INTERVIEW: Chloe x Halle are just beginning their incredible musical journey. We caught up with the sisters to talk their latest album, lyrics, collaborations and more.
The Bailey sisters once shared covers of their favourite Beyonce songs on YouTube that were so impressive they caught the attention of Queen Bey. Fast forward and Chloe x Halle get signed to her label, Parkwood Entertainment, and get formally introduced to the world by landing a role in her beloved Lemonade short film - the scene where Beyonce sits on the porch with a crew of beautiful black women. Since then, the two young women have landed re-occurring roles in Grown-ish that sees them starring as twin sisters. The theme song for the series, "Grown," is helmed by the sisters themselves and lands as the second track on their debut album, The Kids Are Alright.
Having just performed two weekends in a row at Coachella, we got a chance to catch up with girls before their second set to chat all about working together as family, self-producing their debut album, what they've learned from Beyonce, how they feel "grown" and so much more.
HNHH: You two just performed at Coachella, how was that?
Chloe: Performing at Coachella was such an incredible experience. We’ve never attended ourselves before and to actually go as fans of music and even performing our own show there, it was really a dream come true. The whole crowd was just so awesome and they knew the lyrics to our songs, I couldn’t believe that. We just had a really great time.
Do lyrics just come to you guys or are they heavily worked on?
Halle: When we write we definitely don't like to force anything and something that is really important to us is to always be organic and for us to believe what we’re talking about and saying. We’re always inspired by experiences that we’re going through, the feelings that day. It’s always true to our emotions and it comes easy when we do it that way. Whenever something starts to feel forced we just always walk away and go on a bike ride or something.
I recently watched an interview with Jay Z and he said that his lyrics aren’t autobiographical. Are any of your lyrics just added for the sake of the songs?
Chloe: Most of the songs they’re like our diaries, so it’s very therapeutic for us when we create. Most of the songs are very true to ourselves or experiences that we witnessed or a movie that inspired us or a show. We also love to people watch, we get inspired by everything and we like to keep our lyrics authentic.
Tell me about working together as sisters. How does this differ from just working with someone you’re really comfortable with or does it?
Halle: Working with your sister is really just the best experience you could have. For me, I’m the little sister out of us both so I’ve always looked up to Chloe as my role model, as my inspiration, as that person to give me courage to keep going. Being able to work with somebody like that who you’re so close to really helps get a better product and allows you to be honest with each other and just real.
You guys once said that the best advice Beyonce gave you was to trust “your intuition.” What’s something you have learned from Bey that she hasn’t told you, something you’ve learned by just watching her career?
Chloe: My sister and I, we were just so grateful that we were able to open up for her for Formation Tour [..] Being able to see her every single night give her thousand percent, that was really inspiring to us. No matter where we are, no matter if the crowd is ten people, a thousand people or seventy-five thousand, we give it our all from our tippy toes to the top of our heads.
My personal favourite on the album is “Happy Without Me” featuring Joey Bada$$. How did Joey hop this track and what was it like working with him?
Chloe: My sister and I have always been big fans of Joey Bada$$ and we were looking for features for our songs and we were like ‘let’s do Joey Bada$$.” One of our good friends Kitty Cash who is this female DJ, she knows him and so she reached out to him and he loved the song and he laid down a verse on it. We were just so happy, we loved it when we first heard it and he really brought the song to life - gave it another life.
What was the most difficult song on the album to write or put together and why?
Halle: No song was really difficult to write. I will say this one song on the album, “Babybird,” that we wrote four years was a fun and tedious project to kind of get it to sound like our current stuff that we had made….That was really fun project for us to go back and add some more elements that is in our music now and just keep the organicness of that song because we had always loved that song. We definitely wanted to keep it but we didn’t want it to sound jaded.
You guys produced your whole album by yourself. Was that a skill set that took some time to acquire or did you guys have a mentor?
Chloe: Something that our parents have always instilled in us is that you never want to have to rely on anyone or rely on anybody. If you don’t know how to do something you should figure it out for yourself. Even outside of music we’ve always had that mentality and it just transferred straight into music. My sister and I [..] create from the heart, from the beat and to the melodies and lyrics it just all flows out. It’s pretty cool knowing that we’re two young girls who can do everything ourselves and it happened organically, we never set out saying ‘oh this whole album's going to be produced by us.” It just kind of naturally happened and you know that’s how we like things to be, that’s when you know it’s right.
You guys act on Grown-ish and are successful singers - what’s something you would love to add to your resume and pursue?
Halle: We love acting, we love singing and we definitely want to dive more into acting because that’s really fun for us and it’s another way of us expressing ourselves. For me, I’ve always been like ‘painting is cool’ maybe I should get better and express myself through painting [...] and see what can happen there. We just love anything that allows us to express ourselves, so we’re willing to try a lot of things.
Tell me about the short film for your album, how did it all come together?
Chloe: We feel like our music is pretty visual and we’re like ‘we have to have some visuals to our songs’ and we couldn’t really decide which songs to make a visual for because all the songs are our babies. Beyonce suggested the idea of making a mini short film of just putting them all together. We love that idea, she’s so creative in that way and so we just ran with it and bam the short film happened.
At the beginning of the film, one of you two says: “It would be so not fun if we knew what was going to happen in life.” Do you guys think about your future plans? Where do you guys see yourselves creatively in a year?
Chloe: I feel like with anything, the possibilities are endless and first and foremost my sister and I want to grow as human beings and musicians and continue getting better in our craft and our performing. We would love to have Grammys and awards and all of that and go on tour and see the whole entire world. First and foremost we just want to grow and if we’re better human beings and musicians tomorrow than we were today that’s all we could ask for.
Do you two create music with someone in mind?
Halle: We like to keep our range wide, we don’t really think about who we’re making it for in the moment creating. I always think of afterwards when we realize ‘oh we made a song talking female empowerment’ that’s cool that it just came out of us. We try and encourage ourselves to embrace your insecurities and embrace yourself and all that you are. Really it’s just a message to ourselves and when people say that they can relate to that, it clearly makes us happy.
Who would be a dream collaboration for you guys?
What are you guys most looking forward to in the rest of 2018?
Halle: I’m really excited for the rest of the world to just hear our album. It’s so kind that so many people have responded in such a positive way about it, but just you know going around and touring with those new songs is something that we can’t for.
Chloe: I have to piggyback off my sister because we’re still on promo runs and promoting this music and I’m also really excited to do things with Grown-ish, I can’t wait for that I miss the entire cast.
Speaking of Grown-ish, being 18 and 19-years-old, in what ways do you think you are both grown, and are not grown right now?
Chloe: I feel like my spirit is very childlike - sometimes I feel like I’m still 15-years-old. In my personal life, and who I am as a human being, I feel like my soul is very young. When it comes to music and business I seem to mature a lot so I feel grown in my business and music and outside that I’m pretty childish.
Halle: Absolutely, I feel exactly the same way as Chloe, in regular everyday life I still don’t really feel that grown. When it comes to our music you know we’re taking charge [...] and standing for our music and that’s really important. I feel like we’re grown in that way - in the business way.