Space and Time

Space and Time

“I like to call this project ‘the bad bitch manual,’” Justine Skye tells Apple Music of her third album, Space and Time. The Brooklyn-born singer says working on the collaboration with legendary producer Timbaland was born of, well, the space and time that the pandemic gave to her, and allowed her to tap into a more assured version of herself: “I found a different level of confidence in myself and in my sound.” Skye first began working with Timbaland through live sessions on Instagram, as artists and fans alike were trying to find ways to connect from their homes. It was an opportunity not just to work with a producer she admired, but also to refine the kind of music she wanted to make, everything from the lyrics down to the sound and style. “I think that I rushed a lot of times because I just felt like I needed to put something out,” she says. “This was the first time I actually sat down and really thought it through and, I think, the first time that I'm actually saying a lot of the things that I always probably wanted to but didn't know how to.” Space and Time reflects a singer willing to take more risks, pull back the veil and reveal more of herself. She traverses the lands of traditional R&B confessionals and edgier kiss-offs along with danceable pop and Afro-fusion. Her posture is steady and secure but without compromising on vulnerability, refusing to conflate self-assurance with apathy. “After listening through the full body of work a couple of times, it really just embodied exactly everything that I've always wanted to be, which is the epitome of a bad bitch,” she says. “Hopefully this gives the listeners a different level of confidence that I found while creating it—that it makes people feel as good as it made me feel.” Here Skye goes through the manual song by song. “Conscious” “‘Conscious’ was one of the last songs I actually worked on, so it really helped to just round out everything. We thought that it was going to be a full-length song, and then as I listened to it, I'm like, 'You know what? It's not giving me a full-length song. It's making me feel like it's setting the tone for the rest of the project.'” “About Time” “One of the special parts about that song is it’s basically almost one take. It's just leads. There's no backgrounds or harmonies or anything, because I really wanted people to just focus on what I was saying. I think that's the first time I was extremely vulnerable about situations that I've been through in my life. That song really is just for the people that I thought were my friends and surrounding me that I thought would be there for me in those moments. And it's okay that you weren't, but it really just showed me that I can't rely on you.” “In My Bag” “I feel like there was a point where the songs were a little bit too emotional. Not that that's a bad thing, because that's a very relatable situation—everyone wants to talk about their emotions and their feelings. And I'm not going to lie, 'In My Bag' was the hardest to write because I was very much so in my feelings. But then, as I started to go through it—and Timb helped a lot with the melody of that—honestly, I was very surprised with myself when I started writing those verses. I was like, damn, I didn't even know I could talk like this.” “Do It Right” “That song really is all about the woman taking control. It's like, 'You know what? No, I'm going to hit you up when I want to hit you. And I'm going to let you know when I'm ready to go, and we'll leave together.' It's just the roles reversing. Everything that these guys want to talk about in their songs about how they treat women and they're disposable, it's kind of like, all right, well, this is how it feels.” “Intruded” “That song's a little bit psychotic when you actually really pay attention to the lyrics. That was, I think, the first song that we worked on in the studio together when I got to Miami. But that song kind of stems from an actual real-life situation that I was going through at the time where it's just like, I'm not going anywhere and you know that. But at the end of the day, I did go somewhere, into a better place.” “Innocent” “That is a very special one, because I actually wrote that song in the same situation. And it really kind of was just people don't like to take responsibility, especially men—humans, we don't like to, but especially men. They gaslit things and make you feel like you're bugging out or they're not doing anything wrong. And as much as you want to believe that, you know deep down in your heart that this person is not innocent. I've always been a huge fan of Justin Timberlake; he's literally one of my GOATs. So we reached out to him for advice on what he thought about things, and he'd been kind of just giving opinion through the whole process of it. And then once he heard the project, he was like, 'Well, the only thing missing on this is me.'” “We” “‘We’ was a special one too, because I actually wrote that one while the whole George Floyd situation was unfolding. Just how tired we as a people are of the situation consistently happening. And then as I got back to Miami and finished up the project with Timb, I just continued the second verse. So it kind of, in some way, has a double-entendre feeling to it. I don't want to say meaning, because obviously I would never relate someone's relationship to the hardships that we were facing as a nation, but that feeling is what inspired that song.” “Twisted Fantasy” “So this one was actually not one of the songs that I did with Timb initially. That was a whole brand-new beat that he sprung on me but instantly fell in love with it. Really, it was just the beat gave me such an eerie kind of vibe, and I just immediately knew that it was going to be sexy and eerie and kind of just like luring someone in. I think Rema’s extremely talented, and when I sent the song to him and he sent his verse back, I was instantly thrilled. He bodied it beyond belief.” “Hey Sucka” “That song, I think, on this project with ‘In My Bag’ is the epitome of shit-talking. And that's low-key me talking to that sucka n***a, like, 'This is all you did and you know it, and I know you're about to listen to this.' Like what I was saying before, this is the first time that I'm actually doing what an artist does and putting my real life experiences into my writing and able to tell the story and bring people into what's been going on in my life.” “Hypnotized” “I wanted to keep it short and sweet. I really wanted people to miss it. I wanted them to run it back and be like, ‘Damn!’ Because I know when I hear a song that I'm in love with, those short and sweet ones really make you want to just run it back and you crave more. Hopefully we can get someone to hop on a remix for it.” “Mmm Mmm” “I wanted to end the project on a high note, and that song—instantly, when I heard that beat, I was scared. I think it was the last week that Timb sprung it on me. And then I sat there and I thought for a second and I was like, you know what, this beat actually reminds me of a night out in New York, when the world was open and I'm downstairs in that club, just killing it, melting on the floor and just fucking it up like how I used to. I'm so excited to hear that one playing in the parties and seeing people begin to live their lives again.”

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