SINGER-SONGWRITER Skilyr Hicks rose to fame when she stunned the judges on America’s Got Talent at the age of 14 in 2013
Years later, she became embroiled in legal troubles after being charged with counts of family violence and underage drinking.
The artist, 23, was found dead at a home in Liberty, South Carolina on Monday following a reported battle with substance abuse and mental health.
Skilyr’s mother Jodi Cronk told TMZ she was “found lifeless in the home of a friend.”
The exact circumstances and cause of Skilyr’s death are still unknown to the family, though Jodi told the outlet “her daughter battled with mental health issues, including depression and substance abuse.”
Budding artist Skilyr captured the hearts of viewers when she appeared on season eight of AGT in 2013.
The young musician auditioned for judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern.
She impressed the panel of judges with her performance of the original song Brand New Day and progressed to the next round.
The track contained the lyrics: “My heart is sad and filled with sorrow. I know there’s hope for a better tomorrow.”
The artist explained that she had lost her father a few years before the audition, revealing in a confessional: “He made some bad decisions and I hadn’t seen him in a few years.
“The last time I saw him I remember driving away and he was crying.”
Skilyr continued: “After his funeral, I wrote my first song. It’s kind of like a message that came too late for my dad, but I know if he could see me now he would be really proud of me.”
She revealed how she taught herself how to play the guitar, write and sing.
On the show, Howard Stern said her late dad would have been “glowing with pride” following her performance.
Around two million people have watched Skilyr’s audition on YouTube.
Skilyr was eliminated before the live shows. She performed another original song but it wasn’t deemed “strong enough” by the judges.
Years after captivating the judges on AGT, Skilyr was charged with multiple counts of family violence, according to WRDW.
A police incident report from Columbia County, Georgia revealed in 2017 that Skilyr “scratched and hit” her sister Breelyn’s face and allegedly pulled her hair.
Jodi told WRDW: “The ‘main topic’ of this became Skilyr beat-up her grandmother.”
Cops said Skilyr’s grandma fell into a small chest of drawers. Police said her injuries were red marks on the chest and a contusion on her back.
The singer’s aunt had a contusion on her wrist.
Breelyn said at the time that she didn’t believe her younger sister deserved charges.
She said: “We didn’t press [charges]. The state did.”
Skilyr’s elder sister said the musician snuck out of the house, alleging she had been drinking.
Cops took the singer’s blood level and found that it was a “staggering” 0.126.
Mom Jodi claimed: “It’s like self-medicating”, while Breelyn added that Skilyr was “very drunk” when events apparently turned “physical”.
Just a year later, the singer found herself in custody in Findley, Ohio in November 2018 for alleged underage drinking.
Cops told TMZ that she was arrested for underage consumption and intoxication and charged with a misdemeanor.
The alleged offense happened in October of that year, so it’s unknown why the warrant was issued a month later.
Skilyr’s passion for music was evident as she uploaded her acoustic renditions of hits such as Passenger’s “Let it Go”, Mylie Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”, and Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder” to her social media platforms.
One of the last videos she uploaded to social media was in August 2019 where she performed the opening lyrics of The Beatles track “Here Comes The Sun”.
Fans gushed over her singing ability as one Instagram user said: “your voice makes my day better.”
‘MUSIC MAKES ME’
Meanwhile, others begged for the singer to upload more cover videos as they asked if she was recording new music.
Skilyr uploaded a selfie in May 2020 in what appears to be her final Instagram post.
No words accompanied the photograph. She just included a kissing emoji.
Dozens of tributes have been posted under the picture as fans expressed their condolences.
One penned: “Tragic. What talent. So very sad.”
Another commented: “Rest in peace. Such a wonderful talent person.”
And a third said: “Beautiful voice and person lost.”
In June, Skilyr said: “I don’t make music, music makes me. It’s my life, the breath in my lungs, and it’s the steady beating of my heart.
“Every song I write is a different story. It’s not just lyrics and a tune, it’s an expression of how I feel, it’s the pain, the laughter, the tears, and the other heartbreak that I have known.
“It has touched other people in ways I never would have imagined possible. And just being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even in the smallest way, is the most amazing feeling for me.”
Skilyr’s mom Jodi said the artist’s music would “live on” following her death.