Coquitlam sisters Sharmaine and Luvena Kwong are moving up the musical rankings. The pop-rock duo have used the advantages of social media to share their talents, garnering almost one million Youtube page views and gaining a large fan base in a short amount of time. As a result of their incredible talent and work ethic, the Youtube stars earned a spot on EMI’s Music Canada top 30 finalists in the EMI Mobile Artists (MOA) contest, which earned them a spot on an EMI compilation CD to be sold on www.hmv.ca, and the rare opportunity to meet with EMI executives. Youthink had the pleasure of meeting up with Sharmaine and Luvena at the Youthink office to hear the girls’ stories of growing up, writing songs together for the first time, and playing ping pong with EMI’s executives!
YT: What first got you interested in the performing arts?
SK: I think our parents because they’ve always loved listening to music. They signed us up for piano lessons.
LK: We would fight over our uncle’s keyboard when we were little.
SK: And then we got into guitar in middle school because we had to learn it. I guess a lot of it came from our parents with them encouraging us in music.
YT: Did you ever consider becoming solo artists or did you always know that you would be performing together?
SK: It just kind of came together because we actually went to this music camp one summer together and this counsellor there encouraged us to play together. So when we came home we were like, “Yeah, we could do this. We could sing harmonies and do this together. We do everything together anyways, so let’s try this music thing together.”
YT: Can you tell us a bit about the MOArtist contest?
LK: What happened was that thousands of people created profiles on the contest website and that’s your entry. We made it into the top 30 finalists. We’ve been constantly in the top four out of the 30, so that’s pretty cool.
YT: Did anything unexpected happen when you met with the EMI executives?
LK: We went and played ping pong with them! That wasn’t very expected. It was really fun. I think that we spent eight hours with them. It was a long day. They actually stayed late to talk to us, which was really nice of them.
YT: What lesson did you take away from this contest?
SK: They really emphasized that a good live performance is so important. Some other artists might have already given up in this contest but we just kept going at it until everybody we knew knew about it. It was a long, long process. Just being consistent if you really want it and working on that performance.
YT: How would you describe your style of music?
LK: I think we’re mostly pop right now with a dash of rock. Right now we’re liking Lana Del Rey and Foster the People. I think whatever we’re listening to, we just absorb it and it kind of goes into our music a little bit, so it depends on what we’re listening to.
YT: A couple of years back you were winners of the CMT Ultimate Fan contest and had the chance to meet Taylor Swift. What was that like?
SK: It was amazing! Sometimes I still can’t believe it happened. She’s so normal and cute. We just sat on the couch and chatted.
LK: Taylor Lautner was there. We heard rumours that they were dating and we didn’t think he was going to be there until all of a sudden he came right through the door. My heart stopped. I didn’t talk to him though, I couldn’t get up off my chair. Sharmaine was like, “Go!” but I couldn’t.
YT: Do you find that your songwriting inspirations and process are similar?
SK: I think we’re kind of different. I think she has a bit more experience with the relationships so she writes a lot of songs about her breakups.
LK: Our writing process is a bit different too.
SK: Books and movies really inspire me. There isn’t just one way to write a song, but I tend to write my lyrics and melodies together. Whereas she’s really good at writing all the lyrics first.
YT: How has social media helped you in your careers so far?
LK: Instead of just listing out how many gigs you’ve done locally, you can add on, “I have this many views, this many Twitter followers, Youtube subscribers,” and it’s convenient to give links so people can see what you sound like, what you look like, read a bit of your bio and see what kind of fans you have.
SK: We get so excited whenever someone downloads our song [on iTunes]. It gets exciting to see where all our fans are from.
YT: Where would you like to perform one day?
LK: On a dream level? Madison Square Garden.
SK: I would like to perform at Rogers Arena because it’s home here in Vancouver.
YT: How goals do you have for your music in the future?
LK: It would be nice to have [a band] because we’ve never performed with a full band before. It’s just acoustic. It would be fun to have a beat that everybody can dance to.
YT: How would you describe your sister in 3 words?
SK: Funny, whimsical and dramatic.
LK: Artistic, introverted and serious.
Keep up with Sharmaine & Luvena at http://www.youtube.com/user/sharmaineandluvenaLogin or register to post comments. All comments have to go through a queue for approval to keep the nasty stuff out, but we'll post yours as soon as we can.