After singing "America The Beautiful" at the start of Super Bowl LIII last week, Chloe X Halle performed at the Grammy Awards Sunday. The sister duo, who have Beyonce Knowles to thank for getting widespread attention, was also nominated for two Grammys.
The "I Say So" singers were nominated for Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album for their debut studio album, The Kids Are Alright. The album includes the hit title track and the singles "Grown" and "Happy Without Me," plus the A Wrinkle In Time song "Warrior."
Chloe X Halle is made up of sisters Chloe Bailey, 20, and Halle Bailey, 18. The Atlanta-born sisters got their start by posting covers on YouTube. Their version of "Pretty Hurts" got the attention Beyonce's attention, and the superstar signed them to a deal with her Parkwood Entertainment record label.
Three years after the "Pretty Hurts" video went viral, the sisters released their first EP, Sugar Symphony, and earned a cameo appearance in Beyonce's Lemonade in 2016. They were the opening act for Beyonce's European leg of the Formation Tour.
In 2017, they released their critically acclaimed mixtape The Two of Us and the single "I Say So." They also recorded "Grown," the theme song for Freeform's Black-ish spin-off Grown-ish. By the end of that year, they began recording The Kids Are Alright.
The album brings their influences to the forefront, including Billie Holiday and Beyonce, of course. They even made a 10-minute film to accompany the title track, and are credited as co-writers to every song on the album.
“One of the things [Beyoncé] says is to let the world catch up to you; don’t dumb down your art,” Chloe told TIME Magazine. “As fans of hers and two young girls, hearing that from her was an ‘aha’ moment — and a confirmation that we were headed in the right direction.”
The Bailey sisters are self-taught musicians and songwriters. Chloe said they started writing their own material when they were 8 and 10 years old.
"The more we did it, the better we got," she explained. "And how I learned to play my keys and do production — it was on YouTube or Google. If I didn’t know something, I’d just research it, and that’s how I picked it up. I think our production and music style sounds different and out-of-the-box because we’re just such big fans of music and we never force it, so it just naturally comes out like a big fusion of all these genres."
The Kids Are Alright was critically acclaimed, but only topped out at No. 139 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Still, the duo has a bright future, especially with a performance on the Grammys stage under their belts.
"We feel like the youth are definitely going to make a change in everything that we’re doing," Halle told TIME. "We’re just happy to be a part of that conversation, and use our art as a gateway for people to see our message of love and empowerment. We hope it inspires other young people. I hope it’s a ripple effect."
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy