Songtrust Spotlight: Sillkey

Hailing from Birmingham, UK, SILLKEY was ordained with his moniker at just 5 years old after consistently wowing the seasoned musicians that would come through his father’s recording studio. His knack for producing luscious, silky sounds with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, his own vocals and any other instrument that he applies his mastery to continues to consecrate the name.

Since co-producing Wiley’s #3 UK hit ‘Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)’, Sillkey has built up a diverse catalogue as songwriter, producer and musician including releases with Jacob Banks, Craig David, Pa Salieu, Bugzy Malone and Dermot Kennedy. Current collaborators include Mahalia, Mabel, Jamie N Commons, Jaz Karis and more.

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Who inspired you to become a musician?

My mother and father inspired me to become a musician. As a child my mom would tour with a band singing and playing keyboards around the world. My dad owned a studio which was like my second home and he would produce, write and perform his own songs. So I was always surrounded by music.

How would you describe your style of music and performance? How would you describe your philosophy and style as an artist? 

My style of music can be extremely varied stylistically but a common thread throughout my catalogue is my music is always emotive. It's always comes from the soul and one of my biggest strengths is the ability to convey feelings through music.

What drives you to create, and how do you define success for yourself in music?

The need to express my feelings is what drives me to create. I can't always express my emotions verbally so I find music is my outlet and is often very therapeutic. Success for me is becoming part of the soundtrack to someone's life. Recently I found out a couple walked down the aisle to a song I co-wrote and produced. That was more of an achievement to me than any chart position or accolade I've ever gained.

How do you think the music industry can develop into a more equitable and welcoming space for Black music creators?

When it comes to black music, I feel that there needs to be a greater number of black people making business decisions. I believe that when there are people from within the culture directing its content, there will be more balance and black creators will have a welcoming space in which to share their work.

Do you have any advice for young Black musicians just starting their careers, based on what you’ve experienced?

My advice would be, whilst we all need to make our music marketable to a certain extent try your best to create the music that comes naturally to you and then find a home for it. Rather than looking at the musical landscape and focusing on music that fits or that people will put money behind. The musical landscape is constantly evolving and we are finally coming to a place where radio and record labels are no longer the gatekeepers. Don't dismiss your art as being too black and completely water yourself down in an effort to be palatable. There's room for all art to flourish!

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