by Bri Little
Skye Dior is ready for stardom, and she’s not just waiting around for it to come to her. She’s starting earlier than most: the 8-year-old South Seattle recording artist recently released a video for her pop banger “Clap,” and before the pandemic, was performing with other Seattle greats — such as Rell B. Free — and planning a tour.
Even at her tender age, Dior knows what it means to persist through struggle. Her bubbly personality and infectious enthusiasm for her music belie her tumultuous beginnings. Dior was born into a home rife with domestic violence. Her mother was told Dior would have a disability or speech problems. Her family relocated to the East Coast when Dior was 3, severing the bond with her father. But Dior grew up listening to and loving her mother’s poetry, memorizing any lines her mother would inadvertently skip over while reciting a poem. Dior’s first performance was with Africatown at Umojafest in 2016, and her love for writing songs and performing blossomed from there.
Skye Dior sat down with the Emerald for her first official interview, where the young star spoke about learning in quarantine, hobbies and interests, and her plans for the future.
Bri Little: Have you been doing the online learning thing? How is that going for you?
Skye Dior: I have been doing online learning, and it’s way more comfortable than going to school. I just … like staying home. I like this little online thing. I can still see my friends, I can still see my teacher, so it’s pretty normal.
BL: Good to hear. I know some people are having trouble with it. I guess it’s better than going in person and risking getting sick, right?
SD: That’s right.
BL: What grade are you in?
SD: I’m in third! Third grade. And I’m 8 years old — I’m about to turn 9 … April 13th.
BL: Which subjects are you liking best in school?
SD: In general I really love writing, because we get to write our own ideas and everything like that!
BL: I love to hear that! I like writing too … obviously. You like writing your own songs, right? How long have you been doing that?
SD: Actually I started with the poetry, right? The poetry is actually … you’ve probably heard of it. “Hey Black Child” by Countee Cullen. Then my mom put it over a beat, and I learned it pretty fast. My mom helps me write my songs and stuff.
BL: It’s great to have the support of your mom — I can tell she’s really proud of you. I know you did a show back in June for the Peoples Party with Rell B. Free, right? How was that?
SD: It was amazing! He gave me his spot in the lineup. I was probably like the last act to go on, so he made space for me to go earlier than when I was supposed to go. So it was actually amazing.
BL: That’s awesome! Really nice of him. How do you feel when you perform? Are you nervous, do you get excited, or what?
SD: I like it because the audience is always paying attention to me. They’re always dancing, and they’re looking right at my face and usually saying the ad-libs. I enjoy it! That just makes me get into it!
BL: Going off your performance with Rell B. Free, which Seattle artists would you like to work with? People who have supported you?
SD: Me and Rell are working on a new song together. Other people are trying to collab, too! Talayah, Raz Simone, just to drop a few.
BL: I’m all about this! Seattle artists are all about community — not surprised they want to work with you. So what do you like to do when you’re not performing?
SD: Ooh, I like to do all the things! I dance, I eat! If I had to choose my favorite food, it would be mac ‘n’ cheese.
BL: How has the pandemic affected your plans for performing and recording your album?
SD: We wanted to travel, do a little tour, but we can’t because of the pandemic. My dancers can’t, you know … but we’re taking little steps to get there. It’s going to be okay.
BL: What do you want the world to know about Skye Dior?
SD: I want the world to know that I’m cool — I’m funny! I like to rap, I like to dance and meet people. I want to sell my CDs. It’s self-titled. There’s a bonus track from my mom — check that out. It’s called “Let Me Be Great” and I’m singing the hook — so is my neighbor. We’re really close.
BL: Where can I find your music? On the streaming sites?
SD: I’m on all the platforms!
Follow Skye Dior’s rise to pop stardom and purchase merch on Instagram @skyedior. Stream her tunes on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and Soundcloud.
Bri Little is a Seattle-based writer covering culture and the arts.
Featured image by Chloe Collyer.