They talk about the new tour and other topics for their music and their philanthropy and volunteer companions for special needs children.
As the world’s only identical twin professional harpists, Camille and Kennerly were trained classically, but have a passion and flair for arranging and performing rock, metal, and soundtrack music for Harp Duet. The Harp Twins perform on statuesque acoustic Concert Grand Harps as well as Electric Harps. Mixing their virtuoso harp skills with their stunningly complex arrangements of rock, metal, and soundtrack hits the Harp Twins perform internationally, delivering exciting performances audiences cannot forget!
They graduated “Summa Cum Laude” (with highest honors) from the prestigious Conservatory of music at Wheaton College, both with a Bachelor of Music degree in Harp Performance. While completing the music studies program at the college, the twins were in the Honors Scholar Program, inducted into the National Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa, published authors in the academic journal Essai, held a 4.0 out of 4.0 GPA, and were faculty nominated scholars for both years – representing their college at several collegiate summits.
They will be touring across the U.S. for 2018.
IMM: Hi Camille and Kennerly, thanks for your time to some answer questions. First listening to you play songs from Heavy Metal bands to Classical is relaxing to the body and a fresh sound to them. At what age you started to learn to play the harp and why you chose that instrument?
Camille: Thanks so much! We love putting our own unique spin on rock and metal music! We grew up listening to a lot of rock and classic rock because that is what our mom listened to.
Kennerly: We started playing the harp in middle school after we had already been playing piano for years. We were both really drawn to the beauty of the harp. It’s always seemed like a magical instrument to us. But it took us a while to convince our mom that we were serious about learning the harp. So we babysat, walked dogs, and did collating at a local print shop to earn the money for our first harps, which were pre-owned small harps.
IMM: At what age you started performing? Did many local shows at schools and other venues?
Camille: We basically started performing any place where someone would listen to us! (laughs)
Kennerly: Our first “paying” gig was a friend’s grandparents’ 50th-anniversary party. They paid us with a restaurant gift card. We felt so professional! (laughs)
IMM: You have five albums released and sold via CD Baby. : Harp Attack, Harp Attack 2, Harp Fantasy and Harp Fantasy 2 and a new 2017 release Winter Lights which are various Christmas songs with two original songs. Which ones are those? Have there been offers from other distributors and record labels that offer you to contract with them to sell the albums?
Kennerly: Our two original songs on Winter Lights are “Nordic Solstice” and “Norsk Jul”. It’s so fun for us to pay homage to our Scandinavian heritage with Nordic-themed original music! We also have another original song posted to YouTube: “North”.
Camille: Companies who want to distribute our music have contacted us, but we really enjoy being independent artists.
IMM: To follow up on that, have been offered to be signed by major record labels or independents with major distribution?
Camille: Record labels have contacted us, but we don’t currently have an interest in being “signed”. We love being independent artists. The music industry is really different than it once was.
Kennerly: There are more resources than ever for independent artists. More often than not, record labels aren’t needed and can definitely even been a hindrance. We love having complete control of our music and our art. We can’t imagine giving that up anytime soon!
IMM: Where are the locations where the videos were shot?
Camille: So far, all of our videos have been filmed in the United States.
Kennerly: We have filmed all over the US, usually while we’re traveling for performances. We love finding unique locations that fit our vision for each song. We think it’s so fun that we’re kind of “known” for having cool video locations!
IMM: Have you been offered to record with any bands of the songs you play to perform live with? Who would you like to be on stage?
Kennerly: We’re honored that quite a few of the artists whom we have covered have seen and enjoyed our interpretations of their music! Some of the artists who have shared our covers of their music are Megadeth, Billy Idol, Kansas, Queensryche, Within Temptation, Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead music composer), Blind Guardian, Equilibrium, and Blue Oyster Cult founding member, Albert Bouchard. Billy Idol even said of our cover of his song: “If you live long enough you get to see this version of White Wedding.”
Camille: It would be an honor to perform on stage with any of the artists that we’ve covered! Perhaps someday!
IMM: When performing are there other musicians playing some songs with you? And do you change the songs to be played for each show and how do you decide which songs to keep for the shows and which ones to add or delete?
Kennerly: We most often perform as a duo, but occasionally we perform with other musicians.
Camille: We like to create general concert set-lists for a performance season for different of concerts. For example, we have a Concert Grand harp and Electric harp full concert set-list. We also have a different Electric harp concert set list. We then change-up our set list for the next concert season. Some songs are always staples, though!
IMM: Discuss your philanthropy? You schedule time for other activities in your community such Martial Arts / Tae Kwon Do, volunteer companions for special needs children, teens, and young adults and with deaf people communicating with sign language at schools and other places when on tour?
