actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

Crosspost[xpost] Rick Astley is doing an AMA in r/music today! Click the link below to come ask him a question! Seriously. Pinky swear.

Oct 7th 2016 by courtiebabe420 • 18 Questions • 98 Points

Hey guys. We're assuming most of you didn't watch us on X Factor, but we'll make a long story short.

We were both going to college and making music in Florida when we saw an ad for a Simon Cowell singing competition. We never thought about making it on the show, or the repercussions, but we thought if we sent in a video that some producer would see it and hook us up with someone to work with in LA. (The naive logic of kids who knew NOTHING about the business.) Months later we get a phone call to audition in person, and eventually we find ourselves in LA. Simon Cowell becomes our mentor and we stumble our way through being on live television (FYI: it's not as fun as it sounds) and end up winning the whole thing. Us = "WTF?!"

Prior to being on the show, we had never written music together, so we also stumbled our way through putting an album out. We were signed to Columbia Records and Syco Records, had an army of people telling us what to do, had huge photo shoots, music videos, we played the Today Show, Radio City, went on two tours with Colbie Caillat, Andy Grammer & Rachel Platten.... and then no one talked to us for 3+ months. We found out we were dropped through a text message to someone we had just met who had a friend at one of the labels.

So we got dropped by our labels, agency, lost our publishing deal, and our manager all at once. After having some significant, not mind blowing but significant, success. We spent some time thinking and now we have new management that rule, but we're doing everything else independently now. We just released an EP to get music out while we work on a full length.

You can buy it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/as-seen-on-tv/id1138118582

Or listen for free on Spotify cause we're good with people streaming our music.

Ask us whatever you want! Proof: https://twitter.com/AlexandSierra/status/784091326006427648

EDIT @ 11:55am PST: We're starting rehearsal now, but we'll come back to this and answer more questions during our breaks!

Q:

What is the biggest misconception about X Factor and do you regret doing it?

A:

The biggest misconception is probably that the artists on the show have any control at all. There were people deciding what our make up looked like, what clothes we had to wear, what songs we were singing. There is also HEAVY editing and nudges by the producers during pre-filmed interviews to say certain things. We were pretty lucky that we were on the show at an age where it was difficult to force us to do anything at all haha, and it helped that Simon REALLY loved us at the time.

Ya know, parts of us regret doing it. There are those who will NEVER see us as real artists who write our own music. Some people will always see us as a cheesy couple who went on a reality singing competition. But it was an amazing learning experience, we made a lot of friends and connections, got exposure we would've never received, and when we're 80 we can brag about that time we won a TV show. :)


Q:

I only discovered you recently and then watched all your X-Factor performances (There's a YouTube playlist of all your performances). Love the way your voices blend together. My question is kind of silly. Why do you only promote your iTunes album? I bought my copy from Google Play. Why aren't you promoting everywhere your album is sold?

A:

That's actually a good question, and we don't really have a great answer for it... I guess there are a lot of moving parts that go on when you're releasing an album, so we seem to focus on the thing that creates the most buzz. iTunes is definitely where the majority of our sales come from, so we tend to promote that the most.... but now that we think about it, it sort of feels like a self fulfilling prophecy.


Q:

Who was the rudest celebrity you have interacted with?

A:

DON'T MAKE US ANSWER THIS hahaha.

We have been very lucky that most of the celebrities we've been around have been very nice and kind and really just like any person you'd meet on the street. A few are our friends now and it's weird to think of them as "famous".

There are some people we've met that weren't great experiences, but we don't wanna call them out. Who knows what kind of day they had, etc.


Q:

For the both of you, what is your go to shower song?

A:

A- Use Me -Bill Withers... I like to rock a stank face through the whole thing too.

S- I have a speaker that connects to my phone in the shower hahaha.... so I have a lot of shower songs. Lately it's I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston.


Q:

What are you most excited for for tour???

A:

Literally every part of tour is the most fun part of tour. The bus is like being in this weird teleporting New York apartment with some of your best friends.... You go to sleep after a show in one place and then wake up the next morning in a completely new place. And the best part of it all is that you literally get to have a party every single night with a new group of strangers that are all excited to be listening to music.


