Black Talent TV talks to Sky James about his work in the entertainment industry as a musician and actor. We learn more about his upcoming project and how he got introduced to the industry.
1. What is your favorite project to date?
Sky: I would have to say my favorite project I’ve worked on so far was a short film called “Perception” by Karynrose Bruyning. It was for a youtube channel named “Christmas In July 1982”. I co-starred in it, wrote poetry for it, and scored it (along with my partner Dom Luis for Dreamable Music Group). It was the first time I was utilizing all of my talents in one space. That film will always be a milestone for me. It represents the many possibilities out there.
2. When did you start acting/singing?
Sky: I started rapping around ten years old. My church had a youth group and to keep us out of trouble they would have us write rhymes and perform them for the church. Even then I didn’t think it was something I wanted to do professionally. Even in middle school and high school, I was somewhat reluctant. I wanted to be behind the scenes. It wasn’t until college that I started to pursue it full time. My cousin Dominique (Dom Luis, my business partner, and producer) would make beats and had a little makeshift studio set up in his living room. I would come back to the city from school and be there 90% percent of the time. He encouraged me to take music seriously. As far as acting, I never imagined that for myself. It wasn’t until a chance encounter with a friend, Karynrose Bruyning, who also happened to be a writer and content creator, that I even considered it. I had done some music for her series, “Smoke and Mirrors”. She told me about some new stuff she was working on (which ended up being “Beyond Complicated”) and I asked for an opportunity jokingly. She took me seriously and she made me take it seriously (I just won best supporting actor at SnowDance short film festival in Belgium, so I guess shoutout to her for seeing something I didn’t). The rest is history. I’ve always been a fan of the arts as a whole, thanks to my grandmother. She would take me to the movies, museums, theater productions, Alvin Ailey, you name it. She enrolled me in the Harlem School of the Arts, so I think my foray into the arts has been a natural progression of sorts; however, it isn’t possible without that support, encouragement, and on my own part, belief.
3. What do you find most challenging about working in the entertainment industry?
Sky: To be honest, working in entertainment for me is fun. I’m very lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to work with very talented people and be apart of some really quality work. I think in terms of being creative, the challenge is staying motivated. You go through those periods of doubt and discouragement. Social media, of course, doesn’t help. I think the most important thing is awareness. Knowing who you are, what you like, what you want to contribute. Answering those questions for yourself is the most difficult part of your journey, but once you know those things you can start to enjoy the ride. Instead of thinking, I have to do this thing, you start to think, I get to do this thing; that’s a much better perspective.
4. What can you tell us about your future projects?
Sky: Currently I’m working on a few things. My business partner and I (Dreamable Music Group) scored a film called “Part of Me” directed by Marcellus Cox that should be hitting the festival circuit soon. We’re also currently scoring a film called “Swipe” by Thomas Cooksey. I’m getting back into web series this year as well: One by Karynrose Bruyning called “What Love Is” and another by Shakeima Boston called “Nic Jones”. I’m also currently finishing up my third album “Peace and Blessings Manifest…You know the rest,” that should be out in August, so yea plenty of work. God is Good.
5. What/who has been your biggest influence?
Sky: I’m influenced by different people in different mediums, Kanye of course. The way his mind works is interesting to me. All controversy aside, he really is the father of my generation of artists. He’s ambitious and for that I’m grateful. “Graduation” changed my life. Q-tip is my favorite producer of all time; his ear has a mystic quality to it. The way he can pull from different records and make this new thing is dope, Tribe Forever. My two favorite painters are Jean-Michel Basquiat and Henri Matisse. I think the philosophy of studying your history, and those that came before you and then putting it through your own filter is important. That’s Hip Hop quintessentially. My grandmother, as I mentioned before, she was an actress and singer in her day before she became a teacher. She always encouraged the arts in me and fed me that. I’m forever grateful.
6. If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be?
Sky: If I could collaborate with any artist it would probably be Frank Ocean. I think he has the greatest pen of our generation. There’s a level of humanity that he taps into that is difficult to achieve. He makes it look easy.
7. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
Sky: In the next year I just want to contribute. I think I’ve found my purpose in creativity. Now the challenge is growth, stretching myself, getting better. I have a tattoo of a light bulb behind my right ear. It symbolizes ideas; the right side of the brain being the creative section. I know these things aren’t of my own doing. I believe a higher a power is giving them to me. My only job is to hone it and bring it to life.
8. What genre of music do you listen to the most?
Sky: I think my favorite genre of music is R&B from the 70’s and 80’s. Some of my earliest memories are with music. I remember being on timeout at my godmother’s house, and there was a little radio in the corner. It was playing Anita Baker“Giving you the best that I got”. Till this day Anita is one of my all-time favorite artists. That era of music makes me think of family. Whether it be dancing to The Gap Band“Outstanding” at a family function, or riding around listening to WBLS with my grandmother and Luther comes on, and she loses it. My life has been shaped by that music so it will always have a special place in my heart.