Interview: R&B Artist Skylar Simone on Her Def Jam Signing, Sensual New Single “Shiver,” & Ten Years in the Music Industry

Skylar Simone © Nick Walker
Skylar Simone © Nick Walker
Def Jam’s newest signee Skylar Simone talks to Atwood Magazine about working with legendary producer D’Mile, her takeaways from ten years in the music industry, and her sensual, seductive, “Shiver”-inducing new single.
Stream: “Shiver” – Skylar Simone




There’s something undeniably intoxicating about Skylar Simone’s new single.

It’s in her breaths; how she sings hot on the mic, holding nothing back as she captures raw passion, surrendering to a moment of intimate ecstasy. “You know what I like when I shiver, my body can’t lie when I shiver,” she exhales, beckoning us closer as she finds power in her own exposure and vulnerability. “You know I need it twice when I shiver… so can you get up?” Chills run down the spine – and rightfully so – in “Shiver,” a full-bodied seduction and a bold new beginning for the 22-year-old R&B artist.

Shiver - Skylar Simone
Shiver – Skylar Simone
Baby, I want you to
unlock me when we slide

Faded here waiting for a sign
Once my body shakes
you’ll know it’s time
You know what I like when I shiver
My body can’t lie when I shiver
You know I need it twice when I shiver
So can you get up, ooh when we get up
Secrets I can’t hide when I shiver
Make it melt like ice when I shiver
River open wide when I shiver
So can you get up, ooh when we get up

Out today, May 3, 2024, “Shiver” is Skylar Simone’s debut release on Def Jam Recordings and the lead single off her forthcoming major label EP, Shiver (release date TBD). Produced by the legendary D’Mile (Rihanna, H.E.R., Silk Sonic, Victoria Monet), “Shiver” is a song of unfiltered self-expression, longing, and physical connection. It’s an impassioned demand from a distinctly feminine perspective – one that “captures the sweet chase and sensation of romantic touch” as Simone unapologetically goes after what she wants.

Baby, I want you to unlock me when we slide,” she declares, singing uninhibited and free. “Faded here waiting for a sign, once my body shakes you’ll know it’s time… You know what I like when I shiver.”

“I think the concept of ‘trying to run from love but not being able to escape it due to the undeniable feelings you get whenever you’re with that specific person’ is something everyone has experienced or felt at some point in their life,” Simone shares. “I wanted to explore writing a song about that conflict of emotions but with a playful, flirty twist.”

Get loose, you don’t need an excuse
Points on the board babe shoot,
You feeling me lemme see proof
Now it’s just us two, even in a crowded room
By now you should know you can’t lose
Why you playing make a move
Baby do whachu gon do
Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova
Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova



“Shiver” may be Skylar Simone’s debut with Def Jam, but it is by no means her introduction to the music industry.

The 22-year-old singer/songwriter born Skylar Stecker released her first song under her birth name over a decade ago, and was previously signed to Cherrytree Records (who, for several years, had a distribution deal with Interscope Records). Stecker put out five full-length albums between 2014 and 2022, including two for Cherrytree; her most recent LP, the independently-released Earth Signs, spawned the singles “Superman,” “Locked In,” and “YOU,” the latter of which has over 1 million streams on Spotify.

Changing her artist name to Skylar Simone is, as she explains, a long time coming.

“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while but was waiting for the right moment,” Simone shares. “Starting so young in the industry, I think it can sometimes be hard for people to see me outside of the image they were first introduced to me as, so the name switch allowed me to be able to separate the 9-year-old version of myself/music people might know and the grown woman and artist I am now. ‘Simone’ is also my nickname, family name, and was also one of my parent’s potential birth name options for me and my sibling… So it felt very familiar and a natural shift that was exciting to make.”

Inspired by R&B’s greats – she cites Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey, among others – Skylar Simone is determined to continue pushing the genre forward through her own art and artistry. “I really wanted to find that perfect blend of classic R&B nostalgia meets new wave / modern sonics and lyricism that I feel ultimately represents who I am as an artist and the music I want to continue to create,” she says of “Shiver.”

