We tasked Chloe x Halle with the responsibility of interviewing one another about their current realities while allowing them the space to imagine their future.
Even the most exciting moments of the year have been undercut with the salty sting of current realities. The same applied for Chloe x Halle on what was supposed to be the joyous ushering in of their much anticipated second album, Ungodly Hour.
The Bailey Sisters are currently sheltering in place in their Los Angeles home turned de-facto production stage while stay at home orders are still in effect in California. While in quarantine, the pair, who are no strangers to producing from home, have shot everything from drone magazine covers to mini-concerts from the comforts of their tennis court. In the first week of June, when this conversation took place, they shot another type of video, as they sat backdropped by greenery shuffling shoulders explaining through near-tears, a decision that would mark their stance as artists in the current landscape. “My sister and I felt like it was only right to postpone our album,” Chloe says to the camera, “in honor of all of the lives lost in police brutality, we felt it was right to postpone and fully shine our attention and our work on them.”
Last year was filled with career-changing highs for the sisters individually. It was announced that Halle will play Ariel in the forthcoming Disney live-action The Little Mermaid while Chloe wrapped a shoot for her role in The Georgetown Project, a forthcoming horror film. And, in January, the pair celebrated the drop of the third season of Freeform’s Grown-ish where they play track star twins, Jazz and Sky Forster.
This year, though, we have indeed arrived at an ungodly hour. Amid a global pandemic and national protests, Chloe x Halle are learning to lean into new levels of fame, expression, and activism, all while stepping into new respective expressions of adulthood and sexuality.
Ungodly Hour is more than just a second album for the pair. It’s a departure from their saccharine debut EP Sugar Symphony, and a growth spurt from the time they reminded us The Kids Are Alright. It’s a declaration of Chloe x Halle’s arrival at the stairs of womanhood.
And who better to tell us about these times than the sisters themselves? We tasked the pair with the responsibility of interviewing one another about their current realities while allowing them to space to imagine their future. Read the conversation between the pair below.
*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
CHLOE: So sis, how are you really doing?
HALLE: I’ve just been very up and down emotionally. Felt like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, to be honest, these past few weeks, just because everything that’s going on in the world. It’s sad, it’s disheartening. We’re nervous, we’re scared, we’re unsure of the future right now, but I’m hopeful that things could change. I’m just trying to stay positive and not be on social media because that makes me a downer. What about you?
CHLOE: I have been better. My emotions have been all over the place. I have been hurting. I’ve been confused, other moments I’m hopeful. And I think with the current state of everything, my spirits started feeling really down and sad and there’s been a few times this week where I’ve had to delete the social media apps off of my phone. But I just started working out again because my mental was getting crowded with negative thoughts and I wanted to change that for myself and I’m starting to feel a bit better and I’m grateful for LA sun. I’ve been appreciating nature a lot more. And it’s just been helping me feel a lot more Zen and praying has been getting me through.
There have been a lot of emotions. And our album, we postponed it to next week. It was supposed to come out this week and we were just praying to God to just give us the proper answer for the right thing to do when it comes to putting it out this week or [wait until] next week. I’m happy with our decision and I just hope everyone still receives it really well when it does arrive.
HALLE: How do you want to remember this year and this moment before our album launch?
CHLOE: What I’d like to remember about this moment is that our peers have really used their voices and they haven’t been afraid and haven’t backed down. And that is what I’m going to remember about this. I’m not going to remember the heartache and the pain that I’ve been feeling about our brothers and sisters dying but what I’m going to remember about this when I look back is how all of us are using our voices to make a change and it is changing things. And I’m truly, truly happy and excited for that change. I just hope our music could be seen as a healer. How do you want to remember this year? What are you feeling?
HALLE: I’m feeling like this is a year of change. It’s a year of evolution to me. I truly feel like we are in the Ungodly Hour in 2020. From the Australian fires to [the death of] Kobe Bryant, to COVID-19 to all of these instances of police brutality caught on camera. And now everybody is rallying together. I feel like finally, something might come of this, this might be the year of change. This just might be it. So I’m hopeful. I’m really trying to remain positive and hopeful that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. People always say it’s darkest before dawn and I truly believe that. I have to believe that! It’s what makes my heart go on.
