When DJ Skee was growing up, he dreamt of appearing on "Total Request Live," the MTV show that broadcast live from Times Square every afternoon. Landing on its list of the top 10 music videos or performing live in-studio was a sign you had arrived -- or were about to. Now 29 years old, Skee has a loftier goal: he's going to bring music back to television.
A producer for the likes of Justin Bieber and Kendrick Lamar, a touring DJ and a radio host, Skee debuted "SKEE Live," a new TV show for AXS TV aimed at the "verge" audience -- kids who grew up on the Internet.
The show will be broadcast live from a studio at L.A. Live, the emerging commercial hub of downtown Los Angeles, and will feature a big live performance, interviews with major musicians and tales from the road.
The show kicks off tonight with an impressive guest list – Kendrick Lamar, who will perform, The Neighbourhood, a Californian rock band, and Floyd Mayweather, the best pound for pound boxer alive.
Here are four things you should know about the show before it airs:
Musicians are disappointed in TV. Ever since MTV relegated music to its less popular channels like MTV 2 and The Hive, singers, rappers and guitarists have been itching for a replacement "There is no definitive music show on TV anymore," Skee told TheWrap from his new offices in downtown Hollywood. "We want to be the definite place for artists to come every time they release a big record."
Kendrick Lamar is a sexy first guest, but it will only get better. Skee first met Lamar when he was a 16-year-old kid from Compton with amazing rhymes but seemingly limited commercial appeal. Boy was he wrong. Lamar released the best rap album of 2013 and has quickly become the most respected young lyricist in the game. "His album doesn't have any smash commercial radio records and yet he sold one million copies," Skee said. Lamar is just the beginning. Skee, who has radio shows on SiriusXM, IHeartRadio and major LA station KIIS-FM, will drawn on years of connections to show off the next Lamar or Bieber. "The one thing I've been able to build over the years is great relationships," Skee said. "We want this show to be a place where it's comfortable for those people to come and talk. We're not going to put them on blast, but we're not gonna tip toe and kiss ass."
You'll See Grammy Winners and NBA Champions Like You've Never Seen Them Before. When Skee says he wants his guests to be comfortable, he means it. In a new segment called "Up Close," celebrities will talk to the camera from places you rarely get to see them. Mayweather filmed his segment while getting a massage at 4 a.m. on a Saturday night.
"We might be on the road with Kevin Durant," Skee offered, "We're going to tell the story behind the story – not the stuff everybody already knowns but how they got to where they are."
Tune in Live or Forget about it. The show will not only film live, but it won't air again. Skee and AXS TV co-owner Mark Cuban are trying to make this show an event, an idea inspired by Cuban's time as an owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Skee was one of the first radio DJs to asks fans to tweet questions for his guests, and he'll do the same with this show, encouraging the audience to tweet questions and his guests to respond both on the show and on Twitter.
"Mark's big on getting people to watch live," Skee said. "Everyone knows him from sports and that's one area of TV that has not been affected at all. Nobody has done that with live music til now. I wanna be that show where poeple have to tune in to see something they won't be ale to see or catch anywhere else. Something bigger and badder than anything they find online."
I don't even know what channel AXS TV is and even if I did I still wouldn't watch. But I think it'll be nice for the younger generation to grow up with a show like TRL. They deserve to feel the same envy I did every December when MTV would give iPods and fucking game consoles to the audience.