“Making music is such a beautiful experience, but getting to share it with the rest of the world is extraordinary.” ~ Carly, KTJ & Carly
Editor’s note: Our interview with KTJ & Carly took place before the onset of the pandemic, social distancing and sheltering in place.
Tell us about yourselves and how it all started.
KTJ: We grew up in a small town outside of Dallas, Texas. Our family had instilled the appreciation of the arts at a very young age, and we’ve both been singing and playing a range of instruments since we can remember. It wasn’t until the end of high school when we decided to join our musical forces together officially, but we’d always jammed together so it felt right.
You recently moved to California. How has that been for you?
KTJ: The weather is amazing, there’s enormous opportunity here musically, but also many challenges. Everyone here is very driven, and there’s so much to do to get in order to “get your foot in the door” so to speak. Overall, California is a great place to be and we really love it here. We want to take every opportunity we can to share our music with the world.
Your single, “On Your Mind,” released last year. What sort of response have you had?
KTJ: “On Your Mind” was our first single release so it was definitely a big deal for us as well as our friends and family. Everyone said great things about it, although we are our worst critics so we always try and find ways we can improve our craft. We released our second single, “Moonlight” in November and “Almost True” was released February 19. We are anticipating releasing our currently untitled EP before the end of 2020. It encompasses the idea of self-identity and who we really are as people.
What is one fun fact most people would not know about both of you?
Carly: We trained in classical music, opera and musical theater-style singing way before we ventured into our own artist style of pop singing. Another fun fact, that is non-music related, we are both double-jointed and can hula hoop with our arms. It’s weird; our whole family can do it.
What’s it like to be sisters working in the music industry together?
KTJ: There are pros and cons. It’s not easy. We fight all the time. Over stupid things too, but we always make up four seconds later laughing about a stupid joke or something. If, for the life of us, we can’t agree on something, we ask third parties, but for the most part our strengths and weaknesses balance each other pretty nicely so it’s great. Because we’re twins, we annoy each other, but tough love is worth being able to share honesty. So that’s pretty cool!
Carly: Exactly. Working together as sisters has its amazing moments, but it can have its challenges as well. We grew up together so we know what works for us and we both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
What advice would you give to someone who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
KTJ: You may feel discouraged at times, which is totally normal. It’s never supposed to be easy. My advice is to never give up, no matter how bad you think you did a certain performance, or if you think you don’t have what it takes. Always remember that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, and that the amount of work you put into your craft will pay off in the long run.
What do you hope the future holds for you?
KTJ: We just hope we can make a song that people from most perspectives can relate to and cherish, the same way many songs in the world have changed our lives for the better. At the end of the day, we hope to speak to our listeners in a way that makes them feel more understood. There are so many songs that have gotten us through different stages of our lives. I really don’t think we would be alive if it weren’t for music.
Carly: We both really believe that music can heal people and help them in many ways. To us, it is the universal language that speaks to all. That is our end goal. Not clout, fame, or anything in that realm. We want to make art, make emotions come to life. We want people to feel heard in whatever way they interpret our music. That is why we do it. Making music is such a beautiful experience, but getting to share it with the rest of the world is extraordinary.
Cover photo courtesy KTJ & Carly
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.