If anyone knows how to make lemonade, it’s Beyonce.
Case in point: one of the three of acts the singer chose to sign to her new record label, Parkwood Entertainment, wasn’t an established, on-the-verge-of-discovery group – they were teenage YouTube stars. The sister act Chloe and Halle, who are now 17 and 16 respectively, caught her attention in 2014 with a now viral music cover of her hit ‘Pretty Hurts’. But if you’re one of the 11 million (and counting) people that have seen Chloe and Halle Bailey’s version of the song, you’ll know they’re hardly lemons though. And despite their young age, there’s already a long running history of musical talent.
Although the girls had been ‘performing’ since they “came out of our Mum’s stomach” laughs Chloe, the sisters began to think more seriously about focusing on music after rave reviews at a camp talent show.
“We first started performing together, singing-wise, [when] I was seven and Halle was five… it was our first talent show at our summer camp and we won and that was just really fun,” Chloe tells Collective Hub. “At that moment, music became our focus. Someone recommended for us to put up YouTube covers and we never really took that seriously.”
The duo did eventually start uploading covers to YouTube and their first offering was their version of a Beyonce classic.
“Our first one was ‘The Best Thing I Never Had’ by Beyonce and when we uploaded that, we didn’t expect a lot of views but we were so surprised and shocked that we were getting followers from it and incredible supporters… that was the moment everything got started.”
It was their YouTube cover of Beyonce’s ‘Pretty Hurts’ in 2014 that really put the two on the fast track to recognition.
“[Then] we just get an email from Parkwood, which is Beyonce’s company and they’re like, ‘oh my gosh, we really love your video, can we post this on all of Beyonce’s socials, and are you signed?’”
The girls were signed to Parkwood in May of 2015, along with fellow teen Sophie Beem and rapper Ingrid, marking the first round of signings to Beyonce’s independent label.
And it’s so far, so good. The duo’s first single, Drop, which is stunningly original in feel and approach for two crystal-voiced teens from Atlanta, is a testament to what the girls say is the freedom that Parkwood allows them: the ability to create music without the unwanted input from commercially-minded execs.
“What we love about being signed to Parkwood is that they give us complete creative freedom and control,” Halle tells us. But there’s still a helping hand from Beyonce. “[She] helped us upgrade our studio, got us new mics and speakers and incredible equipment to just further our craft and to allow us to grow and we love her for that. She lets us lead the way but she always helps us with her notes and her feedback every once in a while but we just really appreciate having her a mentor and we’re so lucky.”
And considering Beyonce is championing them in several corners (yep, it was their faces you saw populating the scenery of her stunning visual album Lemonade), it’s only up from here.
“We actually were there for one day and we were around all of those beautiful girls,” Chloe recounts. “It really was just a celebration of being beautiful black girls just celebrating who we were and it was really, you could really feel the power that was in the air.”