About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Skila
Monday, January 26, 2009

The arts of rhyming and production aren’t easy for anyone to master, but they’re nearly impossible to when you can’t hear. Skila, an artist from Queens, NY, who both rhymes and produces, had to deal with this fact three years ago when, already deaf in his right ear, he was given the diagnosis that he had Meniere's Disease in his left ear, which was causing it to slowly go deaf, as well. The man who caught the rhyme bug from hanging out with the likes of Creature, Gab Gacha, Buck Live and Jam Dot was suddenly unable to record music. Thankfully, through taking care of himself he regained some of his hearing in his left ear and immediately hit the studio. This week I sat down with Skila to discuss the resulting album, Audionarcotics, his path back to being a recording artist, and the disease that nearly robbed him of his career.

Adam Bernard: Start things off by talking about Meniere’s Disease and how it’s effected your career.
Skila: Meniere's Disease is an abnormality of the inner ear that causes symptoms such as light dizziness to vertigo, tinnitus, fluctuating hearing loss, and the sensation of pressure or pain in the affected ear. The disease usually affects only one ear and is a common cause of hearing loss. About three years ago I lost about 75% of the hearing in my left ear, my only good ear, to Meniere's Disease for about a year and spent another year in recovery. When it was happening it was so surreal. I was a different person then. At the time I had a good job, I was in a relationship, was in great shape and was about to finish my album and go full steam with my music career. Then I started getting sick and I slowing began to lose everything, including my sanity, along with my hearing. During that time I learned many things about myself, the first is that I'm very hardheaded. The second is that I still have no clue just how blessed I really am. Sometimes it takes losing everything, being stripped down to nothing, just to see what you're made of, to see what really has meaning. I eventually hit rock bottom, which turned out to be a liberating experience. That's when I realized I had two choices, live or die. Obviously I chose to live. Now when I say live or die, I don't mean suicide, what I mean is that when life hits us hard enough sometimes we die inside and lose all motivation, we lose our will to live. The secret is to chose life, embrace your pain and suffering, let it remind you that you can still feel, that you're still alive, and fight!

Adam Bernard: How did you get back to recording after all that, especially with the hearing loss?
Skila: It was difficult, but I started making beats and recording vocals, following vibrations more than sounds. Most importantly, I began to eat better, exercise and remove a lot of negative energy from my life. Now it's three years later, my album's finished, I'm getting the promotions half of it in order, and I’m starting to hit the show circuit. I’m working with a handful of very talented artists on various projects that show much promise, but the best part is that I've gotten back most of the hearing in my left ear! They say God helps those that help themselves. I believe He helped me way before I was even conceived and I'm only beginning to use that help now.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk about the album you just mentioned. Tell me about Audionarcotics and what you hope the listeners will get out of it.
Skila: Audionarcotics is the result of a life addicted to Hip-Hop and it chronicles the changes and events that took place in my life prior to my hearing loss. When I went completely deaf production of the album stopped for almost a year and though I still managed to record vocals and make beats it was too difficult for me to continue. It took about a year to recover and when I did I just picked up where I had left off, finished the songs I started, and wrapped it up. All in all, I'm very happy with Audionarcotics. I put my heart and soul into it and feel that there's something there for everyone. As far as what I hope the listeners get out of it… I'm hoping they get some fun, some insight, something they can relate to, something to make em feel like they're not alone out there, or maybe just something to smoke to. For me personally, this is therapy, it helps me to express myself, share myself, at times even exorcise demons, so even if I wasn't trying to put out music I would probably still be doing this.

Adam Bernard: How would you describe your style as an emcee?
Skila: I wouldn't call myself an emcee just yet, I have too much respect for the craft. I'm a lyricist. I say that because I personally feel that I haven't mastered the art of "off the head" freestyling and performing, but once I do then I’ll take on that title. I'm more of a writer / producer. While my fellow artists were at shows getting their stripes I was getting mine at the studio learning to make beats and produce. Now I feel it’s time for me to come full circle, so definitely expect to see me out in the show circuit. Anyway, back to the question, how would I describe my style? Me! It’s rebellious with a cause, intelligence with a razor's edge, it's poetic, its street, and in the same breath it’s refined. I don't have an image that I'm trying to portray, I just do what feels right.

Adam Bernard: Other than making a living what do you hope to accomplish from rhyming?
Skila: Well, my music has matured since Audionarcotics and a lot has happened in my life. I have a broader perspective and I think this will allow me to have more to offer my listeners. I also see rhyming as a podium that when executed properly can be used to address a very large and growing part of the world. More and more people are listening to Hip-Hop and different forms of Hip-Hop are emerging, as well. I feel that because you can fit so much more into 16 bars of rhymes than you can into 16 bars of singing it is one of the most effective forms of delivering a message through song. When it’s all said and done, I would like to do my part for the culture, I would like to leave it better than I found it.

Adam Bernard: What do you enjoy the most about being an artist in the scene you’re in?
Skila: That there's a good percentage of progressive talent that genuinely cares about the culture. That's what’s going to keep it evolving, rather than recycling like we've been doing. I also like the personalities. It’s almost like individualism is making a comeback and I can definitely dig that.

Adam Bernard: Finally, hit me with one change you would like to make in the world and why.
Skila: I would like to get rid of the apathy. Once we get past that we can start changing things for the better. You can't change anything if you don't give a fuck. I am hopeful, though. It seems to be getting better. We just need to do our part as individuals because everything is connected and the more of us that understand that, the bigger the change.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/skilainsomniacdreament
MySpace: myspace.com/sinnagiide
MySpace: myspace.com/mistadata


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:32 AM  
  • At 4:39 PM, Blogger Tah Phrum Duh Bush said…

    Do it Skila!!!
    I'm watchin'...
    Dope interview...
    Going over to myspace to peep the joints right now!

  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger ILLardScott said…

    I always felt that it was hard to learn about a person in a written Bio but my man I really felt your heart on this! God puts people through hardships for a reason and hearing your testimony just reaffirms my beliefs on this. Hope to get up soon especially on the freestyle tip cause I too need practice to complete my EMcee status!

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