If you haven’t heard of the name Justice Skolnik yet, you will soon. The 20-year-old music producer is quickly emerging as a rising star on the music scene.
His newest track “Emotional” is playfully sultry yet a bit melancholy. Skolnik collaborated with Anjulie, whose vocals took the EDM community by storm in Boombox Cartel’s “Supernatural” to create a song that’s difficult to categorize into a genre, blending the best of electronic music and pop.
The California-born producer attended Northwestern as a freshman but ultimately left to pursue music. Two short years later, his remix of Matoma’s “False Alarm” has more than 2 million streams Spotify and his Soundcloud productions regularly rack up hundreds of thousands of plays.
Skolnik has been immersed in music since the early age of five, with more than 10 years of experience playing guitar.
“When I was really young, my parents brought music into my life, which was a blessing,” he said.
As a junior in high school, he wasn’t much of a fan of electronic music and produced mainly hip hop tracks. Eventually, a friend introduced him to trap artists like RL Grime and Baauer. Over the years, his taste has evolved to include artists with lighter, more melodic notes like Flume and Cashmere Cat.
“I try to take bits and pieces from different sounds I hear and try to infuse it into my music,” he said.
He compares his style loosely to that of Kygo and The Chainsmokers. But of course, to give it labels like tropical house and electronic pop is misleading and limiting, especially for an up-and-coming producer like Skolnik.
“I’m obviously still trying to get to where I want to be,” he said. “I have to remind myself of that every day because it can be frustrating not getting every idea you want to sound exactly how you want it to sound.”
He says that if he could give his younger self some advice, he’d tell himself to relax and not force the creative work.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to finish a song right away,” he said. “Everyone has their own different path and their own different way of working.”
After taking a music production class in high school, Skolnik set out to further educate himself with Youtube videos and by playing around with different programs.
One of the biggest challenges he’s dealt with over the past few years is just improving his technique.
“Producing is hard,” he said. “It’s a process that really takes time to learn.”
While he’s mainly been focused on production, he’s also had a few opportunities to perform, including during the Countdown NYE Festival in Southern California this past winter.
“I was the first slot of the day, so I wasn’t really expecting too many people to be there. But once people started to get there, I started to get into it,” he said. ““It was a cool little introduction to what could possibly be in the future.”
I, for one, think he’s being a bit too humble with this statement.
Check out some of his other tracks:
Lightning round questions:
What’s next in the pipeline?
Skolnik is sitting on a couple of original songs and remixes – in particular, he’s finishing up a remix of “Quit You” by Lost Kings featuring Tinashe.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
“My all-time favorite everything is Drake.”
What’s one song or artist you’re loving right now?
Cashmere Cat’s new album, 9
“He’s just awesome because he’s not too in your face about everything, he just puts out music.”
What’s your personal mantra?
“Live for now, and not for the future or past.”