Written By Kelly Holm
From the Olsen twins to Tegan and Sara, sister acts have always been beloved in pop culture. Now, a new up-and-coming pair have joined the genre: singer-songwriters Katie and Carly Haynes, or KTJ & Carly. The identical twins aren’t even a year out of high school, but they’ve showcased their chops everywhere from the Grapevine Mills Mall in Texas to the halls of NYU.
“Since we are sisters, we say whatever is on our minds to each other,” Carly says. “While that can be a good thing while working in a partnership, it can also be bad. We fight a lot, like sisters do, but we always know how to resolve it…”
2019 marked a turning point for the twins musically. Last January, they began to gain social media traction by posting cover videos to YouTube and other platforms. 2020, however, will see KTJ & Carly take their craft even further.
“It is going to be a great year. We will be releasing a ton of singles that we have been working on, [with the] first one coming out in February,” Carly tells Elicit. “We are scoring our first feature film, ‘God Save the Queens’ [directed by Jordan Danger]… We’ve got shows lined up that will be announced soon, and plan to release our debut EP towards the end of next year.”
In anticipation of these milestones, new fans can get a head start by listening to the pair’s recent single, “Moonlight.” Link below!
“I wrote ‘Moonlight’ when I was going through a heartbreak, and I remember going outside and seeing the sky, and my sister, who was talking to me about her experiences and advice,” Katie said. “She said something about missing that comes in waves, and that stuck with me when I wrote this song.”
An anthem of self-care, she hopes the track reminds listeners that it’s okay to feel broken down and lonely, but also that we all deserve positivity and happiness from within.
Staking one’s claim in the music industry is hard as an individual artist, so when you’re part of a duo, it can be double the trouble, but you’ll also have constant support and guidance as you take on new endeavors, as Carly shares.
“Make sure you trust your partner and you both have the same mission,” she advises. “We trust each other more than anything, and we both want the same things… I didn’t really understand it in the beginning; when we made a bad song, I would get down on myself and think it’s because we weren’t good or didn’t have the talent. I’ve now realized that yes, anything new a person tries will probably suck in the beginning. I just didn’t understand at the time, since music has always been a huge part of us.”
It’s in scary moments like these that KTJ & Carly remind themselves of Vincent Van Gogh’s motto: “Normality is a paved road; It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
Many of the artists the twins look up to are solo acts. From Rihanna and Stevie Nicks, to those with plural-sounding stage names like FKA Twigs and Rex Orange County, these are the names of people the duo has wanted to work with for as long as they can remember.
“We’ve always been a duo,” Katie says. “It took us up until our senior year of high school to realize we would have to be apart and in different places if we didn’t pursue our dreams together… we then made a pact to dedicate our time to making some groovy tunes and visuals.”
This pact, of course, proved to define 2019 for KTJ & Carly, and its fruits will undoubtedly be heard for years to come.
“[Our grandfather] said he was so proud of us, and for some reason touching his heart like that really meant so much to us. It made us want to touch people’s hearts,” Carly said. “We were so grateful to have had the opportunity to perform for people who listen and care, as we still are and will always be… our ultimate goal as a duo is to create art and tell stories through music that will relate to our listeners.”
Most of all, though, KTJ & Carly seek to relate to each other. From messing around on the piano hoping something sticks, to giving each other pep talks before every show, they want to remain steadfastly side by side.
“Carly and I know each other like the back of our hands,” Katie said. “It’s great working with my sister, because the feedback is always 100% honest.”
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