GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Skylar Grey recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Grey discussed the message she hopes to communicate to her fans, what it was like to hear her music on the radio for the first time, transforming her career and stage name, and her debut album, Don't Look Down, among other topics.
"Skylar Grey is like … the superhero version of me. It's who I grew up into," said Grey. "I went through a major transformation after having some success in the music industry and then going totally broke. … I came out feeling like a superhero and I had to relabel myself."
Born Holly Brook Hafermann, in 2004 Wisconsin native Grey signed a deal as Holly Brook with Machine Shop Recordings, co-owned by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson of Linkin Park. Her debut album as Holly Brook, 2006's Like Blood Like Honey, reached No. 35 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. She subsequently opened for artists such as k.d. lang, Teddy Geiger and Jamie Cullum, among others, before deciding to take a hiatus from music and retreating to a cabin in Oregon. She reemerged in 2010 as Skylar Grey and garnered two GRAMMY nominations, including Song Of The Year, for co-writing Eminem and Rihanna's 2010 No. 1 smash "Love The Way You Lie." She subsequently earned another three nominations in 2011, including Album Of The Year for appearing on Rihanna's Loud.
Released in July, Don't Look Down is Grey's debut album under the moniker Skylar Grey. Executive produced by Eminem, the 12-track album peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and includes a collaboration with the GRAMMY-winning rapper on "C'mon Let Me Ride."