Sisters and pop duo Aly & AJ discuss going viral on TikTok and making videos with their mom, breaking out of the Disney mold, realizing they’d become “gay icons,” and more in the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The First Time.
Late last year, Aly & AJ enjoyed an unexpected TikTok smash as their 2007 song, “Potential Breakup Song,” suddenly started going viral. Their friends first alerted the pair to the booming trend, as they didn’t even have TikTok at the time, but soon not only were they on the platform but trying to rope their mother into making videos to celebrate her birthday.
AJ joked that the first time they recorded a TikTok with their mom was the only time they recorded a TikTok with their mom — “And we never will again.”
Aly added: “She was very nervous; she made us do a lot of takes. We actually did quite good because we did some rehearsal beforehand and we made the movements really easy and simple for her.”
Elsewhere, Aly & AJ spoke about making the album that produced “Potential Breakup Song,” 2007’s Insomniatic, which they said marked the first time they really stuck up for themselves as artists. At the time, the duo fit squarely in the Disney pop mold but were determined to take their music in a more rock-leaning direction.
“That was one of those moments where we were really determined to prove that we were real songwriters and real musicians, which was a rare thing at the label [Hollywood Records] at that time,” Aly says. “And that we were making music as females — I think that you have this double standard as a woman making music in this business; it’s much different than being a man. It was us standing up for our art against 40-year-old white men. It was a good test at a very young age.”
Aly & AJ also spoke about their involvement with the Trevor Project, their love of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and realizing, when they returned after a hiatus with their Ten Years EP in 2017, how much they still resonated with people in the LGBTQ+ community who’d grown up with their music. “By that time, so many fans that had stuck with us for so long had now just blossomed,” AJ says. “Had either come out or felt comfortable with who they were and their sexuality. So we started seeing that a lot on Twitter, like, ‘Aly & AJ are gay icons!’”
“It just made us smile,” Aly says, adding. “It’s neat to be able to meet our fans now and see how much they’ve been able to accept themselves, and that our music has been able to be a small, tiny, little part of that.”