Chloe, can you remember the first time you were aware of your Blackness?
CHLOE: I do remember. I believe I was in third grade and we grew up in Atlanta so in our first elementary school we were around all of our beautiful Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Everyone looked like how we look but then we moved to another area, another part of Atlanta, which is mostly white populated. I remember as much as I love that school. I remember walking in and there are only like two Black kids in a grade. And I remember looking around like, “Do I fit in? Am I sticking out because of my skin color? Am I making friends because of my skin color?” I remember just questioning that with myself. I remember sometimes just sitting in the cafeteria and just looking at everyone as if it was an out-of-body experience and being like, ‘Do I truly belong here?’
HALLE: That transition happened for the both of us, one minute we were in a part of town where everyone looked like us and then the next, it was like, “Whoa, where are we?” And it was really interesting to deal with that transition and suddenly be the outcast and suddenly be the person that is the odd one out but at that time. I was really grateful for my family and my sisterhood with you because every day I came home, I was reminded of who I was and I would look around and see the beautiful skin that my family had and none of that in school could tear me down. None of those people who didn’t understand or who would call my hair a certain name or none of that could ever tear me down. So I think that’s when I definitely was aware of my Blackness but I was also aware of how special it was and the beauty in it because of my family.
CHLOE: Sis, describe the most beautiful thing or image you’ve ever seen.
HALLE: Wow. I have seen so many beautiful things. But I would say the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is, honestly, Black people. I’m sorry. (laughs)
CHLOE: Don’t be sorry!
HALLE: It’s in every way, just the beauty of a Black person is just… It leaves me speechless. When I see my family. When I see my community, it’s truly like the sun lives in our skin, in our veins and I’m just so happy to be Black and I’m so happy to be a part of that. I truly think that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen from families to my grandmother and my grandfather and seeing generations and beautiful Black babies. That’s just, that’s it for me.
CHLOE: On top of that, for me, it would have to be when we were in Jamaica at Frenchman’s Cove and the water is my favorite thing. But being on that beautiful light brown sand that was soft to the touch, it wasn’t those hard grains that hurt your feet, it was so soothing and seeing that beautiful, clear blue water, you could see your brown skin under the waves. It was stunning. And I remember seeing the swings that were hanging from the trees and all of the gorgeous people that looked like us and seeing so many beautiful Black people with locs like me and just seeing everyone smiling and happy and joyous. And I think that would have to be one of my all-time favorite views. Anytime I’m at a beach, but more specifically when I was at Frenchman’s Cove, It was so healing for me.
Halle, if you were to paint me, what’s the first color you would use?
CHLOE: Why yellow?
HALLE: I would definitely use yellow as a first color to paint you because I just feel like your aura just screams yellow. It’s just bright and filled with love. I would just start there. I would start doing a border of you just in yellow and then of course do your brown and your hair and all of that. It should be like a sunray around you. That’s what I would start with.
CHLOE: For you, the color that keeps popping in my head is dark purple. As much as we love the sun, in a way with our personalities, I am more like the sun and you’re more like the moon. You have like a mysterious calmness to you. So I would probably use the same colors as the night sky. That’s what I’m seeing.
HALLE: That’s cool.
CHLOE: Yeah, that’s what I see in my head.
HALLE: What is the most important singular memory that you have of me?
CHLOE: I remember… I don’t know why I’m going to cry.
HALLE: Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.
CHLOE: I think we were like five and three or something and Halle, you still had those cute little baby feet and I love babies. And I had this baby doll named Tracy. She was a beautiful chocolate little girl, and I would carry her around. So I always wanted to be like a mother figure, I guess, in a way. And you were still in your toddler baby state. And you had the cutest little baby tiny feet. And I’d be like “Halle! Halle! Spread your feet like a baby does.” And I remember we just laugh and laugh and that’s the first memory that popped in my head.
