- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
For weeks, Marina Skye listened to 6LACK’s catalog on repeat. Not simply because she enjoyed his emotive lyrics and soothing melodies, but because the Los Angeles-bred creative was tasked with bringing the music to life for the Atlanta native’s Since I Have A Lover tour.
“I wanted to make sure that I was able to capture all of his journey,” detailed the set designer and co-creative director. “The whole production has to work together. Me, lighting, and touring. We’re all in conversation with his management together to figure out how to make this make sense.”
As the headlining act, 6lack was sure to be vocal about his own desires, offering unique ideas to the collective leaving room for their respective input. Together the “Free” performer, his team, Skye’s company Set By Skye, and Vue Company (co-creative director and lighting) conceptualized the perfect stage for the 42-city run, which kicked off in Portland on Oct 1.
In the late spring, meetings began between multiple parties with the same goal: a show where fans could experience the 31-year-old in a world of his own creation. Co-owner of LVRN Records Junia Abaidoo and tour management Chris Patterson were among the group that planned the tour with 6lack’s art as their driving force.
“6lack’s in a really unique space right now musically. He’s gone through a lot of personal growth and so the show needed to reflect that,” explained Abaidoo. “Everybody’s been super involved. 6lack led the charge in terms of his vision and his goals for this tour. Everybody takes pride in their piece of the puzzle.”
Weeks ahead of the tour, the pieces of a fully formed show were scattered across two sides of a Burbank, Calif. rehearsal studio. As the setlist was created and logistics were finalized, Skye and her team sourced moss, boulders, and other grassy elements for the set’s woodsy design.
6lack arrived fully in the zone, locked in on rehearsing with his DJ and band. Skye jumped between each side, making tweaks, adding paint, and taking phone calls. Although Skye has leaned on her creative spunk since childhood, the entrepreneur had to navigate through life’s ebbs and flows before arriving at her current career.
After working odd jobs, she realized her true interest was in artistic visualization and building sets. What she describes as her final “wake-up call” to chase her dream was her brother’s murder.
“People always say, when tragedy happens, ‘Life is too short. You have to figure it out,’” she said. “That really happened for me. It wasn’t cliche. I really had to sit down and be like, ‘Okay, I did not expect Joe to pass. He’s no longer here. That is a mirror for me. What do I want to do?’”
After saving enough money to quit her job, Skye exemplified the motto she and her peers learned at her alma mater Clark Atlanta University: “Find a way or make one.” Entering the fashion industry with her own brand is how she realized she focused more on the process of setting up her booth than she did on the actual clothes.
Since launching her company in 2017, Skye has successfully established Club Daydreams in Atlanta, created the Trap Muzik Museum with rapper T.I., launched an award-winning interactive experience for 21 Savage, worked with Jidenna as his art director and set designer, and brought live activations to fruition for Backwoods.
Standing on her experience in the artistic industry, Skye maintains “there is nothing better than being a Black woman,” while acknowledging her identity likely impacted her ability to push past gatekeepers on her path to success.
“ I was new and because set design is something that is such a niche space to play in, I don’t think people really believed or trusted my vision… I was just so determined to prove my creative name so people could really understand and trust the vision,” she reflected. “I feel like I’m in a space where I’m finally being able to get that and it feels good. It feels good to be able to be trusted by an amazing artist like 6lack and his team to create something for them that so many people are going to be able to see and experience. It’s a blessing. Definitely a blessing.”
Earlier this month, fans in Los Angeles were welcomed into 6lack’s world. Fans armed with posters, vinyl records, and immense knowledge of the Grammy-nominated musician’s music stormed the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif.
The show included interactive renditions of standout tracks from 6lack’s discography including “PRBLMS,” and “East Atlanta Love Letter,” as well as surprise appearances from Jordan Ward, Khalid, Jessie Reyez, J. Cole, Snoh Aalegra, and his “partner in crime,” Quin.
With every puzzle piece perfectly in place, the spotlight reflecting from the sheen of 6lack’s beige jogging suit at centerstage. The loose rocks, grass, and plants were enhanced by lighting, pyrotechnics, and an electronic screen featuring a timed shuffle of videos and imagery.
He sang, rapped, laughed, and directed his dedicated audience for nearly 90 minutes, shining as he maneuvered his own personal wilderness, the product of a synergetic team’s dedication.
6lack’s Since I Have A Lover tour has remaining stops in New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, Toronto, Paris, London, Amsterdam, and more before wrapping in March 2024. View the full schedule below.
More from VIBE.com
Best of VIBE.com