Check out Aly & AJ’s feature for Imagista. Read the interview below and check out gorgeous pictures from the photoshoot.
It is one thing to be touring the globe; it is another thing to be doing it with your best friend and sister. Aly and AJ have found success both on screen as individuals and on stage as a music duo. Their kind and lovable disposition combined with their raw and undeniable talent is what makes these sisters so special. We had the chance to catch up with them and learn a little more about what pushes them as well as what makes them such positive role models.
Imagista: Where did u guys grow up?
AJ: We grew up in Southern California, we were born and raised in LA for most of our lives. We did spend a chunk of our childhood in Seattle Washington for seven years as kids. My family wanted to be closer to the rest of our family but due to our fathers business, which was located in LA, we ended up back in California.
Imagista: Do you feel like growing up in LA had an impact on your choice of career?
Aly: It was our love for entertaining and performing together in church and school that really sparked that fire in us. It wasn’t because we lived in LA. We started out pretty young. We were about six and eight years old when we started taking acting classes.
Imagista: Who is older?
Aly: Me, I am two years older.
Imagista: Did you start performing at the same time?
Aly & AJ: Yeah!
AJ: I think Aly being the older sister really inspired me because as the younger sister I would want to do what she was doing. It became a clear passion for both of us at a young age and we knew this is what we wanted to do but we didn’t know we would be doing it as a profession.
Imagista: You guys have had so much success as together and also individually, how does that work? How do you balance your individual careers and your duo?
Aly: It can be. A lot of the time we need to talk about it together and decide what we can do and what we can’t do. For us, we manage it, because we are really close and we feel like we could make those tough decisions together. When Aj is filming a TV show I am at the mercy of her when it comes to music but that’s okay because I know that and we work around it.
Imagista: You guys are super busy right now, what are you guys currently working on that you’re excited about?
Aly: Really it’s this tour. That has been our focus for the last couple months leading up to actually starting. Yesterday was our first day out on the road and it went great. Our first stop was Illinois State University and it was really fun. We have been prepping for this tour for a while now, we are getting wardrobe ready, and the band rehearsal. We had to figure out the set list and the routing of this tour. We also have out EP that came out on May 10th and will be available on all streaming services.
Imagista: When are you touring until?
AJ: We are touring until the end of June and tickets are still available on our website!
Imagista: How many cities are you going to?
Aly: We will play a total of thirty-eight shows.
AJ: we added on some international dates in July. So for the first time, we are going to be performing in London, Manchester, Paris, and a couple of other spots. It is really the next big step in our career, we have performed around the states but to take our show international is really a new accomplishment.
Imagista: What is it like working with your sister? Are some days harder than others?
AJ: We are pretty consistent as a duo. We have worked together our entire lives so yes, now and again it wears on you- spending all your time with your sister, your best friend, your business partner. To be honest though, we are really good together. I love working with my sister, we have a lot in common, we share a lot of opinions, I feel like our energy on stage together is really specific and I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anyone else. We do go through our moments of getting on each other’s nerves, especially on tour which is something we have to be careful with, just because we are spending 2 months straight on a bus.
Aly: We are both adults now and we handle arguments differently. We have learned to just combat what we need to and move on. We are a pretty good team for the most part.
Imagista: It seems like you guys really have a special bond, your parents must be so proud. Have they always supported these dreams?
Aly: They have, they have been super supportive since the very beginning. I think they knew that it was something AJ and I wanted to do so deeply. We were so happy when we were taking music classes or doing theater, I think seeing how much joy it brings us has brought a lot of joy to them. They still act very concerned and they totally kick into parent mode. When we left for the tour we both got a bunch of texts and calls from both our mom and dad telling us to be safe and to stay focused. It was very sweet, we will always be their babies.
AJ: We are traveling the world together and it is scary for them but they are so supportive, we are very lucky.
Imagista: Is it just you two or do you have any other siblings?
AJ: It’s just us two!
Imagista: How do you stay grounded and not let your success get to your head? You both seem so level headed, what’s your secret?
Aly: We have each other which helps a lot. Also, our parents did a good job of reminding us that we are not extra special just because we are performers. They always taught us that we are like everyone else and never told us we were better than anyone. I think that is something that my parents instilled in us at such a young age.
AJ: What we do is also very humbling. Our art is so important to us and it has been able to move and touch a lot of fans and that is humbling. A lot of other people don’t see it like that, some people become elevated in the idea of who they are and Aly and I are just humbled and grateful to be able to do this every night.
Imagista: Who has had the biggest impacts on your lives?
Aly: For me, it is probably my husband. He is on the road with us right now, he handles all of our videography, images and is constantly putting out fires. He is pretty much our angel. He is a writer and producer so he is able to work in any environment. He has really influenced us in terms of music, he has opened my eyes to so many things and has pushed both AJ and I to continue making music he saw that we were wanting to make music again but we were almost too scared to be vulnerable like that again and to open ourselves up to any criticism from the media. He really encouraged us to go for it and not worry about that and to focus on making music that we were proud of.
AJ: He has been a huge force behind our music and in helping us put a record out, he has been a big part of everything. So, my answer would also be my brother-in-law but I think we need to give our mom credit. She has truly been an incredible pillar of honesty and trust in our lives. Growing up in this industry, she really protected us and I think she really helped shape the women we are today. I believe that you are the way you are regardless of your upbringing; we all have this built-in moral compass. For Aly and I, our mom helped build a really important sense of self-love in us and taught compassion for other people and I really think that helped us not only as people but also as artists.
Imagista: I know that there are a lot of people who look up to you, what is the best advice you can give someone who is looking to follow in your footsteps?
Aly: I think the main thing would be to have a conversation with yourself and ask yourself why you want to be in this industry. The money and fame sometimes don’t come for a long time or they never do. The real reason why you should be working on your art form should be because you really love the process of making that art. Ask yourself if you are doing this because you love it and if you do and you feel it is your calling then you need to focus on your goals and do what you need to do in order to achieve them.
Imagista: If you weren’t performing what would You guys be doing?
AJ: I think we would still be in this industry just maybe a different aspect of it.
Aly: We are both very creative in general so that part of our brain is highly motivated in that way.
AJ: I think Aly would be an amazing costume designer or set designer. I think I would be in the production world somehow or maybe in the casting department.
Imagista: Can each of you tell me something about your sister that we can’t find about you on google?
Aly: AJ is obsessed with getting a cat and naming it Tod. She has a special connection with a cat that was at our vet and his name was Tod. I’m highly allergic to cats so I don’t know how that’s going to work.
AJ: Yes! That is true, I am going to need to get a hypoallergenic cat so that he could be around Aly. Aly has this dog, with her husband, he is a rescue and no one knows that she actually treats him like her son. She calls him her son, it’s like she birthed him I have never seen anything like it.