Skylar Grey

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Skylar Grey
Skylar Grey at Tibet Talk for World Peace (cropped).jpg
Skylar Grey singing at the Tibet Talk For World Peace in July 2011
Background information
Birth nameHolly Brook Hafermann[1]
Also known asHolly Brook[2]
Born(1986-02-23) February 23, 1986 (age 28)
OriginMazomanie, Wisconsin, United States
GenresPop, folk rock
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar
Years active2004–present
LabelsKIDinaKORNER, Interscope, Machine Shop
Associated actsEminem
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Skylar Grey
Skylar Grey at Tibet Talk for World Peace (cropped).jpg
Skylar Grey singing at the Tibet Talk For World Peace in July 2011
Background information
Birth nameHolly Brook Hafermann[1]
Also known asHolly Brook[2]
Born(1986-02-23) February 23, 1986 (age 28)
OriginMazomanie, Wisconsin, United States
GenresPop, folk rock
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar
Years active2004–present
LabelsKIDinaKORNER, Interscope, Machine Shop
Associated actsEminem

Holly Brook Hafermann (born February 23, 1986), known by her stage name Skylar Grey, is an American recording artist from Mazomanie, Wisconsin. Grey, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, was initially signed to Machine Shop Recordings, under the name Holly Brook, where she released her debut album Like Blood Like Honey, in 2006. In 2010, she co-wrote the three versions of "Love the Way You Lie" (for Eminem and Rihanna) with Alex da Kid, who signed her to his KIDinaKORNER record label. Grey has also been featured as a guest vocalist on several hit singles, including Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go", Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home", Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor", Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said" and Kaskade's "Room for Happiness". Her major-label debut studio album Don't Look Down, was released on July 9, 2013.

Life and career[edit]

2001–05: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Grey performed professionally as a child in a folk duo with her mother called Generations.[3] Together, (with producer/engineer Randy Green) they independently produced three albums, Dream Maker, Lift Me, and Millennial Child/Waiting For You. Grey started her first band at the age of fifteen after 'sneaking' into bars, working with jazz musicians including Jeff Eckles, Tim Whalen and Leo Sidran in Madison, Wisconsin.[citation needed]

In 2003, Grey moved to Los Angeles and recorded a demo as Holly Brook, which would be her stage name for several years.[citation needed] This demo led to her being signed in the fall of 2004 by Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson to the band's vanity label, Machine Shop Recordings, at the age of 18.[citation needed]

2006–10: Like Blood Like Honey and O'Dark:Thirty EP[edit]

Her voice is featured on the Fort Minor songs "Where'd You Go" and "Be Somebody".[citation needed] Working with producer Jonathan Ingoldsby, Brook released her debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, on June 6, 2006. She landed opening spots for tours with Jamie Cullum, k.d. lang, Daniel Powter, Teddy Geiger and Duncan Sheik.[citation needed]

From her appearance on Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go" through 2009, Holly Brook was closely affiliated with Linkin Park affiliates Styles of Beyond and Apathy. She is featured on two tracks, "Victim" and "No Sad Tomorrow" off of Apathy's second Release Wanna Snuggle.

In 2010, Brook lent both her song "It's Raining Again" and her image to a promotional campaign for Ciao Water.[4] Prior to this, she has appeared on albums by other artists, including Brie Larson's Finally Out of P.E. and Fort Minor's The Rising Tied. Brook has toured as part of Duncan Sheik's band, and contributed substantially to his 2009 album Whisper House. At the beginning of 2010 she performed in the theatrical version of "Whisper House," playing one of the two lead ghost vocalists along with David Poe.[5] Also in 2010, she self-released the seven-song O’Dark:Thirty EP, produced by Duncan Sheik and Jon Ingoldsby.[6] In 2009, Brook appeared as a backing vocalist on Eurovision contestant Yohanna's debut album, Butterflies and Elvis.

2010–present: New direction and Don't Look Down[edit]

Brook later changed her name to Skylar Grey. She explained that "it represents the unknowns in life. People seem to be afraid of the unknowns, but I’m the complete opposite. I dive into the unknown because I feel like that’s where all your possibilities come from."[7] She explained to Beatweek that she chose "grey" with an e rather than an a because "I like to do things the original way" and because "it’s more masculine. I'm not a very feminine person."[8]

Brook was still living in Oregon and had no recognition as Skylar Grey. Grey went to New York to meet her publisher Jennifer Blakeman, to seek help presenting her work. Blakeman had suggested that she work with Alex da Kid. Grey contacted Alex da Kid via e-mail. Alex da Kid sent Grey a few tracks that he had been working on. The first song Grey wrote was "Love The Way You Lie".[9] Grey's song "Love the Way You Lie" was given to Eminem and Rihanna. Their version became a worldwide hit reaching number one on 26 charts and being nominated for four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year.

