When Skylet Gunner’s debut EP arrives next year its enigmatic brand of dark pop and the artist’s flair for penning her tribulations into incisive triumphs will make it one of the early hits of 2023. For now, however, you’ll need to find contentment in the project’s lead single “Freak Show Beauty,” a vivacious track that finds Gunner at her most potent when she’s exhaling her smokey vocals over haunting rock atmospherics.
“Freak Show Beauty” touches on a number of themes close to the heart of her Serpent Soul EP. Relishing in the delicious mess of life and by extension her own, the song is Gunner’s wry and gritty acceptance of her flaws in all their sensual glory.
“Freak Show Beauty” also encapsulates some of Gunner’s musical inspirations, revealing that Johnny Cash meets Brigitte Bardot on a desert acid trip-esque sound that bleeds through on her eerie transmissions. Contemporaries like Alexandra Savior and Alexandra Riorden come to mind. Like the latter there’s a fiercely personal tale all too familiar to women that sits at the center of Gunner’s artistry: she has faced sexual harassment, as well as three instances of near-death trauma.
It was after these that she embarked on a “spiritual journey in the desert,” an experience that offered enough clarity to remind herself that she could use this as a moment to control. Serpent Soul emblazons Gunner’s notions of female empowerment, self-reflection, and modern romances across six instantly iconic songs.
Although Serpent Soul will mark her first solo EP, Gunner is far from a newcomer. Based in Los Angeles but originally from New York, she got her start at writing camps from giants like Universal Music Group and Ultra. Unsurprisingly, she’s written songs for a number of other artists and has had them featured on television, film, and even animated series. Most recently she appeared in a tribute to Amy Winehouse at an incredible, sold-out show at the historic Troubadour in Hollywood. It wasn’t long after that she appeared alongside Snoop Dogg, Jordin Sparks, Estelle, and Cheat Codes for a live-stream benefit concert at the Hard Rock Cafe on New Years Eve 2020.
“I experienced a cathartic breakthrough while on a spiritual journey in the desert and had a vision of a rattlesnake that inspired my EP title, Serpent Soul.” Gunner continues: “I wrote these six songs from an empowered female perspective, touching on feminism, individualism, and escapism. I’ve never been more honest in my songwriting. And I’ve never felt more like myself.”