HALLE: That is funny! Well, now you have to ask me that one!
CHLOE: When you think about the most important time with me? What do you think?
HALLE: When we were younger in Atlanta when we were still in school, we knew we were sisters, but we were just like, whatever. And then when we became homeschooled, that was when we got our bond for real, for real, and instantly got closer. I just remember that whole time when we were both in the house together, both trying to learn together and being at the table together and just growing up and having all of these important moments together. That always pops in my head. You always being there as an anchor for me. I’ve never experienced a time where I have not felt safe and protected because you’ve just always been there. So I don’t know if I can point out one singular memory because there’s so many but I just remember just never having to worry because you were always there.
Chloe, What do you think is the biggest misconception about me?
CHLOE: Ooh. I mean, half of it is a misconception. Maybe half of it is, they just don’t know the full story. Yes, you are the sweet kind-hearted girl but you are so fiery and headstrong. And unless someone knows you personally, they don’t know that. And I think it’s so powerful when a tiny little person has such a bold spirit and an old soul. That’s, what’s special about you. It’s like a hidden thing and no one really knows until they meet you. I think that’s really special.
What about me? What do you think the biggest misconception about me is?
HALLE: You know what’s funny? I would say the opposite. I mean, I know when people meet you, it’s like, “Wow. She’s so goofy and fun and happy.” But I think that there’s also that other side that people don’t see, that is your protective side. That is your like, not bossy but like boss bitch side that people don’t really get unless they watch you work, unless they’re with you when you’re making beats or when you’re answering emails because a whole boss bitch comes out. And I think that people may not see that right away. They just see the happy, goofy CHLOE when they meet you. There are so many sides to you. Who do you see when you look at your reflection?
CHLOE: So I feel like it’s been changing obviously because I’m changing as a woman. But my perception of myself is changing, I’m actually loving myself right now. When I look in the mirror and see is someone who has a really open heart and someone who loves everyone greatly. As I’m falling more and more in love with my relationship with God, I’m seeing God’s light shine through me when I look in the mirror and I’m starting to see this new fire in my spirit when I look at myself and that’s evolving because I didn’t always see myself with so much love and happiness. And I’m really happy that I’m getting to that point right now. What about you? What do you see?
HALLE: This is a really tough question. I feel like it’s changing every single day, like you said. When I was younger, I remember seeing a more shy version of myself. I feel like since I’ve always had you to lead the way a part of me has always remained in a shell. But as I’m getting older and as I’m falling in love and as I’m having life experiences and realizing that I’m slowly coming out of that shell and seeing more of the world and seeing the wonder of all that it is. I think it’s me still growing into myself and finding the adventure in life and being okay with starting to become bolder and saying what I want to say.
CHLOE: I feel like we’re really being ourselves unapologetically and we’re not afraid to be these grown, sexy, fierce women that we know we are. And that has been really fun. We’re not these like sweet two little innocent girls. Yes, we’re very kind, we have big hearts, and we’re very loving but there are also layers to us. We like to have fun, we like to be naughty sometimes. We like to use our voices. We like to take control of our business, all of these different layers that make us who we are. How does that look for you? Reclaiming yourself, reclaiming your truth, making a stand, and using your voice?
HALLE: We are making that change and documenting it in the music. As we’re growing and changing every single day, our music has been our diary in a way and I think that when people listen to this new project, they will hear the new versions of ourselves and our new image.
Chloe, how would you define sexiness?
CHLOE: Sexiness is in the way you carry yourself. I’ll be 22 in July, and I’m really falling in love with my body and my curves and all that I have to offer to this world. I’m so proud to be a woman. Usually, I’m very bright and happy and smiley but something about when I step on the stage to perform, I think that’s when I unlock my inner sexiness and I turn into a different person. I think that’s why I love performing so much because I can tap into that and fully feel like a woman. I feel like a grown woman when it comes to my business but in everyday life, I’m pretty innocent in the way I look at the world and how I see people. But it’s really just about how you carry yourself. And I like to just bring it out sometimes here and there, that’s always really fun. What about you? As you are now 20 years old, how do you define sexiness?