Camille: Our mom always told us when we were growing up that no matter how little we have, we can always do something to help someone else. That has really stuck with us. We try to live in a way that we are consistently giving back. We sometimes post about volunteering and philanthropy on social media to encourage others to do the same. However, most of what we do for others is just between those people and us.
Kennerly: It is so “trendy” for people to say that they need to “work on themselves” before they can really help anyone else. However, we have found that this sort of inward-focus keeps people unhappy. We believe that people are happiest when they spend time doing something to make someone else smile. We have always been actively involved with charitable organizations and we love “giving back”. Here are a couple of our favorite organizations: Buddy Baseball-For many years we volunteered as “buddies” for a program called “Rising.
Stars Buddy Baseball” that pairs one child/young adult with a child/young adult who has special needs to play baseball for 5 weeks in the summer. We have made some lifelong friendships with the differently- able athletes we were paired with in buddy baseball and still get together with these friends regularly when we are “home”. Compassion International–The program allows sponsors to support a child one-on-one, providing food, clothing, medical care, and the opportunity to go to school. The sponsor and child write to each other through the program, send pictures, and develop a special relationship. When we were 8 years old, we heard about this organization though a favorite musical artist and started to “support” 2 girls our age in Ethiopia (first with the help of our mom, and gradually taking over more of the financial sponsorship as we got a little older) until they graduated from high school. One of the girls is now married with a baby girl of her own and the other is now attending University in her country. We know that we can’t change the world, but we’re so happy to have changed their worlds. Since our first Compassion kids graduated from the program, we have started sponsoring the brother of one of girls (both of their parents died of AIDS during the time we were sponsored her) and we currently sponsor 3more girls and a boy in Ethiopia.
We recently heard from a fan who started supporting a child through compassion with a family member because of our support of this organization. That put a huge smile on our faces and in our hearts .If readers are interested in finding our more, sponsoring, or donating, here is a link to their site: http://www.compassion.com
IMM: What are plans for 2018, a new album of original music and performances?
Camille: We have a lot of surprises coming in 2018! We can’t share most of them yet, but we can promise a lot of new music and new projects some that no one will be expecting! OurHarp Attack 3 album will definitely be released in 2018 and we plan to release more of our original music throughout the year.
Kennerly: We will be touring in the US and Canada for private events and public concerts throughout the year. We will also be touring to England and Wales for the first time in February! It’s so exciting for us to have the opportunity to meet fans and share our music with the world.
IMM: Will a DVD of live performances and behind the scenes be planned to release?
Kennerly: We haven’t released any DVDs of our videos or live performances yet due to the costly and difficult process to get that specific licensing. It’s much less difficult to get licensing for CDs, MP3s, and streaming.Perhaps we’ll create DVDs in the future for our original song music videos if there is interest from our fans.
Camille: We recently started a new YouTube channel “Harp Twins Happenings” for behind the scenes videos and fun extras. Perhaps we’ll also post some live performance videos there someday! www.youtube.com/harptwinshappenings/videos
IMM: Maybe to be on PBS and do live performances and talk about your other interests or America’s Got Talent?
Camille: America’s Got Talent producers contact us every season Literally,every season. However, we’ve seen their contract and it is astonishingly binding. We don’t know why any sane person would sign it! (laughs) We’re not willing to “sell our souls” for 15 seconds of fame so, we turn them down every time
Kennerly: We’ve been contacted by countless reality shows of all types. However, reality shows really aren’t for us right now. We love working hard and we have to stay true to ourselves. However, news shows and specials like those on PBS are fantastic. We’re always happy to be featured on news sources of many types.
IMM: There is so much you can be part of on stage and screen for concerts, for groups that have the productions with fire, smoke, and other lights and special effects, where you can up underneath the stage, coming down from the light rig and flying above the stage and / or crowd. Will be there more appearances for movies and television shows and the “talk shows” for television and radio?
Kennerly: Perhaps someday we’ll have the budget for stage pyrotechnics! (laughs) But for now, we love being able to entertain people with just our instruments. So many musicians out there rely on a huge production for their concerts. It’s all about the lights, props, and sets… So much that the music gets left behind. Those types of things can be fun, but the quality of the music and performance is what is truly important.
Camille: We will definitely have some TV and radio appearances in 2018. Stay tuned!
IMM: Again thanks for your time, a good 2018 tour and new music and other projects for years to come
Camille: Thank you so much for the fun interview!
Kennerly: We have a ton of awesome surprises coming up this year! We post updates about our music and adventures on our social media sites. We would love it if your readers would check out our music on YouTube and come say “hi” on any of our social media sites! We also have a fun email newsletter (it’s free!)
Email Newsletter: https://camilleandkennerly.fanbridge.co