Q:

Hey Guys!

I loved your rendition of Trouble, which you sang on one of the nights (cant remember which one exactly). I was rooting for you all the way! Did you realize how tough and messed up the music industry would be once you got your foot in the door? Does it feel better now that you're independent?

Thanks!

A:

Ah thank you so much! That was during big band week! It was definitely some of the most fun we had on the show.

We had NO IDEA how tough the industry would be. Obviously we grew up hearing how rough the entertainment industry is and how messed up Hollywood can be. As far as friends, we've been very lucky and we actually really enjoy living in Los Angeles. And the people working in the industry aren't ALL bad, but many of them don't want to develop or put too much effort into an artist. They want money. So they want churn out whatever will go #1, whether or not they think it's quality music.

It feels great being independent, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't miss the pros that come with having the backing of a label.


Q:

What was the most stressful part about being on live tv? Did the show make you unhappy by making you guys do something you didn't want to? And do you keep in contact with anyone from X Factor anymore?

A:

SO MUCH about being on live TV is stressful. The show would start filming at 5pm but we'd be at the studio by 6am to start hair and make-up and dress rehearsal. The entire time we'd have no less than 5 people working on us at once; clothes being tugged on, hair curled, face being painted, people interviewing us, etc.

Also, the idea that millions of people are watching you is insane. And pressure is quadrupled when you realize that if you do something really horrible, it will be on the internet forever with people making fun of you haha. I for one, am much better through writing than I am speaking (this is Sierra) so being on the show was stressful because I sounded like an unintelligent human when in fact, I'm quite the opposite haha.

We were pretty lucky on the show and we generally didn't do anything we regret. But they did portray us as a very innocent, sweet, couple. I remember being asked if I had ever had a sip of alcohol by someone who met me after. -____-

We keep in contact with a few of the other contestants like Josh Levi and the boys in Restless Road. Also quite a few of the producers/writers that we got close to.


Q:

How much time did Simon really spend with you guys when getting ready for each weeks performance?

A:

As far as behind the scenes preparation, we would spend a few hours with a music producer to get the rendition/length/portion of the song we were covering down. Most of the practicing came down to how much time each individual contestant wanted to set aside. We would spend a day with a choreographer that would block where we would stand/what we would do/where we would walk. (With us, this was always kept really simple) and the day of the show would have a warm up with a vocal coach.

Simon would come in the day before the show and would watch our dress rehearsal and give his comments. So we would usually see him definitely once, sometimes twice before each performance. If we saw him more than that, it was to film us interacting/talking. We saw him more and more often as the weeks went on.

Most of our time was spent with producers/coaches that never made it on the screen.


Q:

You guys are one of like maybe 3 people that I actively followed on a singing competition. Something about how nervous and sweet you both were at your first auditions was just so charming.

My question is: Have you guys ever thought about what you would do if you guys ever broke up? Would you continue being Alex and Sierra or would you try solo projects or something else? A big part of what makes you guys so great is the connection between you two.

Thanks for the great songs and covers!

A:

That means so much to us! Especially because we look back on our audition and get super embarrassed hahaha. Glad you thought it was charming.

Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, we've been best friends since we were 17/18. Now we're both 25. And we've gotten our system down, but we know that the industry has broken up a lot of great bands. We could always try continuing Alex & Sierra, like other bands who have had break ups within them (ala Fleetwood Mac/No Doubt) or do the whole solo project thing but we haven't put TOO much thought to it. We currently write and release songs together, and have a lot of fun, but we also have solo songs JUST because it's fun to write and do something that sounds different. We've always thought about releasing those for free, but also wouldn't want to start any break-up rumors, so who knows.

Thank you so much for listening :)


Q:

I really love you as musical duo, and have since your audition. You are so considerate to each other vocally, and that really is like a unicorn and almost impossible to find. What are some other vocal duos you think work together at a similar level of compatibility? Who's your inspiration?

A:

Thank you so much! We've always been inspired by The Civil Wars as far as duos... their harmonies are haunting and beautiful. The same with Simon & Garfunkel. Good harmonies are the key to our hearts.


Q:

Have you ever edited your own Wikipedia page?

