D’Lannie Sky has been in the music industry since she was 12 years old. She has a legion of fans and has had the chance to work with some of the top producers in the industry. Not bad for a girl who grew up in a suburb in Dallas, Texas so small it was literally called “Flower Mound”.
There is a certain level of glamour spouting that is expected on social media today and many young musicians, singers and artists have become incredibly skilled at showing the best of an industry. D’Lannie Sky was kind enough to help reveal what it takes for an independent artist to make waves, while also looking at the best ways to travel.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN?
I have been in the music industry since I was 12 years old and was lucky enough to be put in the studio with well-known producers who really helped me mould my style at a young age.
Raphael Hamilton taught me everything I know. Him and his brother Roy Hamilton were my first producers and that paved my way in this journey. Working with the Hamiltons really helped me learn and grow as an artist. Since then I have worked with producers such as The Movement, The Jam, Jackie Boyz, Keisha Miles, Richard Harris, Chris Garcia, Mr. Hanky, E-A-Ski, Mega and many other respected people in the industry. It’s given me a great perspective, as each experience has been different with everyone that I worked with.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN 2017?
The biggest part of 2017, for me, was finding myself as an artist. For years I was so focused on what everyone thought I should be doing and I wanted to change that and focus just on me. I took advantage of what you could call an ‘artist’s break’ and focussed on writing and creating new music in the studio.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THIS YEAR FROM YOU?
In 2018 I will be releasing new music that I have been working on over the past year. I have been writing in the studio and recording songs and I am excited to find out how my fans like them. My style of music has been my main focus and I wanted to make sure that the sound was right and exactly what I wanted.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PUT TOGETHER A SONG?
When I am in the studio recording it can take me anywhere from four all the way up to 9 hours to record one single. It usually depends on the song and if I want to add harmonies and whatnot. Sometimes one song can take a few days; it really just depends on my creativity level and vocal chords on the day. Making an album is very time consuming. You never want to rush your writing and want to make sure that the quality you are putting into your project is 100%.
In the past it has taken me a couple of months to finish 10 songs. In 2018 I will be putting out single releases, focussing on content for my fans and not so much an album. One is on the cards in the near future, but that is not on my list of priorities right now; giving my fans good content is.
YOU’RE AN INDEPENDENT ARTIST AT THE MOMENT. DO YOU SEE THIS AS A PLUS OR A NEGATIVE?
I am riding solo with the team and focussing on branding and new content for my fans. Being an indie artist with no label support has really helped me grow as an individual.
It’s wonderful to know that the fans are there for the music and not because I am being pushed super hard on the radio by a major label. I am enough of a realist that I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to be signed in the future, as my music would only reach more fans if it were on the local and international stations. I am a pragmatic person and instead of focussing on what I don’t have as an artist, I take advantage of the resources that I have right now to reach my fans.
DOES THAT MEAN YOU ARE VERY INVOLVED IN THE CREATION OF YOUR MUSIC?
Of course I am very involved when it comes to writing my music and putting out new content! Music videos, albums and singles are all well thought out with my team and I. Having a team is very important and I am lucky enough to have a network that allows me to be creative in my own way and not force me into anything that doesn’t feel authentic. I think it’s vital to have a team, no matter what industry you’re in.
YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT AS AN INDEPENDENT MUSICIAN AND CLEARLY HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY. WHAT ADVICE COULD YOU GIVE OTHER ARTISTS READING THIS WHO WANT TO MAKE IT?
Firstly, know that life isn’t always as glamorous as it looks. It is hard work and if you’re not true to yourself you’ll lose your way. So, my advice for young singers trying to break into the music industry is just to be you. You will meet so many people that tell you what they think or what could make you a huge star. At the end of the day, it’s luck and a whole lot of content. You should take advantage of social media and grow your platform from there. Also, don’t try to do it by yourself. Create a team that you can work with and believe in.
BEING PART OF A TEAM IS IMPORTANT TO YOU ISN’T IT?
My family is to blame for that! I grew up in a small town called “Flower Mound”. It is a suburb city in Dallas, Texas. I am the only child and I come from a mixed ethnic family. My mother is Hispanic and my father Caucasian. I’m a Virgo and growing up with mixed heritage was fun, as I got to experience both sides and it really helped me grow as an artist. Music has been in my family for many years. We always sing when we get the family together, it’s one big karaoke party!
WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL METHODOLOGY?
Whether it’s for music or pleasure, I always travel with a group of people. If it is somewhere local we travel by car and we get to stop at places along the way. Mostly when I travel it’s by plane, because the places that we go to are usually out of the country, or too far by ground. When I travel by air I usually fly economy. Nothing too fancy and I like to keep a good budget for spending money. I always have a neck pillow, even though I end up sleeping on the shoulder of the passenger next to me.
NEW PLACES ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I love visiting new places and getting to explore the world! My dream places to visit next on my list are: Dubai, India, Israel and Alaska. Recently I got to explore Australia and New Zealand. It was amazing; so much wildlife and open greenery that you feel free from everything.
ARE YOU A GOOD TRAVELLER?
I travel a couple of times a month usually and it’s mostly for pleasure. We are a vacation kind of family and we travel like a wolf pack. Sometimes I will purchase travel insurance if it is somewhere foreign or if the weather is going to be bad. I always pack last minute, as in the night before I leave and I am never able to really sleep on planes because I always feel like I am falling. Usually I sleep when I get there or just eventually pass out from exhaustion. Most of the airlines now have free movies and that’s what keeps me up on long flights. I am able to catch up on all the latest news and shows. I’m definitely a ‘Netflix and fly’ kind of girl.
A LOT OF ARTISTS UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE AMOUNT OF COMMITMENT IT TAKES. HOW DO YOU TACKLE COMMUNICATION AND COMMENTARY WITH ALL YOUR FANS?
I have a team that helps me with my social media but it is always me doing the posting and the commenting. It’s mostly a schedule and with help from my team, it goes well. Of course, if I am super busy or out sick I will have my team post something for me.
Twitter is my favourite social right now; that’s where I feel like I get the most engagement. It has been my go-to for years now, although I do my fair share of creeping on Instagram.
HOW DO YOU STAY FIT?
I’ve let that slip over the holidays and kept to a strict diet of eating all food that tastes good! But, 2018 will see me getting back into things. I used to hit the gym all the time but the holidays are all about being super lazy.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ESSENTIAL BRANDS THAT YOU RELY ON?
I have a couple of favourite brands that I can’t not take with me when I am travelling. One of which is called Still Standing Spray- this is a spray that I use whether I am in workout shoes or heels. It helps keep my feet from getting blisters and it smells amazing. I use it so that my feet won’t hurt from walking a ton. I love the whole range of products and they even have a unisex spray now and I highly recommend it to everyone.
For my bags and purses I love this new company that just launched and the brand is called Braccialini. They have super cute handbags and backpacks. I am currently an affiliate of the brand and I absolutely recommend everyone check out the newest designs.
THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY THAT ISN’T SPOKEN ABOUT MUCH. COULD WE BRING IT INTO THE LIGHT?
Absolutely. Being a woman in the industry has opened my eyes to the sexual harassment and bullying which is never seen by the public. It’s a case of people taking advantage of their positions of power and it happens to men and women alike and can be very discouraging at times, especially if you’re new to things. Always walk away from people like that and know that even if it’s the longer route without them, it will be worth it in the end.
“For my bags and purses I love this new company that just launched and the brand is called Braccialini“- Dlannie Sky.
Read #HowTheyTravel. Exclusive Interview with Gigg.com CEO Scott Warner. A pioneer into the promotion and discovery of musicians.