Baby, I want you to unlock me when we slide
Faded here waiting for a sign
Once my body shakes you’ll know it’s time
You know what I like when I shiver
My body can’t lie when I shiver
You know I need it twice when I shiver
So can you get up, ooh when we get up
Secrets I can’t hide when I shiver
Make it melt like ice when I shiver
River open wide when I shiver
So can you get up, ooh when we get up
Skylar Simone © Nick Walker
Skylar Simone © Nick Walker



True to its name, “Shiver” sends endless shivers down the spine as Skylar Simone sings right into our ears, aching for release.

“I hope people love it and can relate and connect with the song in their own individual way,” she smiles. “I’m also hoping it helps the listener relax, feel empowered, sexy, and confident.”

Atwood Magazine caught up with Skylar Simone to discuss all things “Shiver,” her signing to Def Jam, working with D’Mile, and her takeaways from ten years in the industry. Dive into our interview below, and surrender to the raw sensual seduction of “Shiver.”

— —

:: stream/purchase Shiver here ::
:: connect with Skylar Simone here ::
Stream: “Shiver” – Skylar Simone



A CONVERSATION WITH SKYLAR SIMONE

Shiver - Skylar Simone

Atwood Magazine: Skylar, congrats on the release of “Shiver” - and on your signing to Def Jam! Were you a fan of the label growing up? What’s it like to think of yourself as a part of that legendary roster?

Skylar Simone: Of course! Def Jam is one of the OG’s. Its really exciting to be part of a label that’s rooted so deep in Hip-Hop and R&B music history yet is equally as invested in the future of R&B and moving culture with this new generation of artists as well.

“Shiver” is your first song since 2022, and a truly striking, no-nonsense return! What is this song’s personal significance - what does it mean to you, and why did you choose it to be your first song of 2024?

Skylar Simone: “Shiver” was actually one of my very first sessions with D’Mile! Usually when working with new people, it takes a few sessions to get to know one another, try different sounds, etc…. but with D that wasn’t the case. He’s truly such a musical genius, and everything he produces is magical. It’s almost unfair, haha.

So, it was no surprise that when he first played the chords for what ended up becoming “Shiver,” I loved it and knew we had something special. It feels very authentic having it be my first release of 2024, because it truly was the very beginning of the recording process and also was the song that set the tone for all the music that followed.

It gave me direction and became the outline of my sound.

It’s not lost on me that, with the Def Jam signing, your music has the potential to reach thousands, if not millions of new ears. How do you hope “Shiver” introduces you to folks not previously familiar with you or your songs?

Skylar Simone: I think “Shiver” is a great representation of my foundation and the base that I’ll continue to build upon. I grew up listening and studying Whitney, Janet, Mariah, etc. and I’ve always felt so inspired by their impact and how their music made me + millions of others feel when listening….

So, I really wanted to find that perfect blend of classic R&B nostalgia meets new wave / modern sonics and lyricism that I feel ultimately represents who I am as an artist and the music I want to continue to create.

Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova
Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova



Is “Shiver” based on a true story? Where did you pull inspiration from in thinking about that moment of intimate ecstasy, and what drew you to write about that in the first place?

Skylar Simone: The inspiration for the concept of “Shiver” was more so based on wanting to capture a feeling vs. a specific story. I think the concept of ‘trying to run from love but not being able to escape it due to the undeniable feelings you get whenever you’re with that specific person’ is something everyone has experienced or felt at some point in their life. So, I wanted to explore writing a song about that conflict of emotions but with a playful, flirty twist.

This isn’t your first time writing about physical connection - I’d say a song like “YOU,” from Earth Signs, fits a similar vein - but what makes “Shiver” stand out, I think, is that it’s so intense and direct. What excites you most about this song? What about it stands out for you?

Skylar Simone: Honestly, what stands out to me the most and is also my favorite part of “Shiver” are the breaths in the production! That was a last minute add from D’Mile, and I think it added so much magic to the song. It really helps give the song some intimacy and is a little bit of a surprise element when people listen for the first time.



Also notable, I think, is that this song sees you being the assertive party - going after what you want. “Baby, I want you to unlock me when we slide.” Was that sort of empowerment or perspective important for you, as you went about bringing this song to life?