Alex da Kid signed her to a production deal on his KIDinaKORNER imprint.[10] She wrote the hook to all three versions of "Love the Way You Lie" by rapper Eminem and Rihanna. Grey earned a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year for her writing contributions to "Love the Way You Lie".[11] She also co-wrote Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home",[12] along with "Castle Walls" by T.I. and Christina Aguilera.[13] On March 10, 2011, Diddy-Dirty Money performed the single "Coming Home" with Grey and Dirty Money vocalists, Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper, live on American Idol.[14]

She is also a writer and featured guest on "I Need a Doctor".[15] Grey is also featured on Lupe Fiasco's third studio album Lasers, on the second single, "Words I Never Said" and was also featured in the live performance of the song, with Lupe, on The Colbert Report on May 9, 2011. Grey made her live performance debut under her new alias during the 53rd Grammy Awards, performing "I Need a Doctor" alongside Eminem and Dr. Dre. She is currently working on her solo studio album Don't Look Down with Alex Da Kid. She has signed to Interscope Records through Da Kid's KIDinaKORNER,[16] and her first promotional buzz single "Dance Without You"[17] was released on June 6, 2011, with the official music video being released on July 5.[18] "Dance Without You" was featured in the 2012 film Step Up Revolution.[19] The first official single, "Invisible", was released to radio on June 16, but it was confirmed over Twitter that the single would not appear on her upcoming album. She has worked with vocal producer Heather Holley. On July 9, 2011, Grey performed live at the World Peace Event in Washington, DC, appearing along with the 14th Dalai Lama.[20][21] On 6 August, she performed at the 20th Lollapalooza festival as both a solo artist and with Eminem during the song "I Need a Doctor". The next day, while passing by the area where YouTube sensation Karmin was recording their cover of "I Need A Doctor," Grey joined the duo for an impromptu performance.[22] She performed alongside rapper Eli Porter on the September 20, 2011 episode of Tosh.0.

Grey also featured on Kaskade's 2011 album Fire & Ice, writing and singing on two versions of the song "Room for Happiness", which became the album's third single and earned her another Grammy nomination.[23]

On April 1, 2012, Grey performed with Machine Gun Kelly on his song "Invincible" at WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII prior to John Cena making his entrance.[24] 78,363 fans attended the event.[25]

It was also reported that, along with appearing twice as a guest artist on Slaughterhouse's upcoming album Welcome to: Our House, Grey would also be contributing to The Band Perry's second album, which is set to be released in April 2013 and "Building a Monster", a song from her upcoming CD was featured on the soundtrack to Tim Burton's Frankenweenie.[26][27]

Grey features on two songs from Slaughterhouse's major label debut album Welcome to: Our House ("Our House," which also features Eminem, and "Rescue Me"), along with co-writing Zedd's 2012 single "Clarity" (which won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2014[28]) and Cee Lo Green's 2013 single "Only You". Grey released her first official single, "C'mon Let Me Ride", which features Eminem and will appear on her album, both to radio and as a lyric video on November 27.[29]

On March 8, 2013, Grey performed a six song set for "Guitar Center Sessions" on DirecTV. The episode also included an interview with Grey by the host of the program, Nic Harcourt.[30]

Grey also contributed an exclusive song "Slowly Freaking Out" to the soundtrack album for the film The Host, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer,[31] and also contributed to's solo album #willpower on the song "Love Bullets".[32]

On April 7, 2013, for the second consecutive year Grey performed at WWE Wrestlemania, this time in front of 80,676[25] fans. She performed with Sean "Diddy" Combs on his song "Coming Home" which Grey had been featured on in the album version, performing the chorus. "Coming Home" was one of the official theme songs of Wrestlemania XXIX.[33]

In September 2013, Grey appeared on the track "The Last Day" on Moby's album Innocents[34] and also released her own cover of Daft Punk's song "Get Lucky",[35] along with being featured on Eminem's eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, on the track "Asshole". The album was released on November 5, 2013.[36] Grey also previewed a new cover of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" in a trailer for the 2014 remake of Endless Love,[37] with the full version being released to her YouTube on February 7, 2014.[38]

