Rising mother-daughter duo 2Steel Girls have taken a definite DIY-approach to building their musical career. Having just released their full-length debut album, The Real Thing, the duo will be the first to tell you that there is as much work that goes on behind the scenes as what you see on stage.
“We’re to the point where it is just continuous. We never take a day off,” said Allison, the mother of the duo. “We work a lot of hours. I was up until about midnight last night just have to catch things up. We had to let our managers go, which stinks– because they were doing some of it. So, we’ve kind of taken it all back on – from building a website to the booking to editing our own videos and photos. It’s a little crazy, and people don’t realize what all goes into it – but it’s part of the deal.”
Would they love to have some help along the way? She says at some point, though it’s not in the cards right now. “One day, we hope we don’t have to do all of this, because it’s more fun to sing and to be an entertainer than to sit behind a computer all day, but that’s a large part of what we do.”
Even in spite of the fact that building a career is far less glamorous than the time spent performing in front of an audience, daughter Krystal says there is nothing they would rather be doing.
“We know that this is our dream, and nobody is going to put as much into it as we would. We’re very passionate about that. We feel like this is what we are meant to do. I don’t know what else we would do. We love performing, and getting to create new music, but the cool thing for us is going out and getting to perform. We may have an hour and a half set, but we get to pull people from having a really crappy day, and hopefully, that gives them a different kind of experience and take them on a journey. That’s what we love about being artists – is getting to reach people and meet people. We’re in it to win it, and we know it takes sacrifices. Sometimes, people aren’t willing to make them, and sometimes, people aren’t willing to give up their free time or sleep – but that’s what we do, because we believe in it.”
Though the two have been singing together since Krystal was a child in Church, the two have only been seriously pursuing a career for about six years. They received a huge boost by being contestants on NBC’s The Voice. Although, if they had to that all over again, Krystal says they would have done some things different.
“Looking back on it now, we’re kind of embarrassed,” she tells Music Update Central with a laugh. “We looked really ridiculous, and didn’t know what to wear. They really hadn’t had a lot of duos on the show, so they just put us in black and white. We look back on it now with this attitude of ‘What were we doing?’ But, it was a good experience overall. When we started, we had about two hundred people following us on Facebook – of which a whopping ninety-five of them were either related to us or from our hometown. Getting on The Voice gave us a lot of exposure that we wouldn’t have gotten.”
And, during their time on the show as part of Team Blake, they received some timely advice from their Coach. “When we were on the show, Blake knew that we were really different. We are really soulful. We’re very different, though we are country people. We dress differently, but Blake told us ‘Jusr be you. If I can tell you anything at all, you just need to be you.’ For years, we were told that we were too soulful, or that we were a little too goofy and needed to act more proper. We tried to fit in the box in a lot of different ways. At first, we tried to look classy and have big hair like in the old Carrie Underwood photos. Then, we tried to go real redneck because we hunt and fish. We tried to sound real twangy on the first record, and then we tried to find something that would work with radio on the second, but we just became really miserable. We have this huge passion to sing for our fans, and we were to the point that we were hating it. We might have sung one song from our last EP live. We have made so many compromises to try to fit in and be like everyone else, that it left us to a point to where we didn’t enjoy it and felt empty.”
In making the new album, Krystal says that they tried to take a page from some of their musical heroes.
“Look at Michael Jackson, Prince, and Willie Nelson - all of these people who really inspired us – they all got to the point where they didn’t give a shit. If people liked it, great, and if they didn’t – whatever. That’s what we did – we threw all the rules out and weren’t concerned about it. We only recorded the music that we loved, and we just tried to make it the very best we could be. The way we looked at it was ‘if this was the last damn album we ever make, it was going to be the best damn album we ever made. If we were going down, we were going down in flames. We just wanted to be creative and have fun with music again.”
Fun is a word that can be used to describe The Real Thing, with a variety of moods and styles. One of the standout tracks on the disc is “Sugar Rush,” of which Krystal says “That’s one that we found from a songwriter friend of ours, Kelly Paige. Our producer said that it sounded like The Wrecking Crew. There’s a 50s / 60s kind of vibe to it. When we heard the demo, we just really thought it was such a cool song. It’s so sassy, and we like to be a little sassy sometimes – especially when we are performing.”
In closing, we thought we would ask just what is it about the other that helps to set the duo apart!
Allison: “I think that seeing Krystal having fun on stage. When she gets really confident, and hits those power high-notes, it makes me want to step up my game. She talks about the both of us being really creative, but watching her in the studio this time – we co-produced the whole album – we got really creative. I didn’t know she had that many musical ideas, even down to the sound of the guitars. It was really interesting to see how much more she had in her than I had ever seen before. It just blew me away. It makes me so proud with what we’ve done.”
Krystal – “I would say that her passion for music. She’s one of those people that if she could sing until she was ninety-five, she would be okay with that – dying as she hit that high note. She’s just believes in music so much, because it’s what she’s always dreamed of – and doing what you’re supposed to do in life, or anyone stop you or putting rules on you – taking your dream and running with it. That’s what I would say about her.”