Skyler Stonestreet is a talented singer/songwriter who is emerging as a top-tier hit songwriter. She co-wrote the new hit “Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber, which last week debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Notably, she and her co-writers wrote this song during the Coronavirus shutdown, using Zoom. Stonestreet is also known for co-writing Dua Lipa’s worldwide hit, “IDGAF.”
Stonestreet was born in Las Vegas, and she grew up in Santa Barbara, where she learned to play piano and start writing songs. It was after high school that she moved to Los Angeles, where she impressed music supervisors with her songs, and soon after placed many songs in TV shows and commercials. One of her first credits was getting a sync placement of her song “A Little Taste,” which was used in several ABC TV shows.
In 2013, Stonestreet signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music, where she works closely with Katy Wolaver (Vice President of A&R) and Katie Vinten, alongside the company’s President of A&R, U.S., Ryan Press. She is managed by Evan Winkler & Zack Phillips of Full Stop Management.
It was in 2014 that Stonestreet secured her first cut with a major artist, co-writing The Chainsmokers’ single, “Kanye.” In 2017, she co-wrote the dance hit “Chasing Colors” by Marshmello feat. Ookay & Noah Cyrus. She’s also had cuts with Hailee Steinfeld, Lennon Stella, Sabrina Carpenter, Bella Thorne, Hilary Duff, Mika, Cheat Codes, Hanson, Natalia Jimenez and Tate McCrae.
In addition to her work as a songwriter, Stonestreet is an artist who has released her own songs and videos, such as “It Kinda Hurts” and “Bankrupt.” She’s also been a featured vocalist on songs by other artists.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Skyler Stonestreet. She tells how she got started in the music business, and how she co-wrote the hits “Stuck With U” for Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber and “IDGAF” for Dua Lipa.
DK: I read that you grew up in Santa Barbara, and you play piano. How did you get started as a musician and songwriter?
Skyler Stonestreet: I did grow up in Santa Barbara! I was actually born in Las Vegas, but moved to Santa Barbara when I was about 9. My mom is a big reason I got started in music to be honest, she got me piano lessons when I was 7 years old and she really pushed me to keep practicing. I instantly was pretty hooked and when I figured out I didn’t just have to play classical music ha, and could write a song of my own I completely dove into that.
Here’s the video of Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber’s #1 hit “Stuck
With U,” which was co-written by Skyler Stonestreet.
DK: When did you decide to move to Los Angeles?
Stonestreet: I knew in high school I wanted to move to L.A. and I moved a month after I graduated. There were a couple different music schools I was looking at but I visited Musician’s Institute when I was 16, and I was so excited to get to sing all day every day. Fast forward to me dropping out 6 months later ha, to allow myself to put everything I had into writing songs.
DK: What was your first big break in the music business?
Stonestreet: One of my first wow moments was when a song of mine called “A Little Taste” got a really big sync opportunity with ABC. That’s kind of how I got my start, I was very acoustic driven and did a lot of songs for film and TV. I wasn’t necessarily trying to, it was more that what I was writing at that time somehow fit into that world all at once, it was a whirlwind and very exciting to see songs I wrote in my bedroom on TV. When I got the promo on ABC, I remember the commercial happening before the Super Bowl and other big events and I was like WOAH haha. That was actually the song that led me to get my publishing deal.
DK: In 2014, you had the cut “Kanye” with The Chainsmokers. How did you connect with them?
Stonestreet: I wrote “Kanye” with the super talented Mike Del Rio, and we knew we loved it but didn’t know who would do a song like that. Our publishers sent the song to the Chainsmokers and we connected from there. I remember there being so many versions with the guys because we wanted to get it perfect. Drew (Taggart) and Alex (Pall) were very hands on, making edits, producing, not to mention they are hilarious and so positive always keeping the vibe high, so all in all it was a great experience. To be honest, I still love throwing that one on and dancing around my house haha.
DK: In 2017, you co-wrote Dua Lipa’s hit “IDGAF”. How did you co-write this song?
