Sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey are enthusiastic proponents of their generation. “I’m so happy to be part of Generation Z!” Chloe, 19, says with palpable excitement. And yet, simply by being themselves – precocious, articulate and very motivated – the experimental Atlanta-born R&B duo, who perform as Chloe x Halle, are seemingly doing everything in their power to play against the millennial and post-millennial stereotype as entitled and self-involved.
“We feel in a really inspired creative space right now,” Halle, 17, tells Rolling Stone. These days, the pair – who dropped a mixtape, The Two of Us, back in March – is working on new material for their debut full-length album. They’ve also been booked by major fashion brands to appear at runway shows and, last month, accepted a BET award on behalf of their music label boss and mentor, Beyoncé, shortly after the birth of her twins . “We realize ‘to whom much is given much is expected,'” Halle adds. “So it is a lot of sacrifice right now to get to where we want to be.”
Chloe x Halle’s goal, they say, is to emerge not only as a successful pop act but also one that takes genre-hopping musical risks. And if last year’s five-song Sugar Symphony EP is any indication, they’re well on their way to doing just that: their swaggering music draws from slinky Nineties R&B as much as jazz, hip-hop and other influences. Their pristine harmonies, however, are their greatest asset, and what first shot them to YouTube fame via covers of pop songs. It’s also what first caught the ear of Beyoncé who, in 2015, after seeing a viral video of the pair covering her 2013 track “Pretty Hurts,” signed them to a $1 million deal with her label, Parkwood Entertainment.
“We pinch ourselves every day,” Chloe admits. “We’re just two young girls who like to create music from scratch in their living room.” Since getting Queen Bey’s seal of approval, the siblings, who began writing songs together as small children, appeared in one of the final vignettes of Beyonce’s Lemonade, and opened shows for the superstar in Europe. “We’re so grateful that we have a resource like her,” Halle says of their label boss. “She’s been through everything.”
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The sisters are eager to use their privileged platform to address social issues as well. Halle says the pair “love social media” but contend that music is the best medium for an exchange of ideas. “If you put your message in your music, a person will turn that on and it goes through your soul,” she offers. “The body takes in music differently.”