On January 20, 2014, Grey released "Shot Me Down" with David Guetta, a cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".[39] The song was successful charting in the top ten in several countries. In March 2014, a new collaboration with American recording artist Kid Cudi, titled "Hero", which was recorded for the Need for Speed film and released on the film's official soundtrack.[40] In August 2014, Grey was featured on American rapper T.I.'s song "New National Anthem", from Paperwork: The Motion Picture.[41]


Grey has listed Garbage, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, Marilyn Manson, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sarah McLachlan, Eminem and Death Cab for Cutie as her influences.[42][43][44]



  1. ^ "String of hits gives Da Kid a break", Music Week, July 17, 2010 
  2. ^ "Skylar Grey: Changes to the Holly Brook mailing list: Holly Brook announces new name, "Skylar Grey"". 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ Samara Kalk, Rhythm Profile, Wisconsin State Journal, December 27, 2001.
  4. ^ Ciao Water – Official Website
  5. ^ McNulty, Charles (2010-01-24). "Theater review: 'Whisper House' at San Diego's Old Globe*". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  6. ^ HOLLY BROOK – O’Dark Thirty
  7. ^ Mandi Bierly. "Skylar Grey talks about her name change". EW. p. 4. Archived from the original on Feb 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ Skylar Grey: the Beatweek interview with the future of pop music via Beatweek Magazine
  9. ^
  10. ^ Alex Da Kid signs Skylar Grey to Wonderland Entertainment via Billboard
  11. ^ Eminem, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga Lead Grammy Nominations via Billboard
  12. ^ Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey – "Coming Home" via Rap-Up
  13. ^ Alex Da Kid names Skylar Grey as writer for "Castle Walls" by T.I. & Christina Aguilera via Rap-Up
  14. ^ "Diddy-Dirty Money, Sklyar Grey Bring "Coming Home" to American Idol". MTV. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  15. ^ Dr. Dre reunites with Eminem via RollingStone
  17. ^ Skylar Grey releases cover art for debut single "Dance Without You" via Twitter
  18. ^ YouTube - "Dance Without You" official video.
  19. ^ Step Up Revolution#Songs featured
  20. ^ Yahoo News - Skylar Grey Performs Live with the Dalai Lama, July 9.
  21. ^ "Skylar Grey Performs For The Dalai Lama At The U.S. Capitol | News". B96 Chicago. July 11, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Lollapalooza 2011: Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam". Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam. 
  23. ^ AMP Radio 97.1 - Skylar Grey Is Proud Of Her GRAMMY Nom With Kaskade Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  24. ^ WrestleMania XXVIII Celebrities Photos - WWE, Retrieved January 29, 2013
  25. ^ a b WrestleMania shatters records - WWE, Retrieved April 8, 2013
  26. ^ The Band Perry Toast Latest #1 Hit and Look Forward to Sophomore Project! - The WOLF Morning Show, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2012.
  27. ^ The Band Perry Collaborating with Sheryl Crow & "Love the Way You Lie" Writer - ABC News Radio, February 28, 2012
  28. ^ "Clarity" by Zedd feat. Foxes wins Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, 56th Annual Grammy Awards, 2014.
  29. ^ Skylar Grey debuts single "C'mon Let Me Ride to radio. KISS FM Seattle. November 27
  30. ^ Guitar Center Sessions with host Nic Harcourt Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  31. ^ THE HOST. CHOOSE TO LISTEN To Be Released March 26th On KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  32. ^ To Release Brand-New Album #willpower On April 23 Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  33. ^ Sean “Diddy” Combs musical performance: photos - WWE, Retrieved April 8, 2013
  34. ^ innocents - new album from moby |
  35. ^ Media’s Future, As Seen Through One Clunky ‘Get Lucky’ Cover - The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2013.
  36. ^ EMINEM - MMLP2 Tracklisting
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Kid Cudi and Skylar Grey - "Hero", Need for Speed film soundtrack, Google Play
  41. ^ "NEW MUSIC: T.I. F/ SKYLAR GREY – ‘NEW NATIONAL ANTHEM’". Rap-Up. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  42. ^ Skylar Grey Was Known As Holly Brook Prior To Meeting Eminem
  43. ^ "Garbage picks up again with 'Not Your Kind of People'" - Los Angeles Times
  44. ^ 10 Questions: Skylar Grey

External links[edit]