Virginia Vs. The World!
Virginia star Austin Skinner is a star in the making. It’ll be hard to believe you if you say that you haven’t heard Skinner’s name in the last year or so. The DMV rapper can’t keep his name out of people’s mouths. Whenever he drops a song, what’s to come is unexpected. From the hit of play, you can get a rock-influenced trap song, a bouncy trap song that can turn you up, or a melodic song to get you in your feels. With each drop, Skinner shows that he can do it all. With a lot of music starting to sound similar, Austin Skinner is a breath of fresh air. He’s created his own sound blending genres while also appealing to the masses. It’s a hard thing to do, especially with the quality he does it at. I recently hopped on a call with Austin and discussed his upbringing, his goals, his influences, working with Harold Harper and BigBabyGucci, as well as the “Forever World” collective that he’s in. Check out the conversation below!
Chandy: So, is Austin Skinner your government name? If not, how’d you come up with your rap name?
Austin Skinner: When I was a kid, I always wanted to come up with a rap name. However, when I was first starting, I always looked up to Kanye West and the way he kept it real. So I took inspiration from him and kept it real and used my government name.
Chandy: You grew up in Virginia. How does growing up in VA influence your music, or affect how far you’re able to go with music?
Austin Skinner: No one really did music around here in VA besides FridayNite, Nodis, Orion, Tae & Linus. It gave me an advantage being one of the first to do it. It inspired me to make good music because I wanted to make it out of there. There’s nothing hear career-wise or music-wise. I went to college for a semester and then dropped out. In college, I spent most of my time recording and doing drugs instead. Now VA got a dope community with creatives doing their own thing.
Chandy: Tell us a bit about how you grew up and why you started rapping. When did you start taking music seriously?
Austin Skinner: I was young as fuck in the eighth grade when I started recording. I started dropping music at 15. My music didn’t start popping until Linus & I started recording together & dropping consistently. We were both still in high school at that time.
Chandy: Who are your influences?
Austin Skinner: I listen to everything, so it’s hard to not get influenced by everything. I get really inspired by rock that’s where a lot of my melodies are inspired from. Bands like Title Fight and Three Days Grace. Also, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, and Tyler the creator inspire me. But mainly the underground influences me.
Chandy: You’re part of a collective called “Forever World” with BigBabyGucci. Can you tell us more about the collective and how you linked with BigBabyGucci?
Austin Skinner: Shoutout my boy Lamar Styles. He introduced me to Gucci. It was “1500” at the time, and I hit up BigBabyGucci and asked to join. He hit up his team, and I joined the same day. 3 weeks later, we linked at SXSW and met for the first time. We have a bunch of plans in the works. We really just want to make it for creatives to express themselves. There are only 4 artists, but then the rest are creators on our teams.
Chandy: A lot of your songs are produced by Harold Harper. How’d you two link up?
Austin Skinner: BigBabyGucci put me onto Harold Harper in Nashville of 2018. We clicked and just kept working and working. He produced most of my album Wish You Well. He’s one of the hardest, most genuine producers I know.
Chandy: What was the inspiration behind your album Wish You Well?
Austin Skinner: It was about my girl to be honest. It was a way to get my feelings out. I wanted it to be relatable because I know people go through the same thing. It’s my favorite album that I’ve dropped right now. I’m currently working on a rock EP that’ll be about 5 songs.
Chandy: Does this whole Coronavirus shit delay anything for you music wise? Music videos? Releases? Ability to record?
Austin Skinner: I do everything myself at home, so it hasn’t really affected my current recording abilities. But the ability to film videos have been affected. I got 4 videos recorded in the last two months, so those are coming soon.
Chandy: What’re your goals with music?
Austin Skinner: I’m just trying to make a wave. I want to make a living off this shit and be able to sustain myself. I also want to be an A-list superstar. Shoutout my manager Dylan Hancock. He’s been putting in so much work for me. I appreciate everything he’s done. It’s only been 3 months, but shit is moving fast.
Chandy: What’s something you want your fans to know that they can’t get from your music?
Austin Skinner: Never be afraid to hit me up. I’m a cool ass mf. I’m not gonna dub you. If my fans need anything always hit me up. I want us to be a family. You support me, I support you.
Check out Austin Skinner below!