Skylar Simone: For sure! I’m a strong believer in going after what you want and not being afraid to put yourself out there. I think there’s something really sexy about writing songs from a more ‘masculine’ standpoint and then singing and delivering in a more ‘feminine’ way. The contrast is really fun to play with and I think creates a more universal, unique listening experience.

What was your experience like working with producer D’Mile, compared to other producers you’ve collaborated with in the past? Obviously, he’s best known for his work with H.E.R. and Silk Sonic, but I recently realized he also produced Rihanna’s debut album as well!

Skylar Simone: I can’t say enough great things about him, same goes for his music partner-in-crime John Kercy (engineer/mixer). Not only are they both so talented but also two of the nicest humans.

Usually, I find myself leading in sessions because I have such a strong vision for what Im looking to create, but with D’Mile it’s the opposite. I have so much trust in his musicality and his ear, that I actually like to sit back and let him do his thing and really listen to what his instinct is because he’s just THAT good.

Was this song “Shiver” a collaboration between the two of you, or did you bring it to him fully baked? What was your time in the studio like together?

Skylar Simone: We made “Shiver” together from scratch. I think it was one of the quickest sessions we’ve had, we were on a flow (doing back-to-back sessions that week) which allowed the song to come to us all pretty easily.

Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova
Skylar Simone © Sasha Samsanova

I’d be remiss not to talk about how this year, 2024, marks a decade that you’ve been releasing music! Looking back, how do you feel you’ve grown over these past ten years?

Skylar Simone: It’s crazy! I feel like I’ve lived 100 different lives at only 22 years old! [laughs] I have learned so many lessons over the years and they’ve all played such an instrumental role in shaping me into the person I am today. I feel really proud that I can look back on my life and career so far and know that I always lead with integrity and shifted when things no longer aligned with my values or vision.

The biggest way I’ve grown musically I think would be my openness… In the past I would find myself abandoning ideas or things that felt unfamiliar or uncomfortable too quickly. I’ve  now learned that stepping outside your comfort zone and trying different things is how you grow and also how you may find the magic. It’s better to commit and fail trying vs. playing it safe due to the fear of failure.

What lessons have you learned from your time in the music industry, that you wish you could go back and tell teenage Skylar when she was just starting out?

Skylar Simone: I’d go back and tell myself to #1 be patient, to enjoy and trust in the journey. #2, don’t be afraid of being unapologetically yourself no matter the situation or environment and to always listen to your intuition because no one knows you better then yourself.

Skylar Simone © Nick Walker
Skylar Simone © Nick Walker



What inspired your name change from Skylar Stecker to Skylar Simone, by the way? That’s a relatively new thing, if I’m not mistaken Earth Signs was a Stecker release and that was just two years ago?

Skylar Simone: It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while but was waiting for the right moment. Starting so young in the industry, I think it can sometimes be hard for people to see me outside of the image they were first introduced to me as, so the name switch allowed me to be able to separate the 9-year-old version of myself/music people might know and the grown woman + artist I am now. ‘Simone’ is also my nickname, family name, and was also one of my parent’s potential birth name options for me and my sibling… So it felt very familiar and a natural shift that was exciting to make.

With “Shiver” soon to be out in the world, what else are you looking forward to this year and what are your hopes for the rest of 2024?

Skylar Simone: I’m really looking forward to touring and doing shows this year! It’s been a minute since I’ve been on stage and it’s one of my favorite parts of what I do. It’s such a special experience to connect one-on-one with my audience / fans all over the world and to share the music in a new way.

What do you hope listeners take away from “Shiver,” and what have you taken from making it and now putting it out?

Skylar Simone: I hope people love it and can relate and connect with the song in their own individual way. I’m also hoping it helps the listener relax, feel empowered, sexy, and confident.

Lastly, in the spirit of paying it forward, who are you listening to these days that you would recommend to our readers?

Skylar Simone: A few artists I have on repeat right now would be RAYE, SZA, Leon Thomas & Brent Faiyaz.

— —

:: stream/purchase Shiver here ::
:: connect with Skylar Simone here ::
Stream: “Shiver” – Skylar Simone



— — — —

Shiver - Skylar Simone

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? © Nick Walker

:: Stream Skylar Simone ::



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