Stonestreet: This song started in Vegas! There was a writing camp at the studio in the Palms hotel, and we wrote this song very quickly, for some reason that day it just fell out. It was all very surreal for me with this song. Not too long after it was written I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and went through surgeries and treatment that whole next year. [It was] so crazy but the first time I heard it on the radio, I was back in Vegas driving around with my dad with a buzzed head fully recovered almost exactly a year later! I was afraid to open up about that side of my life because I didn’t want people looking at me a certain way, but I am a super proud cancer survivor and only want to inspire others. I think this song was a true blessing, and such a huge milestone, Dua is one of those artists that are so inspiring, she dares to be different, her voice is so unique and when I first heard the mixed version I knew it was going to be something really special.
Here’s the video of Dua Lipa’s hit “IDGAF,” which was co-written
by Skyler Stonestreet.
DK: Currently, you co-wrote the #1 hit “Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber. How did you connect with the other writers to write this song?
Stonestreet: Well this is a wild story, I mean we have all been in our houses, trying out the whole Zoom writing session thing and it really works ha! I got to be a part of this with some of my favorite people Whitney Phillips, Freddy Wexler and Gian Stone, and weirdly enough on my end I was writing at my kitchen table with one of my cats on my lap! It was crazy to see the music video of everyone with their loved ones or their pets or even just themselves dancing around because I feel like that’s what was happening in the session. Freddy was really instrumental in getting this song placed as well and was a champion from day one of writing it. I remember us all texting after the song was written, so excited about it. Scooter (Braun, Ariana & Justin’s manager) is a visionary and was amazing to work with because he wanted to bring people together with a song about what’s going on in the world. A positive message to make people feel uplifted, not to mention donating to charity to really make it even bigger than the song itself and so meaningful during such a crazy moment in time. Ariana and Justin were beyond incredible and I really couldn’t have dreamed that up. When I first heard them both singing on it on it I no joke fell over in my chair haha. They both pay an enormous attention to detail and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of this song with them.
DK: Do you have other cuts or singles coming out soon, that you can talk about?
Stonestreet: I have a bunch I’m working on right now, that I soon can talk about ha and artists I just really love. I was a part of Lennon Stella’s album Three, Two, One and co-wrote the song “Older Than I Am” and it is one of my favorite things I’ve ever been a part of. Lennon is so inspiring as a friend but also as an artist, so I’m excited for what she does next. [I’m] trying to really dig deep in this time, work with people I love, find beauty in simple things, and I’m feeling really inspired.
DK: What are your strengths as a songwriter? Is it mainly writing toplines…melodies and lyrics?
Stonestreet: I love doing both, it also really depends on the day, the song and who you are collaborating with. I feel like melody comes at a different pace then lyric for me. [With lyrics] I sometimes have to really sit with more and think about and melody really happens so naturally, but I feel like I can easily adapt in the room (or on Zoom) to play a role more in either. This time has been productive for playing piano and guitar more and actually writing back to basics which has been really nice.
Here’s the video of Hailee Steinfeld’s single “Wrong Direction,”
which was co-written by Skyler Stonestreet.
DK: You’re also an artist who has released several songs and videos. Can you tell me about your artist side? Are you recording new songs as an artist?
Stonestreet: My artist side is just another side to my writing, and it feels like another creative outlet. I have a few things I’m wanting to release but songwriting is such a forefront and my true love, so I really only release stuff for myself when I really love it or write a song that makes me feel like that “need to release it” feeling. I haven’t played the consistency game with like every six weeks I put out something new to have content and I think that’s OK. I want to keep that side of things it’s own little world and only put out songs when I’m super inspired to do so, that being said I am working on a few things at the moment 🙂
DK: Thank you Skyler for doing this interview. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about yet, that you’d like to mention for this article?
Stonestreet: I just wanted to say to anyone reading this writing songs in your bedroom, which I still do…because the bedroom vibe is so perfect ha, just keep doing it, keep writing, keep challenging yourself, pushing yourself because crazy dreams do come true and I still feel like it’s all so surreal, but then I also remember the hard work and dedication. I feel the motto is never give up. As cliche as it sounds it’s seriously the truth.