In this episode, Jimmy sits down with internet sensation Cimorelli, the sister-band who have over _ followers (and over a billion views!) on Youtube. In 2009 the sisters uploaded a cover of Miley Cyrus’ hit “Party in the USA,” and the video went viral. From there, the sisters have seen their fanbase expand enormously, and have honed their online presence (and taken control of their careers) over the past nine years. In this delightful conversation, the sisters share their thoughts on what makes them work as a band, what kind of message they’re seeking to share with the world, and what’s next for them as individuals (wedding bells for eldest sister Christina!) and as a group.
Jimmy welcomes the sisters, commenting on how he first connected with them two years ago. The sisters (Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren, and Dani) share some life updates – most notably, the fact that by the time this podcast is released, Christina will be married! – and express their gladness to be sitting down to talk.
Christina shares about the family: six sisters, five brothers, all from the same parents. She says that music has always been part of their lives, and that the group’s move from LA to Nashville was a career-decision that’s required a great deal of transition. “This past year has been a huge shift,” she says. “We’ve taken on full responsibility – we’ve become more structured, creative, and ambitious.” They’ve been doing tons of music and video projects. The biggest shift has been that their mission has come more to the forefront, something that took a bit of time due to the major adjustment necessitated by having huge fan booms.
Jimmy asks how they manage to juggle all of these things – the business side, the family side, etc. Christina says they’re able to separate art and business: when they’re actually creating, writing, and coming up with concepts, they’re not obsessing over what’s commercially friendly. They’re able to deftly switch hats depending on what’s required. “A lot of it is blind faith,” one of the sisters says. “If I just go with my gut, I trust that this is going to translate. THEN I’ll go into business mode and make it work for me. We don’t have a complete plan for our career, so we just hope a lot, and we tune into that gut feeling – which I believe is God speaking. It’s hard to find the balance, because we all have to run our own life.”
Christina describes how they focus on each other’s strengths. As a whole they’re able to “fill in the gaps” very well. Where one might not be strong, another will be. There have been necessary points of being humbled.
“Our message is connection, hope, and embracing being fully alive,” Katherine says in response to Jimmy’s question regarding their core values, “Choosing to connect rather than isolating – with God, with yourself. You hear in pop music a lot of people indulging in isolation, and internet culture hypes this idea up. While people are flawed and imperfect, that doesn’t mean you need to push everyone away … Our fans tend to be kids who go through a lot. Family struggles, suicide, etc: so we have a very strong message of anti-suicide. Popular music is very hopeless: life sucks and then you die. Our message is ‘Life is great – let’s live forever.'” Another sister adds, “People who are uncomfortable with our music won’t feel comfortable at our concerts – we say awkward truths. We hope that by being awkwardly honest and vulnerable, we’ll allow other people to embrace that part of themselves too.”
Jimmy asks: “What should the world be rallying around?” “Our EP I Love You, Or Whatever; or check out our albums. YouTube-wise we have a lot of lighter, funny content that children will enjoy. Song challenges, lyrics challenges, etc. And we have many covers as well,” says Katherine. They’ve also just released a wedding EP, inspired by Christina’s recent nuptials–some of the songs are originals written by her, and some are covers of love songs.
Jimmy comments on the sisters’ bond. “[So many people] are fighting against isolation–beauty is the answer. You’re doing that!” This opens up a conversation on how the sisters have evolved in terms of what kind of content they release. Over time there’s been a deepening in their material: initially it was more superficial and just for fun. They’ve found a balance, they feel, where they’re able to express the honesty truth about life’s difficulties without becoming melodramatic, sentimental, or downright depressing. “You don’t always have to be contemplating the mysteries. You can go out and have fun without harming yourself or others – good and clean. We take ourselves too seriously in ways we shouldn’t – and we don’t take ourselves seriously enough where it counts.”
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