At a time when many artists and songwriters are cashing in on lucrative publishing and recording rights sales, singer-songwriter Skylar Gray has revealed she’s been forced to sell her catalog – which includes hits with Eminem, Rihanna, Dr. Dre, and more — to cover the legal costs of a contentious divorce.
In a new interview with VarietyGray said her life and career were turned upside down by a divorce and lawsuit that began in 2017 and wasn’t resolved until last year. “I had to sell my catalog to pay the settlement, which was sad in a way because those songs like ‘Love The Way You Lie’ and ‘Coming Home,’ those are my babies. But at the same time, no one can tell me that I didn’t write those songs just because I don’t own the rights to them anymore, I didn’t want to sell them, but it was my only way to put the past behind me.
Asked if the sale was similar to the blockbuster deals artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have made in recent years, Gray replied, “No. I wanted to keep building it and developing it. But, I have such a weight on me now that the case is over, I’m not on the phone with lawyers every day and I don’t have to pay all those legal bills anymore.
Gray first rose to prominence in 2010 when she and producer Alex da Kid co-wrote “Love the Way You Lie,” which became a huge hit for Eminem and Rihanna. That same year, she co-wrote Diddy and Dirty Money’s single, “Coming Home,” and the following year she co-wrote and sang on Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor.” While these songs were arguably her biggest in the US, she also scored a handful of hits overseas with collaborations with David Guetta (“Shot Me Down”), Nicki Minaj (“Bed of Lies”) and Macklemore (“Glorious”). On top of all that, Gray has had his own solo career, having released three albums, seven EPs and various singles between 2005 and 2020.
As Gray explained, selling her catalog means she won’t see any more money if that music is used in a movie, TV show, or even streamed. Plus, she admitted with a laugh, “the majority of what I paid for my catalog went to taxes and my ex-husband.” She continued, “It’s like your life’s work, and then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Okay, I gotta give the majority of it. But it was my only option. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to do something like that, otherwise, I might not have been able to get out of it.
Despite the sale, Gray said she is now focused on rebuilding her catalog, starting with her latest self-titled album, released in April. “I feel like I’m doing this base style now. And I don’t know if I’ve really done this before,” Gray said, adding, “I’m going back in time and building this totally focused foundation. on fans where I’m super connected with my fans now – in a way I’ve never been before.