First Look Friday: Break Through Impossibilities With Chloe x Halle
Say what you want, but this week’s First Look Friday are the embodiment of next level dopeness. The teenage Bailey sisters have captured the ears of music lovers everywhere with the certifiable jam, “Drop,” which you can watch below. Better known to the game as Chloe x Halle, the Parkwood Entertainment signees come equipped with style, flair, booming bass and a clear focus to make an impact on the game. The Los Angeles-based tandem have already made an impression on the likes of Michelle Obama, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya and yes, Beyoncé.
Wildly talented, fiercely empowering and so swagged-out that this interview cannot contain the energy that these two emit. Chloe x Halle present themselves as a breath of fresh air in a game that is increasingly becoming formulaic. As writers and producers of their own music, these two teenagers are leading the charge by the new generation to evolve the music we know and love. By combining stylish singing with clever choruses, Chloe x Halle are putting some vibrant paint where it ain’t.
With their debut EP, Sugar Symphony, available to stream + purchase today, please open your ears as it is our absolute honor to introduce you all to Chloe x Halle. Get entangled in knowing more about this soulful duo, as the sisters talk about their influences, keeping Lemonade and “Formation” a secret and advice they received from the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Enjoy!
Okayplayer: It is really cool of you guys to spend some time with us. You both have made such an impact with us music snobs, plus people who genuinely love music. Can you explain what people are missing out by not checking out Chloe x Halle’s art?
Chloe: My sister and I, ever since we were young, we both loved music of all genres. Whether it was jazz, R&B, rock, alternative — whatever — music played a healthy part in our musical development. We absolutely love to combine sounds and do things that you don’t really hear very often. We love to make something beautiful out of all the chaos. Of course, being from Atlanta, we love our 808s, our heavy booming bass and drums, but then we like to layer it with harmonies, really cool backgrounds and four-to-eight part harmonies. We absolutely love doing that! I believe that’s what we bring to the table—something that is fresh and new—but it’s also packed with harmonies. You don’t really hear too many harmonies out there today.
OKP: You raise a very good point… Acts like En Vogue, Boyz II Men and the like — they had those blends and you could hear the merging of everyone’s voices. And while it is apparent you both have a passion for music, honed your skills and practiced your craft — who are some of the most cherished influences in music that you both have? Why?
Halle: For me, I have always been a jazz head. I absolutely love Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn. I have loved Billie Holiday since I was five-years-old. I had this pink CD with her on the cover with these beautiful flowers in her hair. She just mesmerized me! So, I would definitely say that my biggest influence is Billie Holiday, as well as other jazz artists that I love to listen to like Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone.
C: Right, some of our influences outside of jazz are influential, too. We really, really love Frank Ocean. We love FKA Twigs and the tUnE-yArDs. Of course, we cannot forget about the legendary greats like Whitney Houston with her incredible voice and, as my sister mentioned, Nina Simone. We’re also really into The Internet, and we love Twenty One Pilots. And, of course, Beyoncé, but we listen to music of every genre, so we love everything across the board. It all inspires us.
OKP: “Drop,” which is super dope and free-flowing, has captivated the ears of music snobs all over and placed you guys on their radar. Talk a bit about how life was for you two while still developing as artists? Also, how did you both react to the first bits of press that you all received?
H: Us starting our journey of writing, singing and performing began about three years ago. From there it just turned into something wonderful. It really blossomed like a beautiful flower. We still don’t really understand how we were fortunate to be so blessed with these words, but we are. We are just so, so, so blessed. When we first started writing “Drop,” it was so much fun because we were just jamming out like we always do in our living room. It just came to fruition after Chloe started playing her 808 beat. It was such a cool melody, and we both looked at each other and gave that, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool’ look. Every time that we do a song, we record a video of us performing it so we don’t forget any ideas. When we watch it back it is so much fun just to see how “Drop” came together. It was literally just a blessing thrown into our laps.
C: My sister and I were just so grateful for these ideas because we definitely understand that it is not solely coming from us. It is courtesy of a greater power. We just love what we do and we love making music because it is our genuine passion. It is our heart and soul, and so we do it everyday. It’s so much fun for us. We’re just grateful that we can continue to grow and evolve as artists and musicians.
H: With all of the press, we were just like, ‘Woah! People actually like the song?’ We were so excited and happy because everybody regularly just saw us on YouTube. We would be doing our covers and that became the thing that people knew us by. So, as we were writing “Drop,” we were constantly thinking that it’ll be different for our fans.
C: Like Halle was saying, with “Drop” we were finally giving our art to the world that we were working on for the past two, three years. Honestly, we weren’t expecting much from it, but we were really excited to put it out. We were so grateful and happy to those who supported it because they got it immediately. Many times before, a lot of outsiders in the music industry would say, ‘Maybe you should just dumb it down a bit because the average ear won’t understand.’ But our audiences was just really super-supportive and they caught on quickly. It just shows us all that there is a new wave coming into the music, and we’re so happy that we get to be a part of it.
OKP: In reading a past interview you two did, it was mentioned that you both knew about “Formation” and Lemonade before the rest of the world. What were each of your respective thoughts about the project? What do you both see as the future of Parkwood Entertainment’s brand of original video content?