Pop phenom Skylar Stecker has accomplished and experienced more in her inconceivably short seventeen years than most people will in their entire lifetimes. Boasting of a not-so-humble beginning performing the national anthem for major league teams (New Orleans Saints, Anaheim Ducks, Green Bay Packers), she has since released a steady stream of formulaic pop numbers, gaining a loyal fanbase and chart-climbing distinctions. Leaving her record label in 2018 to become an independent artist, her first self-released album Redemption is a welcoming departure from the safe radio hits, infusing soul and lush texture to the impressive ten-track piece. The closing single "Don't Test Me" is a powerful proclamation of inner strength and creative independence, perhaps a thinly veiled message to any ex-record label executives still listening. Here to amplify this forceful message is Toronto producer Shagabond, adding his own sleek twist in a dimmed lights-inspired edit.
Where there were pensive piano keys, there are now chic glittering synths and slow-beating percussions melding into a fluid production noted by smooth reverb and a soothing bass-line. If "Don't Test Me" is the liberating first step out the door, then Shagabond's edit is the poised entrance into the next one. When asked about the track, Stecker shares that "I've always been a huge fan of Shagabond's work and was super excited when he added his unique spin to 'Don't Test Me'. [It's] a super personal and special song to me, and he really captured that energy in a new way." Stecker's personal and artistic growth is splattered all over her new record, a fact noticeably not missed on Shagabond. Teasing out the maturity and grace in Stecker's voice, he elevates "Don't Test Me" from a personal decree to a dance-ready crowded room anthem, where the lights are low and the energy is always loud.