20 Questions with Hellscream Vocalist Norman Skinner

By Mick Michaels 

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Norman! Welcome to 20 Questions with The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: What drives you to continue to create?
Norman Skinner: It’s an artistic release. Once you’ve written a song, performed it, recorded it, and heard stories about how it affected another human positively and seen them singing those lyrics back to you, it’s really hard to walk away from that. You want more.

CV: Was music your first love? 
NS: I would have to say yes. I feel in love with music at a very young age which I believe is the case with most musicians or music lovers.

CV: Would you say music has made you the person you are today?
NS: It definitely has had a huge impact in shaping who I am and where my path has led me.

CV: Could you see yourself doing something completely different other than music? If so, what would that be?
NS: I could easily see myself doing many other things. Graphic design, acting, etc. Something artistic for sure.

CV: Which artist has inspired you the most?
NS: Vocally that title would have to go to the great Matt Barlow (Ashes of Ares, We Are Sentinals\ex-Iced Earth\ex-Pyramaze)

CV: Non artist…who has been your biggest influence?
NS: I really don’t know. I could name many, many artists but outside of music I draw a blank.

CV: Was/Is your family supportive with your musical pursuits?
NS: Yes, my family has always been very supportive from the beginning…even when I wasn’t any good. HA!

CV: What do you find inspires your music the most as a songwriter?
NS: I draw inspiration from all over. Movies, social interactions, other bands, history… I absorb it all.

CV: What's your go to album for motivation? Why that album?
NS: “Slave To The Grind” by Skid Row. When first starting out, it was one of my fav albums and Sebastian at that time delivered one of THE best vocal recordings ever. I still listen to that album and think WOW! Drives me to keep trying to get better, and at the same time, reminds me where I started.

CV: Some of your favorite artists... past and present, who are they?
NS: I could go on forever but just to throw some out real quick… Iced Earth, Everygrey, Mystic Prophecy, Testament, Alice In Chains, in Flames, Killswitch Engage, Angel Dust, Savatage, Primal Fear etc. etc.

CV: The one album you feel every Metalhead should own and why? 
NS: Metallica “Master of Puppets”. Mainly because it’s pretty much the standard and quintessential Metal album. I don’t know a Metal head that doesn’t own or like it. 

CV: What do you consider is a defining moment in Heavy Metal history and why is it significant… how did it impact the genre?
NS: The release of Black Sabbath’s 1st album. That to me was the birth of Heavy Metal…even if the term had not been invented yet.

CV: Who would you like to work with if given the opportunity?
NS: Matt Barlow for sure. I am working on something now but have yet to approach him. Fingers crossed.

CV: What do you feel are the top three things it takes to make it in the music business as an artist?
NS: Persistence, talent, & business sense

CV: There has been a lot of remarks among established rockers these days regarding young, up and coming bands, that they don't stand a chance at making a career with music into today's industry... what do you think?  
NS: I believe there is some truth to that statement. It all has to do with the dying physical media and poor payout of streaming platforms. If the payout system could be made fair and regulatory, bands would have a much better shot at making music a career. Right now, the costs to record an album, get album art and packaging, pressing and promotion is extremely high and ultimately the music is given away for free as band are paid fractions of pennies. The only real money is consistently touring which you need to be at a level where you are selling a lot of merchandise and have some guarantees.

CV: As an artist, what do you feel are your strengths?
NS: I am very creative and have a knack for song structure and melody. Aside from that, I get along with everyone and am a relaxed yet driven person.

CV: What do you think separates bands of today from bands of the past?
NS: Not a whole lot. I believe it’s the same concept. A group of guys or girls getting together jamming and writing music. Recording an album and trying to perform and promote. The only real differences are the music business, the media platform, etc. The core idea is all the same.

CV: With so many iconic women eligible for induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, such as Pat Benatar, Cher and Carly Simon among others, why do you think women are often being overlooked?
NS: I do not know. Music should definitely not be defined by what sex a person is….should be on the impact they make as an artist.

CV: We hear so much negative commentary regarding today's overall music industry. What's your take on it? Is Rock really dead?
NS: Rock will never be dead. The music industry as we know it may be dying but the music will never go away.

CV: What’s next for you?
NS: Since I sing for multiple bands I have recently released an album “Hate Machine” by my band Hellscream on 07/26 and the album “Only Dark Hearts Survive” by my band Imagika on 09/13. I have 2 more albums being recorded currently. “The Ruthless Divine” which is the 2nd release for my band Niviane and my 3rd solo album “The Dark Design’ using my name Skinner. Lots of performances as well with my main band Niviane…so people should keep an eye out for show dates.

CV: Thank you again Norman for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.

Check out Norman at
Hellscream Official: https://www.facebook.com/hellscream666/

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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