Justine Skye on New Single 'U Don't Know' & Lessons Learned From Heartbreak

Shareif Ziyadat/WireImage
Justine Skye at the  2016 Budweiser Made In America Festival on Sept. 3, 2016 in Philadelphia.

Falling in love is complicated. Just ask Justine Skye. The newly signed Roc Nation singer is kicking off her freshman album with lead single “U Don’t Know" featuring Wizkid (yes, "One Dance" Wizkid). An Afrobeat-driven record about the uncertainty of a situationship, "U Don't Know" is produced by Chris Loco (Emeli Sandé, Tinie Tempah, Rita Ora) and follows 2015’s EP Emotionally Unavailable.

Now, freshly released from Atlantic Records and with a more mature outlook on love, the purple-haired Brooklyn native, who spends her downtime hanging with BFFs Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods, is ready to share herself with the world more intimately. “I want people to really get to know who I am on this album,” she tells Billboard.

After her Made In America performance this past weekend, Skye spilled details on her new single, how her career has affected her love life and what fans can expect from her debut LP.

What was the inspiration behind “U Don’t Know”?

Actually Kevin Garrett, an amazing songwriter who co-wrote “Pray You Catch Me” on Beyoncé’s album Lemonade. He came to me, played this song and I felt like it fit what we are doing on the album. We’re actually close to being done and this song came about. We’re actually shooting the video in L.A. this week, bringing that Caribbean vibe to the video.

When you first came out, you were vocal about your relationship at the time. How has your career affected your dating life?

I don’t wanna throw anyone under the bus, but who cares anymore. It’s kinda hard to date as an artist because you’re all over the place and your significant other may seem jealous, depending on what they’re doing. They can’t keep up or they’re intimidated. It can get a little bit rough, but you have to learn to sometimes separate for the better. And that’s what I had to do. I was just young, too. I just wanted to live my life and experience things.

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How has your life changed by being in the spotlight more?

My life has changed dramatically, but in a very organic way. A lot of people love to throw the social climber thing at people who are on the rise, but it’s really just God moving all the people that are distractions, all the obstacles, out of the way for me to achieve what I’m destined to achieve. Everyone that’s come into my life, everything that has happened has been a part of the plan. It’s not even about being in the industry or becoming more popular, it’s just about growing and outgrowing some people.

What can we expect from this album?

I’m a Virgo, so I’m a super hard lover. I fall in love so quickly! But this album is mostly about me realizing things. 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.

So this album is about the lessons you’ve learned about love?

Absolutely. I’m more conscious about who I let into my heart and I’m singing about it.

Any features?

Well, Wizkid is on the single. I have YG and Ty Dolla $ign. Vic Mensa is also featured on a song with me again. But that’s pretty much it. I don’t want it to be too much of a feature-filled thing.

When does the album drop?

We don’t have a date yet, but maybe at the top of next year. Soon come, soon come.

What are your thoughts on the surprise marketing? Is that something you would consider?

I think it’s dope for artists that are already established. For an artist like me who’s new to the game, I definitely have to build up the hype and anticipation before I can get to the point of just dropping an album. You have to earn that, and this being my freshman album, I can’t do that. And I wouldn’t want to do that. I want to build up the most hype around my album. I wouldn’t just throw it away.

On the style tip, who designed those sick boots from your Made In America performance?

They were Di$count Universe. They always come through for the performances.

What fashion and beauty trends are you really into right now?

I’m really in the off-the-shoulder trend. That’s really a thing right now. And white eyeliner. That’s my ting right now, especially for the brown girls. It brightens your eyes. If you have almond shaped eyes, it draws attention to it.

Lastly, has your BFF Kylie Jenner given you any tips on applying lipstick?

Not really. She’s more of the mom that lets you learn on your own. You know it’s good when she’s like, ‘Yaasss!’ [Laughs] That’s when you know you nailed it.