Justine Skye got her start at a professional singing career when she was just a teenager. Her cover of Drake’s “Headlines” received 2 million views on YouTube. This helped the Brooklyn girl ink a deal with Atlantic Records in 2013. After that big move, she released her debut EP, Everyday Living, and later another one, Emotionally Unavailable. One of her most recognizable song from these projects was a very solid single “Collide” featuring Tyga.
As some things weren’t working out well in Atlantic, she eventually moved and signed to Roc Nation and Republic Records. During that time, she prepared another EP titled 8 Ounces, collaborating with songwriters The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, and featuring DC rapper Wale. Finally, on December 7, 2017, she announced the release date for her debut album titled Ultraviolet.
The purple-haired Brooklyn native already premiered some singles from the album. In 2016, she shared a strong and hypnotic banger “U Don’t Know” featuring Wizkid. It was her introduction to a more commercial target audience, but despite the fact the single, alongside its accompanying visuals, was just perfect, it seemed like it failed on most mainstream charts.
The opening track of Ultraviolet, “Wasteland”, is an infinitely interesting track, with some Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad influences. However, the whole album also touches on several genres.
Justine maintains her cool on potentially radio-friendly “Goodlove”, as well as she does on the more dance-focused song, recorded together with Jeremih, “Back For More”, which borrows plenty of its sweetness from Kelly Rowland and Keri Hilson’s early productions.
Skye goes with that good-feeling flow during the whole album, which makes it a tempting debut CD full of free, catchy cuts. But while she seems to be really having fun being seductive in pulsatory “Don’t Think About It”, she’s also showing us her bittersweet side, “But when we’re done, I’m back in my car / We fit together but we’re better apart”, she sings in the pre-chorus. She’s discovering even more of her alluring side in the very addictive “You Got Me”.
As these mentioned songs go naturally on the album, the best of the best of the Ultraviolet album is hidden almost at the end of the record. “Heaven” is a beautifully composed, Miguel-inspired slow jam, where she sings gracefully: “My heart has always hit the pavement / I’ve never been a saint but maybe that’ll change”.
This is probably the most pleasurable track of Justine Skye’s whole discography. After that song, she gets a much more confident attitude, and still enchants us with an unforgettable chorus of “Push Ya”. The highlight of Ultraviolet is “Lil’ Boy”, which has all the potential to become every female’s anthem soon. She’s arrogant, stubborn and doesn’t sugar-coat anything when she’s talking about f**kboys.
“Damn, thought you had plans to be the man / But you too busy tryna be peter pan”, she gets cold with these bars as she could be a better rapper than Dej Loaf. She mentioned in one of Billboard interviews: “I’m 21 now so I’m realizing like, if this guy so-called plays me or whatever, I wasn’t supposed to be with him. Definitely getting heartbroken but it’s more in a sense of learning a lesson”.
The big advantage of Ultraviolet is the fact the album isn’t long. Justine Skye, in contrast to other singers (read Sevyn Streeter), knows exactly that less is more. It is hard to say what the real reason she’s not as popular as say, Tinashe for example. For sure its not that she doesn’t have the personality. She was the source of controversy when she kneeled during a portion of her singing the National Anthem at a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Arena. And that says a lot.
Hopefully with this new record, and future music, she could finally break into the mainstream. She could be another big, empowering R&B star we’re going to need soon. Don’t sleep on Ultraviolet before it’s too late. Justine Skye’s Ultraviolet is out now via Roc Nation, purchase it on iTunes here, and stream it below.
Words by Julia Borowczyk