Pre-med student balances studies with singing career

You would expect an artist with almost a half of a million YouTube views on her debut music video to have already quit school in pursuit of a music career. But Skylar Steinberg, a junior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention, studies while perfecting her musical chops.

“I like school, I like science, I like doing that stuff,” Steinberg, who is also known by her middle name and alias Skylar Renee, said. “But, it’s not my passion. It’s nice to be in an environment where I can do both: singing and science.”

Steinberg released her first single, “Good As Gone,” with Hazan Records on iTunes in late July. Her music video racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube. Meanwhile, she’s taking chemistry at USC and finding time to finish her album which will be released next year.

“Right now I’m in organic chemistry, and that class takes so much time,” Steinberg said. “But any second of the day I can spend singing or writing songs, I am. I’ll be studying, and I’ll come up with a song idea, and I’ll just go to the piano [to]do it.”

Steinberg, a Malibu native, found her passion for songwriting earlier than her love of science.

“I’ve been singing since I was a kid, just ever since I did karaoke once when I was 8,” Steinberg said. “Ever since then I’ve been singing in my free time. I was in choir, and I wrote lyrics. Every once and I while I would just come up with an idea and write it down.”

Though she was in choir in high school, she has had less institutional involvement in music at USC. Steinberg only recently declared her songwriting minor, and for the most part, she separates her life at school from her life in music.

“I feel like a lot of my life at USC does not have to do with singing just because I kind of ignored it in the first few years here,” she said. “I’m growing as a musician now and meeting more people through music.”

Steinberg works with a producer in Studio City and has also begun songwriting classes, which have helped her get feedback from music students at USC.

“It’s hard to find time to write songs and play during the school year,” Steinberg said. “I started taking a songwriting class which helped me make a scheduled time to write songs, show them to other people and get feedback.”

Steinberg said she jams with a band in her free time, which helps connect her social life to her music life. Originally, she said, it was hard as a spring admit to originally connect the two.

“We’ll just chill and play, and I’ll just sing a random tune,” Steinberg said. “It’s fun to be in an environment with friends, doing what you love to do.”

Tunes like those come to Steinberg throughout the day, and because of her busy schedule, she grabs them on the go. She says her songwriting process is somewhat randomized.

“I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’m inspired by my own experiences and people and life and the world around me,” Steinberg said. “Sometimes I’ll go on walks and a song idea will come to me. I take in my surroundings mostly. I could be doing any activity and a song will come to me, and I’ll grab a quick voice memo.”

Steinberg is hoping to finish her album by next summer so she can play shows in Los Angeles or elsewhere. Right now, she’s just excited for the future.

“I don’t like planning too much in advance,” Steinberg said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Right now I’m focusing on the music.”