kaylan will become, to my hope, the new generation of Christian music.
“Happy Every After” is uplifting and just plain fun. It has an early Taylor Swift feel, not a Taylor Swift rip-off; but it portrays the same purity and honesty. Skylar portrays a comfort on her videos that reflects not only a singer in her comfort zone, but also the makings of a seasoned actress.
Her “Tears in a Bottle” song echoes a deeply contemplative worship song with lyrics beyond the heart and maturity of most girls Skylar’s age.
I was blessed to speak with Skylar and her mother (Summer) about her career and music.
I was about five when I began singing in my church and in local talent events. My family has always been involved together in dance and music, with my mom leading church music events, directing musicals and directing our singing and dancing troupe. My parents are very involved in my ministry now as well. My mother handles much of the management, and my father is the more technical type – running sound and production.
Summer (Skylar’s Mother), at what point did you realize that Skylar had the talent and maturity to contend in Christian Entertainment?
Skyler truly loves performing, and loves being on stage. She has displayed genuine talent since she was young.
Her songwriting has always projected a solid structure; she’s not just a kid throwing out a song. Her music is well-written and structured. Moreover, she understands how to convey the songs to an audience. That’s something people pick up in her performance — the maturity. God has given Skylar a gift to write about subjects she has not yet experienced.
Skylar has been playing guitar since age twelve. She has been studying music theory; up until these lessons, she has learned to play by ear. She wrote her first song at eleven and performed it for our church.
Skylar, how do you keep your faith strong?
It all goes back to Bible study that my parents and brother have done together. My Sunday school has a very cool youth pastor who emphasizes how to keep your faith strong in this world today. Overall my faith comes back to my personal relationship with God. You can keep your relationship strong by just talking to God throughout the day. It’s doesn’t have to only be down on your knees praying. I think of God as our friend, so why not just talk to him as if you’re walking around with your friends. It’s like being with my brother, I can walk around the kitchen just talking to him and having fun. I think the same thing applies to God as well. He’s our Father and our friend.
I want to use my music to help others. I have a passion for kids my age looking for love in all the wrong places. I want to help people grow in their relationship with God.
Summer, what advice do you have for parents raising their children to be successful Christian entertainers.
From a Christian music perspective, we continue to refine what Skylar wants to do with her music, and why she’s doing it. We were naive at first and had experiences with others who wanted to get involved but had different motives for Skyler’s direction and success. We had to pull back and make certain we were doing it all for the right reasons, and not for the purpose of making Skylar a superstar.
It’s important to counsel her. We felt it was important to include and ask Skylar; what is the importance of this, and what are you doing it for? That similar question applied to us as well.
We want to surround her with people who will keep her accountable in her faith and motives. Skylar refers to herself as a “Musicianary.” It is not about the money; her music is defined by her ministry.
Bottom-line: it is very important for us to become true to God and ourselves and say, “No, I don’t like that or agree with that direction.” We are remaining true to Skylar and not the image others think is best for her to portray. Because we’re currently not with a record label, we can do that. It’s hard to say no when you don’t know what you want, so we have spent a lot of time praying and talking about what God wants, most importantly.
Skylar what is your method for songwriting?
I don’t have a specific way to write music. Sometimes it starts with me hearing a melody or phrase in my head. Those are hard to capture when I’m out and about, because I often don’t remember them.
Usually songs will come to me when I’m just sitting in my room, not expecting a song. I’ll pick up the guitar and start playing the melody, and it continues flowing throughout the whole song.
Summer, do you have a studio in your home. How does Skylar record her music?
We are in the middle of nowhere, and we own no studio equipment. On Skylar’s first album we were uneducated and naive about the entire process. We went to California to record the songs Skyler had written.
For her next project, she records the basic song structure on her iPod to send to the producer for the demo. However, she’s now working with producer, composer and author John Eric Copeland of Creative Soul Records in Nashville. We send Eric the songs, decide the artists to bring in on each song, and connect with his studio session player via Skype to convey the personality of the music.
When will Skylar’s new music be released?
Lord willing, by the end of this summer!
I asked Skylar’s renowned producer, John Eric Copeland his thought on Skylar’s skills, faith and potential…
I don’t care how old she is, Skylar is just a plain good songwriter. Her melodies and lyrics have hooks, although we’re working on the lyrical side a bit as we go.
Her voice is very good, and you can tell she is on the precipice of making the transition from teen singer to young woman as far as the maturity of her vocals. We’ll be really paying attention to making that leap to a more mature (yet still young and vibrant) vocal quality.
As far as the remote thing (due to her remote location in Wyoming), that’s kind of the way we get things done in music these days. Skype (and Facetime) technology is leaps and bounds over where it was even a few years ago. We even have some plugins that allow for instantaneous streaming of what we’re tracking live for the artists to listen to remotely.
For us in Nashville, sending files back and forth and even Skyping into sessions is just business as usual now. I have a producer who lives across the street, and I email him everything. It’s a “beam it over” world.
So far it’s been nothing but a totally fun experience working with Skylar on this process, and I can tell you this is going to be one amazing project.