HALLE: I feel like it’s in your strengths, like your power that you hold. Whether it’s your work or you have ownership in whatever that you’re doing, that is a form of sexiness. When you’re confident in yourself, that is a form of sexiness. I feel like my ways of defining sexy are a bit different because I’ve always been a bit more shy, a bit more reserved, and used other ways to feel more comfortable in my skin. I think it’s in the power of realizing that I can do anything and I can be whatever I want to be and nothing can stop me. That to me is pure sexiness when I can hold the world in my hands and know that nothing can stop me.
Ooh, Chloe. Imagine me in 10 years. Who am I? Be detailed?
CHLOE: I see you with two kids-
HALLE: Only two?
CHLOE: Well, two or more. I just see you with a big smile on your face with your dimples showing. I feel like you’re going to be really chill in 10 years.
HALLE: You think so?
CHLOE: I see you in a faraway land with your family just happy and caring about the world but really it just revolves around you and your family. That’s what I see when I think of you in 10 years. I don’t know. I just feel like you’ll have a family by then.
HALLE: Yeah, I agree. Because in 10 years I’ll be what? 31. Wait. How old am I?
CHLOE: You’ll be 30. Damn. Wow. What do you see in 10 years for me?
HALLE: Wow. In 10 years, I don’t know.
CHLOE: In 10 years, I’ll be 31 going on 32.
HALLE: Oh my goodness. I see you in 10 years. I’m not sure if you’ll have children right away. I feel like you say you will.
CHLOE: I don’t think I will. I’ll be married.
HALLE: You will be making music you love and you’ll just be a badass producer who is producing for all these cool people and traveling the world with your husband and just happy. And you’d come over on my farm or wherever I live with my family of 10 children and you’d be the aunty.
That is so cool. And then I feel like you’d probably settle down and have children around 34.
CHLOE: That’s what I’m thinking, right?
HALLE: Yeah. That’s what I see for you.
CHLOE: If someone found Ungodly Hour in a vault in the year 2080, what would you want the reaction to be?
HALLE: I would want their minds to be blown, to be honest. I would want the music to instantly connect to their soul. And for them to feel like it’s up to date with what’s going on and it hasn’t missed a beat. I mean, there are so many albums for us that have lived on for years in years long past when the artist has gone. But that’s what music is about. I want our music to live on and for people to never get tired of it and to always be able to relate to it. [I was playing the] Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On album yesterday and I was like, “This is so eerie how everything is saying is the exact moment that we’re going through.”
I want people to have that same recognition and feeling when they listen to our music in the near future. I never want it to die.
CHLOE: Yeah. I just want people to get the feeling that I get listening to older music. I want them to have that feeling where it feels so timeless but still so fresh. That’s what I hope for. I hope it’s still inspiring.
what does the word legacy mean to you?
HALLE: I mean, it just means living on and making a positive impact in people’s lives long past the moment you’re gone. I hope that we…Well, I know for sure, you’re going to have an amazing legacy when you’re gone.
CHLOE: So are you, Hal.
HALLE: Thanks but you know what I mean? I know for sure that people will always be inspired and lifted up by the creativity that you have put into the world. And I hope the same for me.
CHLOE: It’s definitely the same for you.
HALLE: I just want to live on in people’s minds as being a positive person and making people feel loved and some sort of happy emotion in their life.
CHLOE: Yeah. What I hope to leave with my legacy, is just love. I hope I raise some pretty sweet children who can carry that as well. If someone could look back at the family tree that I’ll continue to spread out and create, I just hope they see bright, positive beings who are contributing and spreading God’s light through their love for life. And that’s what I hope I bring. So I can’t wait for that. When I think about our grandparents and our great aunts, they were such phenomenal people-
HALLE: Amazing people.
CHLOE: With such great work ethic and drive and they were so kind and beautiful as well. And I just hope that further generations will look back and think of me that way.
Photo Credit: Julian Dakdouk courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment