Carmen and Camille’s meteoric rise in the Canadian music scene, culminating with a Juno nomination for their single Shine 4U, is due in large part to the dedicated fans at the forefront of every stage they step on to. The single shone brightly as hundreds of remixes popped up all over the globe and accolades from fans and industry alike poured in.
The rest is hard work, intuition and dedication but if you asked the pop duo if they ever doubted their career, they said they always had a feeling they’d get there.
As sisters, they have been practicing since childhood, experimenting with what they call “passion pop” – their trademark honesty set to catchy, dance floor hooks – which has seen them breaking into the Top 40 on Canadian radio charts, landing in the top 20 on Billboard’s Emerging Arts chart as well as making appearances at the Much Music Video Awards and Much on Demand (a particularly meaningful milestone for any Canadian). Major press from Toro Mag, Flare, E!Talk, Billboard, Stuff Mag, Elle and songs from their first album being featured on MTV’s The Hills mark how far their infectious melodies have traveled.
After releasing “Shine 4U” to radio and winning the Chum Emerging Artist award, the single started outperforming major label artists on the charts. Crafted alongside platinum-selling songwriter and producer, fellow Vancouverite, Ryan Stewart, the girls knew Shine 4U was special right away.
“I think we all knew we were on to something after the first writing session for Shine 4U. We would dance to it in our car, which is always a good sign to us,” laughs Camille.
Stewart is building a reputation of having an ear for what will singe the airwaves, and Carmen and Camille cheer on the careers of other West Coast ladies like Carly Rae Jepsen, One More Girl and Kay – joking that there must be something in the water.
It’s refreshing to find artists more interested in creating a feeling than subscribing to a lifestyle, which is perhaps why the girls have resonated with fans around the world.
From military gigs in remote areas of Egypt to bawdy Glaswegian pub crawls, Carmen and Camille are either totally immersed in the moment or sifting through travel’s personal revelations and chance encounters for the next hit song. And though the girls are more comfortable layering their life experience into lyrics than boiling it down to a history lesson, they do have memories from past tours that they’ll share from behind contagious grins.
“One of the most fun tours we’ve ever done has to be England and Scotland, There was one time we were running to catch the train to the next city and I tripped on some gear,” recalls Camille. “Our DJ ran back to help and as I was sprawled there with my guitar on top of me, we watched the train pull out with only half of us on it!”
“We didn’t know anyone in Scotland and that was actually one of the best receptions we’ve had. People were getting into the music and coming up after. They knew how to have a good time,” adds Carmen. “After Glasgow we went to some church that was converted into a bar. It was so weird to be in a hundreds of years-old building, ordering a drink next to a pew.”
It is their ability to appreciate these moments that serves as an endearing contrast to their musical idols, Janis and Stevie – and unlike those inspirations, their life-long bond means they never have to face new territory alone.
It was this ability to lean on each other that saw them through one of the hardest moments in their musical careers. In the midst of recording with Grammy-winning producer and friend, Tal Herzberg, the new project was abruptly halted upon Tal’s unexpected passing. Carmen and Camille took some time to adjust and regrouped, tackling new roles behind the console as co-producers of their upcoming EP. The girls soon hit their stride with an upbeat compilation of songs that truly reflect the journey the girls have been on together.
“Big Love [the anthemic chorus revealing a predicament every girl has been through at one point in her life] started as an instrumental track that we wrote to, which is not as common for us. In the past, we’d usually start on the guitar. It’s been fun to get more creative with sounds and experiment with keyboards and synths,” shares Carmen, the excitement in her voice building. “It was based around a relationship of Camille’s and wanting the best out of someone. It is deeply personal, something that is a recurring theme in our music.”
This is never more evident than in the verses of Haunting Me, evoking a delicate spring rain that collides with a thunderclap of grief, begging “let me go, if it’s over now. Don’t let me love a shadow,” or the poignant, Away, which harkens back to the fearlessness of childhood, declaring “I won’t run away anymore.” The EP is a promise of change and growth, but with Carmen and Camille, the important things have stayed the same.
“Songwriting makes you feel like there is some other, high power,” they reveal. “You get inspiration out of nowhere. A song can just come to you.”
So can a feeling. Underneath the driving beats and catchy synths of the new upcoming album are songs sung from the heart, and the gut.