A:

HAHA a few years ago, yes! Can't remember, but some stuff in the personal information section was soOoOo off, it was laughable. Now we tend not to look ourselves up on google/wikipedia etc... not a good move. Haha.


Q:

I've loved you guys since X Factor, you were my family's favorite. And we are finally going to get to see you on Saturday! Your voices are so beautiful and your songs are amazing. What is your favorite song to cover and which of your original songs is your favorite?

A:

Thank you!! That's so awesome, can't wait to see you too!

We used to cover this song "Barton Hollow" by the Civil Wars a lot. That's a really fun song to sing. From the album we had a lot of fun covering "You're The One That I Want"

And favorite original? We both are really into Animals right now, but it changes a lot :)


Q:

what's the hardest part of being independent?

A:

Labels put A LOT of money into acts they want to push; they've got guys going to radio stations calling in favors and getting them to play their artists. They have a lot of connections and can get their artists amazing opportunities. They support tours and rent the buses and get sponsors, etc.

The hardest part of being independent is probably just getting our name out there and getting people in the business (venue owners, radio stations, etc.) to take a chance on artists that aren't backed by a huge label and the money that comes with that.


Q:

As a musician, I find pop music to be laughable and these shows make me so mad. Everyone is throwing the word "artist" around when indeed not a single person is performing original songs which leads me to my point: I can imagine you may have not written much on the first record. Is this so?

I'm glad to hear you guys went independent though. There's nothing worse to me than art who's sole purpose is profit. Good luck guys!

A:

So as a musician, you don't at least appreciate all types of music as art? There's music we don't enjoy, but can at least appreciate.

There are plenty of amazing and talented pop artists. Not all of them write their own music, but does this mean that you think the songwriters who created them aren't musicians?

And yes, we write our own music. But many of the most popular legendary musicians of our time didn't write their biggest hits. Ex: Aerosmith didn't write "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and I'm sure NO ONE would argue that they aren't artists.

But your assumption is wrong, you can check. We co-wrote the majority of the songs on our first record, and all of the originals on this last release.

Thanks for the well wishes though! Same to you.


Q:

How does it feel to be a complete waste of life?

A:

Not sure.... You'd probably be better equipped to answer.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Funny you say taking the shortcut to fame... Alex here btw. I initially thought the same thing, that we were taking a shortcut, that we were jeopardizing our art just to get some fans. I actually was doing the same thing as you just before the show started. And was on my 7th or 8th year of playing bar gigs and restaurant gigs to no one who cared to listen, minus my family and friends. I would wake up some days and think "Man, there's no real future here, you're going to be playing these same covers and originals to your parents and cousins forever." Then there would be days where I'd wake up and I KNEW that something was going to happen eventually; that I would happen to be at the right place at the right time in front of the right people. Then Sierra brought the audition tape to my attention. Immediately I wasn't into the idea; here I am years into creating a following, however small it was, and I'm just going to hand everything over to the man... give Simon everything i've been working for. A buddy told me that the thing about luck is it's just where preparation meets opportunity or something like that. That's what X factor was... the opportunity. I had worked my ASS off for years to learn how to perform, learn how to write, learn how to mess up and keep going, learn how to be heckled, learn how to play guitar and X factor was just the second half of the luck.

Sierra is in the same boat. She spent her entire life dancing. Learning to be on stage, learning how to handle something going wrong, learning how music makes you feel, how it makes you move. Preparing for the opportunity to show itself. We've both worked really hard to be able to be in this position.

And to actually answer your questions, we don't actually feel like we deserve anything... We're working our way up the ladder just like everyone, we just happened to find a way to skip a few rungs. That doesn't mean we aren't still living or dying by our creations. It just means we're able to create without the looming fear of being completely broke. We're lucky and we know that, but don't let these shows trick you into thinking that it doesn't take work to be on one, let alone win. It took work and it still takes work... A lot of work.


Q:

I for one am VERY glad you auditioned for Xfactor, other wise I am not sure when I would have discovered you both. I love your voices together pure magic.

A:

Also, good luck with your music! :)


Q:

Proof?

A:

Did.... did you just create a reddit account to pretend to be me?!? Hahaha. I've been on reddit for years and believe me, my username is NOT my name. -S