For Derek Skelton this has always been a dream, as a young boy Skelton fell in love with music and has not been able to escape it ever since. While, Skelton like many Skelton faces the unenviable task of trying to launch his dream amidst a global pandemic, Skelton has been able to use military resilience to rise above the challenges and start living the dream.
Recently, I had the chance to speak with Derek about everything from his musical influences to how he balances his musical career and his military service.
Worlds Of Country: Who would you describe as your biggest and earliest musical influences?
Derek: There’s honestly so many. I grew up listening to everything from R&B/Soul to Rock. I feel like you can hear the influences when you listen to my songs. People/Bands like The Goo Goo Dolls, Rascal Flatts, Brian McKnight, Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, and so many more. There’s so many incredible artists in all genres that have influenced the way I do everything involving music.
Worlds Of Country: At what age did you realize music was the path you wanted to pursue and what led to that decision?
Derek: It was very early…I’d say around 7 or 8. I just always loved singing. Even before I realized that’s what I wanted to pursue, I loved music and was always singing along with songs on the radio and would pick up on lyrics really fast. I can distinctly remember in elementary school we would have career days. You would dress up as what you wanted to be when you grew up and I remember every year one girl would dress up as a pop singer. I was so jealous because that’s what I wanted to be for career day but I was never given the chance to do that. I always had to dress up as a preacher or a missionary, not that there’s anything wrong with those things, but when you have a passion for something and you’re not able to show other people it’s tough. Singing and music in general is in my blood. My Dad grew up with the same passion and is an incredible talent and so he definitely passed it down to me.
Worlds Of Country: How would you describe your sound and style to people that haven’t heard your music?
Derek: I’d say it’s a little bit of all the genres I’m influenced by. Country, R&B, Rock, Alternative…I try not to put myself in one little box because it limits me to one sound or style. I don’t go into something telling myself, “This song is going to sound like _____.” I just find a melody that I like and run with it. I don’t try to force it to sound a certain way.
Worlds Of Country: Of the songs you’ve put out is there one that means a little bit extra to you?
Derek: I think my first single “Can’t Outlove Me” will always hold a special place just because it was my very first single. That song was the start to my professional music journey and that means a lot to me.
Worlds Of Country: Without the ability to really play shows these days have you been able to find a way to connect with fans?
Derek: I try to do as much on social media as I can. It’s such a huge platform and so I make sure to stay active and do interviews, share videos, do live interactions with fans…really whatever will get more followers and listeners. The hard part is getting the reach and gaining more listeners and followers but I try to do what I can while balancing my military career and responsibilities. Derek
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career and how have you been able to overcome it?
Derek: Definitely balancing my military and music career. I’m stationed in Hawaii but I record in Nashville so it makes it a challenge, not only getting there, but finding the time with the responsibilities and requirements I have being in the military. As far as overcoming it, I just make it happen. I find the time to get it done. So that means instead of using the days off I have to go on vacation, I’m using it to go record and work on my music. Adapt and Overcome pretty much.