At just 23 years old, Gabi Sklar has taken the music scene by storm, captivating the hearts of millions with her compelling vocals and dynamic songwriting. Hailing from New York, this emerging artist has rapidly become one of the most exciting acts in the realm of pop. Despite having released only a few singles, Gabi has already garnered a dedicated fanbase, boasting an impressive 3.6 million TikTok followers and 1.2 million Instagram followers who eagerly await her next musical offerings. Sklar spoke with INTERSECT about her latest release, the infectiously catchy single "Lonely Times," which serves as the lead track for her much-anticipated debut EP scheduled for 2024.
Today, the much-anticipated debut single from your EP, "Lonely Times," has been unleashed. What’s the inspiration behind this track, and how does it illuminate the creative process that brought it to life?
“Lonely Times” was one of those things where there have just been so many events that led me to write it. I remember I had this idea on my phone. I wanted to write something like that, and then I conversed with a producer friend, who ultimately did the record. We were talking about how, like, these are lonely times. With billions of people, we can still feel alone and lost in our emotions, feelings, and everything we're going through. I'm someone who feeds into the loneliness. I victimize myself when I take myself away from situations that make me inevitably contribute to the problem of loneliness. So that's really what inspired it. The truth is that I think so many people in different stages of their life, no matter what they're going through, can relate to it, especially someone who's, you know, 23 and trying to figure out how to navigate the world.
Your music stands out with its doo-wop harmonies and pop production. Could you elaborate on the process of crafting your distinctive sound and the key influences that have contributed to your current musical style?
What developed my sound was just trial and error. You know, I started working with Tommy Brown, an incredible producer overseeing my project, about a year and a half ago, and he was very encouraging with the idea of just going in and creating art. With social media, we often need help delivering something catered to, like you said, a particular age group, a specific demographic, and an algorithm. And what I wanted to do with my artistry is preserve the art for what it is and the intention of creating it. And so I just kept writing music and music and music, and finally, it started paving itself.
As your fan base continues to grow, how do you involve and interact with your fans in the creative process?
It's funny because I had ten years of trying to navigate an artist career before TikTok, and with social media and the platform that I've built, and they've helped me build, you know, it's been very encouraging to keep going, and find my people. They've been there since the beginning. I owe everything to that on that platform. Engaging and communicating with the fans got me here to where I am.
In your song "Lonely Times," you explore the distinction between solitude and loneliness, delving into the introspective aspects of these emotions. How do you navigate these feelings in your personal life and how do they shape your musical expression?
I'm someone who values time alone. I love to be alone. I've never had an issue with time being alone, but when it comes to feeling lonely, I find myself in little desolate pockets. It's like if I'm traveling and then outside of the studio, and then I finally have downtime to reflect. That's when I find myself being the loneliest. And it's just filling yourself with people close to you, loved ones, knowing you are not alone in feeling alone. And it's all temporary. There are so many people in the world, and there are so many people who care about you, and it's just keeping those people close by.
When you embark on the process of reflection in your music, where does the creative journey begin for you? Is it with a specific word, a memory, a melody, or something else entirely?
It's always different. With "Lonely Times," I had been driving in the car, which, for some reason, I think many ideas just come to me when I'm driving. And it goes back to the idea that, like, that's much time you have to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. I started just humming this melody. And then after that conversation with my producers and friends, like talking about these are lonely times. It was one of those things where I heard it, and I was like, oh, you know, like I felt that. So we created a real-life conversation from that place. But it's always a different process.
In an industry that often encourages conformity to social norms and expectations, how do you manage to preserve your authenticity and stay true to the artistic vision you're striving to create as an emerging artist?
I think there's a reminder that there are certain artists already existing in a space, and the reason that they came to be and their success came to be to the extent that it came to be is that they were authentic to themselves. And in this day and age, where everything's so saturated, it's really easy to see what is genuine and what is not. So, I'd be doing a disservice to myself and my fan base if I weren't authentic to myself.
What are your aspirations and objectives for the upcoming EP?
I can't share much yet, but the EP is basically written. Now we're fine-tuning and prepping and doing all the visuals and stuff, but it's very exciting because I haven't yet released a little body of work that feels like it's a movie that's, you know, how to start a middle and an end. That tells my story. I want fans to feel like they can relate to something. With every song that I release, my goal is that people can get lost in it, that it serves as a little world for maybe three minutes and 15 seconds of their life where they could just, no matter what's going on around it, they get lost in this little world.
You've had the opportunity to collaborate with legendary songwriters such as Diane Warren. What are some memorable moments or experiences from these collaborations, and do you have any dream collaborations in mind for the future?
I remember going into Meet Diane for the first time, and I think I played her one song. We were talking about, you know, my career goals and being a woman in the industry. And she just looked at me and was like, I want to help you take over the fucking world. And that's something you remember from Diane Warren. So that was incredible. And I would love to work with Labyrinth. Dolly. There are so many talented people that it would be an honor to be in the same space and learn from them. But those are the two.
What message or emotional impact do you aim for your music to convey to your expanding audience, especially as you approach the release of your upcoming EP?
I am getting lost in the space of music, that music is music, and it's supposed to serve. As for me, it is a distraction from life because we all go through many similar emotions and in different parallel stories. So, I want people to relate to my music in the same way that I admire my favorite artists. It's an experience. It creates that for them.
You have been cultivating your distinct sound, which continues to evolve. What guidance would you offer to younger generations aspiring to develop their unique sound and leverage social media for growth, similar to your own journey?
I always say, and I hope it's not too redundant, but you can have two different lives one year apart. And I strongly believe in that because it happened to me and I, you know, I graduated college, and I was the pandemic occurred, and I moved home with my parents and my siblings and my dogs, and I didn't know what would happen for me. And. One video changed my life, and one moment led to another. So, keep going. Know that your people will find you and be authentic to yourself. Don't let it change you.