Underground Update: Musician and former Gophers football player Kyle Skye makes his mark

Local artist Kyle Skye continues to combine his eclectic taste and musical skill set with his latest single, “Halo.”

Kyle+Skye%2C+a+Minneapolis+musician%2C+poses+for+a+portrait+in+downtown+Minneapolis+on+Wednesday%2C+March+4.+Skye+just+released+his+new+single%2C+Halo.

Parker Johnson

Kyle Skye, a Minneapolis musician, poses for a portrait in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday, March 4. Skye just released his new single, Halo.

Frankie Carlson, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Since his debut release in 2016, local artist Kyle Skye has been making his mark on the Minneapolis music scene. His raw delivery, hard-hitting lyrical work and captivating production combine to create Skye’s standout sound.

His latest single, “Halo,” dropped on Jan. 18, with more music on the way in 2021.

Skye began writing songs and experimenting with making beats at the age of 10. A University of Minnesota alum, Skye first started sharing his music during his time as a starting cornerback for the Gophers football team.

“I kind of tried to keep it quiet while I was going to college,” Skye said. “I didn’t want my coaches to know because I didn’t want them to think that it was a distraction, but I really couldn’t hide it for too long. Before you knew it, they’re playing my music in the locker room. It just was not hideable.”

Following his graduation in 2011, Skye found himself at a crossroads between football and music and asking, “What’s next?”

“Those first two weeks, I was just pacing back and forth in my apartment, I really didn’t know what I was gonna do with my life,” Skye said. “I talked to some people who I really trusted and valued their opinion, and they kind of pushed me in the direction of music.”

In 2013, Skye launched his label and lifestyle brand “Bay Laurel.” The company is centered on work within the music and fashion business, as well as philanthropy. 2019 saw the launch of the “Bay Laurel Fund,” a nonprofit working to create free “Arts + Athletics” camps for inner-city youth. A portion of all Bay Laurel profits goes toward these camps.

“We started with the thought that we were going to help the community no matter what,” Skye said. “It was just going to be a part of our business. After I made ‘Mint’ [debut album, 2018] and once I was like, ‘Alright we’re about to monetize, we’re about to start making money,’ I wanted to make sure that the community aspect was cemented.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Skye and Bay Laurel have continued to breathe life into Minneapolis music. In July 2020, Bay Laurel kicked off “Tundra,” a playlist and profile series curated by KARE 11 reporter Kiya Edwards. Tundra highlights the work of local Minneapolis musicians through its constantly updating Spotify playlist, as well as spotlight interviews with local artists.

Minneapolis-based musician and producer Aaron Mader, aka Lazerbeak, champions Skye’s work in helping to shine a light on up-and-coming artists.

“There’s a lot of good that they’re doing, and only good can come from that, building up your community and connecting the strings and making a lane for everybody,” Mader said. “It’s great to see someone like him who’s, in a way, getting his start too, being willing to share whatever spotlight he gets.”

Skye’s manager and friend, Jared Gray, finds Skye’s music speaks for itself and stands out among other working Minneapolis artists.

“I think Kyle is really coming into his own with his sound. He is starting to create most of his beats on his own, is starting to do most of his mastering on his own. It’s not typical trap beats, it’s not typical R&B beats, it’s this awesome melting pot of sounds and beats that’s uniquely his,” he said.

As someone who is constantly working and refusing to sit still, Skye is looking to take the future by storm.

“I understand that now there’s so much out there, so much incredible music,” he said. “So to be able to not only hold my own but grow in this market feels good, and it’s just reassuring, and it tells me that I’m on the right path.”