When your mentor is none other than Queen Bey, you get the very best advice on how to slay in the music business. So what are some of the words of wisdom that Beyoncé has bestowed upon protégées Chloe x Halle, the teenage Bailey sisters who have just been announced to perform at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival?
“One of the main things she’s always told us is to just continue to be yourself and always be the highest level of you you can possibly be,” says Chloe, 17. “And don’t let this world try to change you. Let the world catch up to you. Don’t lessen yourself to conform to the world’s standards. And that has really helped us a lot because my sister and I make music that’s not very typical.
“There’s been a handful of people who have told us maybe we should dumb it down a bit because it might be too complex for the average ear. But Beyoncé was like, ‘No. Do you. Do what makes you happy, because you are the future.’ I’m so happy that we’re given that freedom.”
Halle, 16, says that B—who signed the duo to her Parkwood Entertainment after hearing their YouTube cover of “Pretty Hurts”—has taught her to “believe in yourself and really trust your ideas and your instincts. Being in the music industry and being a creator, there are times when you can doubt yourself and doubt your ideas and whatever you’re writing. So for Queen B to say that really gave us that confidence to keep pushing even when things don’t sound like everything else.”
The results of that inspirational advice can be heard on Sugar Symphony, the debut EP from Chloe x Halle. The five-song set impressively features production by Chloe and guitar work by Halle. These are clearly not your average teenage girls. “With Beyoncé’s guidance along the way, we came up with just a great bunch of songs,” says Halle. “I’m so happy.”
They are also “so excited” about playing ESSENCE Festival, which takes place June 30-July 3 in New Orleans. The weekend will hold extra special significance for one of the sisters: “We’re performing on July 3, and on the 1st I turn 18,” says Chloe, “so it’s going to be like a really fun birthday celebration for me.”
Adds Halle: “We’re getting down there early so we can spend Chloe’s birthday in New Orleans. And hopefully we get to see some of the Festival acts there as well. We’re so excited to see the Internet, Lion Babe, Leon Bridges and so many other amazing acts.”