Atlanta-bred sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey, who go by Chloe x Halle, are doing their mentor Beyonce proud. At just 18 and 16 years old they're not only spending their days working tirelessly on their craft, but thinking about how their work can create substantial change and bear meaning. Did I mention they're only 18 and 16 years old? At Essence's Black Women in Music event, the two, often referred to as Beyonce's proteges, tell me how they find inspiration in Queen Bey, and in each other, to make the impact they dream of.
Nearly three years ago, when they were just 13 and 11, their soulful rendition of Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" exploded enough to reach Bey's radar. Since, they've been signed to Beyonce's label Parkwood Entertainment (with a reported $1 million deal for six albums), were introduced by Michelle Obama when performing at the White House, debuted an EP, and gained over 770,000 YouTube subscribers. And they don't take this spotlight lightly. Their picturesque music videos and lyrics with purposeful meaning are clearly infused with Beyonce-esque inspiration. Although they email and hear from Bey regularly, they continue to be motivated by the legendary performer while bringing their own point of view to the table at the onset of their growing empire.
Although they've grown close with Beyonce, the singers (who appeared in Lemonade), are still in awe of her. "She inspires us in every way," Chloe says. "The way she works so hard. Not only is she an incredible artist, but she’s a great business woman. And we definitely look up to that, she’s an awesome person." Like Bey, their work ethic only grows stronger. In fact, most of Sugar Symphony, their 2016 debut EP was written and produced by the two.
As of late, Beyonce has aimed to help inspire the black community, specifically black women, through her truthful music and videos — particularly showcased in the running themes of the Grammy Award-winning Lemonade. Her crew of fellow black artists proves to be a powerhouse. Solange continues to make waves with A Seat at the Table, largely focused on life as an American black woman. Chloe x Halle are next. "Being young black women, we have new ideas that aren’t really normally heard all the time. We want to bring them forward and inspire," Chloe says. In addition to bringing something "new and fresh" to music, they aspire to also bring "awareness of the world." They strive to affect others just as they've been by their mentor. "Her light and passion she brings to the world is so inspiring," Halle says.
Regardless of how much input they receive from Beyonce, the maturity in their lyrics is astounding. Their single "Drop" reflects the struggle of the relentless love interest who probably isn't good for you, but you can't quit. "Fall" is about finding light in the darkest of times. And lessons they've learned from Beyonce about songwriting and producing prove to be just as valuable as the actual product.
"Always trust yourself and your gut. I feel like our inner voice is always right," Halle says about what they've learned thus far. "I have to agree," says Chloe, "I’m so happy I get to be on this journey with my best friend. Most of the time, we’re always thinking the same thing."
Throughout this larger-than-life journey, I find it interesting that the two never fight — except over "coconut oil, shoes, or shirts." But should I be that surprised? While working alongside one of entertainment's most influential living legends, they have much more important things to get done and worry about.