It seems like the ladies of von Grey have done it all. They’ve already appeared on several national television shows, their music has made the top 10 charts and they’ve opened for huge acts, including: Lindsey Stirling, Indigo Girls, and Sarah McLachlan. Did we mention that they accomplished all that before any of them turned 20? von Grey is made up of four exceptional sisters: Kathryn, Annika, Fiona and Petra. Last week, AMG got the chance to chat with one-half of the sisters, Annika and Fiona. Base on our conversation, to call these women wise beyond their years would be a cliche and an understatement. When we sat down to chat with these young ladies, they were insightful, eloquant and articulate. Read on to find out more about the von Grey sisters’ musical upbringing, dream line-up and upcoming shows.
AMG: So what is it like working with your sisters? Is there ever any sibling rivalry?
Annika: We have the normal sibling squabbles and the fights about stupid stuff but I don’t think that really plays a huge part in the band dynamic just because we all have such a common goal that we can usually put aside the petty little arguments until after practice is done or after the show is done so it hasn’t really been too much of a factor. The weirdest thing is just having such an obvious amount of openness emotionally with each other because we’re sisters and we know each other so well but during the creative process and the songwriting process is when it really starts to manifest, the sibling thing, because we’re so open with each other because we don’t really have anything to hide so I think it kind of helps us write songs that are a little more indicative of our true emotional reality.
AMG: At what age did you start playing music together?
Fiona: We started playing classical music when we were all about 5 and then we started playing in a quartet together and playing weddings and such. And we really enjoyed playing with each other but we don’t always listen to classical music, we also listen to contemporary music, and about 5 years ago we started playing covers of contemporary songs and writing our own music and we started playing shows in Atlanta it just kind of grew from there.
AMG: You all play a variety of instruments- which one did each of you start out on?
Annika: We all started with piano and a string instrument. Kathryn, the eldest, was on cello and piano. Fiona and I both picked up the violin and Petra was playing Viola.
AMG: That was really smart of your parents to have you all start off on piano and a string instrument. I’ve always heard to start your kids off on piano but I’ve never heard of that arrangement. I feel like was a good move for you guys musically.
Annika: Yeah, it definitely helped. The whole classical foundation is amazing anyways but having piano as a basis for that as well as the string instrument was a way of seeing music from 2 different sides which is really helpful.
AMG: So what kind of musical backgrounds do you come from or did you grown up on?
Annika: As far as live music goes, classical music was definitely the first thing was were introduced to. We went to the symphony all the time. We played in small orchestras and did group classes and stuff like that with classical music. So that was the first music was were introduced to as far as the live setting goes. Both of my parents listen to a pretty wide variety of music, especially my dad. He listened to a lot of classic rock music, some more kind of alternative music. Having the combination of different sounds didn’t introduce us to everything obviously but it did let us realize how versatile music can be and that if you excel in a genre, people will connect to it regardless of what genre it is. You can listen to Stevie Wonder and The Talking Heads and realize that both are equally brilliant and you can appreciate them in different ways.
AMG: If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
Annika: Thoughtful – not just lyrically, just because we spend a lot of time thinking arrangements and stuff.
AMG: You have opened for Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, Lindsey Stirling and plenty of other huge names in the industry. If tomorrow we offered you a chance to take the stage with any 4 bands in the world who would you perform with?
Annika: Both of us would definitely choose Prince as one of them.
Fiona: Earth, Wind & Fire
Annika: And, this is not similar to Prince, but it’s another powerful guitar style music- I would pick Lenny Kravtiz and Jack White.
AMG: You guys built a fan base all over — what keeps you here in Atlanta? What do you love most about Atlanta?
Fiona: I think one of the things that we really enjoy is the fact that Atlanta is a music scene- there are so many genres that are thriving here. There’s an awesome hip-hop/R&B community but there’s also places like Eddie’s Attic and that’s a sweet place for songwriters and acoustic music so I feel like that’s the really big thing. And, also, the food here, you can find any kind of food here – we’re really big foodies.
AMG: Any shout out or announcements?
Annika: We’re playing at Eddie’s Attic really soon and some other shows in Atlanta. We’re going to be playing a lot of new music, because we’ve played Atlanta quite a few times so we have repeat listeners so we’ll be mixing it up a little with the song choice.
Check out von Grey for yourself at Eddie’s Attic on Thursday, July 24th.