Skylar Grey's 2018 Super Bowl commercial, a Budweiser ad featuring her cover of the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me," could not have come at a better time. The songwriter's star as a recording artist is rising fast in 2018, and, if she looks and sounds familiar, there's a reason. The Skylar Grey cover of "Stand By Me" in the Budweiser commercial is the perfect follow-up to her recent appearances, and it accentuates the ad's hopeful message.
Grey (real name: Holly Brook) has been nominated for five Grammys and has worked with artists in just about every genre you can name, from Nicki Minaj to Moby to Duncan Sheik. She got her start as a teenager in a folk duo with her mom called "Generations," and now does her own rapping on albums with Macklemore and Eminem. She's the definition of versatile. You most likely know her work as a song writer and record producer. Grey co-wrote the Eminem and Rihanna song "Love The Way You Lie." She also recently contributed songs to the Fifty Shades Of Grey (screenplay: Kelly Marcel) and Fast and Furious (executive producer: Amanda Lewis) film franchises as well as Suicide Squad (executive producer: Deborah Snyder). In 2006, while performing under the name Holly Brook, she and Fort Minor won the only ever awarded MTV VMA for Ringtone of the Year.
As for the 2018 ad, it highlights Budweiser's disaster relief efforts in America, sending cans of water recently to Texas, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico. You can download the cover as a single at various retailers using this link.
As for her other recent appearances, Grey broke out twice last year with back to back performances with on Saturday Night Live (writer: Marika Sawyer, 117 episodes) and the American Movie Awards. Maybe her next televised appearances will be as a solo artist, but these two were seriously memorable. On the sketch show, Grey and Eminem performed "Love The Way You Lie," as well as "Stan" and a new collaboration from the two of them.
In an interview with Billboard just before the AMAs, Grey discussed "Walk On Water," that new collaboration with Eminem that features none other than Beyoncé. "I don't know if it's going to be the biggest song in the world," she said, though she called it her best work. "I am most proud of that song out of anything I've ever written," she continued.
At the AMAs, Grey performed "Glorious" with Macklemore, a single that she's also featured on. Other songs that have featured Grey (or Brook) over the years include Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor," David Guetta's "Shot Me Down," Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said," Nicki Minaj's "Bed Of Lies," as well as "And Now We Sing" from Duncan Sheik's Whisper House.
Even Nick Jonas has worked with Grey and is a huge fan of her. "I’m very excited [for] people to hear the music we wrote together," Jonas said in an interview with Billboard about his upcoming projects in 2018. "She’s always very generous with her time, and I just love the sound of her voice so sometimes I just try to sneak her in there and keep her vocal tracks for my own use. I don’t think there will officially be a song with her, but you’ll probably hear here in the background if you listen close enough."
She's everywhere, and her music reflects that. “I take all of my favorite bits and make my own little cluster-f*ck of sound,” said Grey on her website about her latest solo album Natural Causes. “That’s what my album is. I feel like I’ve finally put together a sound that captures the essence of me. It’s almost like a debut.”
This year sure feels like a debut for Grey, though she's been contributing to so many hits and favorites for more than a decade. Hopefully this Budweiser commercial will put her even more squarely on the map.