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Nalani and Sarina Bolton are the most impressive 21-year olds you will ever come across. Graduating high-school early to pursue music is not a small decision; but that’s exactly what these two chicks did…and with the support of their family. But DO NOT mistake them for just two pretty identical faces. These ladies are accomplished multi-instrumentalists who confidently operate from a “nothing to lose” mentality. And their power and presence on stage gives well-seasoned musicians a run for their money.

In today’s post, Nalani & Sarina talk about intentionally staying away from the Radio Disney market, having a manager to represent them, and their sense of obligation toward their  fans…and they have a lot of fans.

1. For readers who have never heard of you or listened to your music, can you give us a quick rundown of who Nalani & Sarina are?

We are twin singer-songwriters and performers, born and raised in New Jersey. We were influenced by a lot of musical styles (our mother listened to folk and our father listened to blues) and we’ve picked up a love for soul and funk, so our music is a fusion of all those genres. Our early lives consisted of lessons in classical piano and opera, but we eventually decided to step out of the technical world and into our own musical expression. We graduated high school early to pursue a full-time music career. Since then we have toured the northeast, released three albums, and met some pretty incredible people.

2. Over the years weve spotlighted working artists who use music-making as their primary or sole source of income. Can you tell us how you decided to go this route? Was it an easy decision? Have you ever second-guessed your decision? 

The decision to become working musicians was an early decision for us. We can recall seeing a school “Battle of the Bands” and looking at one another knowing we wanted to be up on that stage. We began writing songs at 15 and instantly became hooked.  A year later we were playing gigs in NYC and entered the world of recording.  After we graduated high school early, we focused all our efforts on writing, recording, and performing (our parents were surprisingly supportive). When you can’t imagine doing anything else in life, there IS no other decision. Second-guessing yourself is human nature in anything you do; but when kids our age were thinking of college, we had no doubt in our minds music was the one thing we wanted to pursue. It also doesn’t hurt to have your sister by your side through the journey. We truly are lucky.

3. For our series this week, we’ve been spotlighting different artists who have each found their own respective niches (all very different paths). But you guys are somewhat of an anomaly. Your age, energy, and contagious stage presence help you fit in easily with the young crowd, but your music is heavily influenced by artists like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. Did you have to make a call at any point on who you were going to be as artists? Was there ever a time when you thought you could totally dominate the Radio Disney world and did you intentionally stay out of that arena?

 

Yes, we did intentionally stay out of that scene, especially since twins can easily be the target for that market. When we were younger and more naive in the business, we were automatically more susceptible in being swayed in that direction.  Ultimately we found that the musicianship was far more rewarding than any teen show. We want our story told through our music, so that made the decision very easy for us. We are said to be old souls and we take pride in that.

We make a point to talk with people after shows…We goof around with them, listen to their stories, and get to know them as people…it’s the least we can do for those who continually show their support and dedication to our music.

4.One of the things that definitely makes you stand out among most artists (besides the twin thing) is your social media presence and how connected you are to your fans. You guys completely rock the interwebs – especially Instagram. Alot of artists dont understand the significance of engaging fans both on and off stage. Do you have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to making and cultivating relationships with your fans. 

 
Interacting with fans is one of our favorite parts about doing music.  We make a point to talk with people after shows and basically treat them like friends.  We goof around with them, listen to their stories, and get to know them as people.  We think it’s so important to maintain a one-on-one connection because it’s the least we can do for those who continually show their support and dedication to our music.  Finding things that are simple and genuine like giving a compliment or dedicating a song can mean the world to someone.  And people remember that.  Even beyond interacting in person, we love maintaining relationships online. Knowing that different types of people can connect with us from all parts of the world is a big reason why we got into music: giving people what music has given to us.

If you have a manager that you can trust and pushes you to your highest potential, it doesn’t matter their credentials. Someone that fights for you and believes in your vision is most important.  If you have that, your team will only grow from there.

5. We get emails all the time from artists asking us how they can get a booking agent or manager or publicist. We’ve also written a number of posts on the topic.  Alot 1978891_895003283895867_4013829717715903423_nof artist want a manager to do the work for them so they dont have to do anything.  How did you guys decide on the manager you`re currently with. And what does the manager-artist relationship mean to you.

Our current manager is someone that we’ve had a history with – he would always warn us of certain things in the music business and end up being right. It was soon after that that we knew he was in it for the right reason: the music. We brought him on board to not only bring in opportunities, but to have a trustworthy person representing us. He is someone we look to for guidance, bouncing around ideas, and maintaining an outside perspective on things. If you have a manager that you can trust and pushes you to your highest potential, it doesn’t matter their credentials. Someone that fights for you and believes in your vision is most important.  If you have that, your team will only grow from there.

6. Last but not least, what is the most significant lesson you have learned living as a singer/songwriter?

 

The biggest lesson has been to trust your gut.  Following your vision is one of the most important things to do as an artist and creator – as long as you do what’s in your heart and soul and believe it with every bone in your body, then you’ll be confident in every decision you make.  The other thing we’ve learned to be true is a quote our father always uses: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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