Aly & AJ on Returning to the Stage After Ten Years

Aly & AJ on Returning to the Stage After Ten Years

The pop duo that made your childhood talk about their comeback New York show with Salvatore Ferragamo.

The pop duo that made your childhood talk about their comeback New York show with Salvatore Ferragamo.

Text: Erin McDowell

If you were an early 2000s teen, you undeniably know the names Aly & AJ. And soon, everyone else will, too. It's true -- the duo that brought you iconic tracks like "Rush" and "Potential Breakup Song", which reached No. 17 on Billboard's Top 100 in 2007, is back with a brand new sound. Though their new EP Ten Years is much less Disney and more 80s synth-pop, these talented songwriters have stayed true to their roots, and taken the ten years since they've released music under their original moniker to grow as writers and artists.

It all begins in New York City, where Aly & AJ will perform their new record at Salvatore Ferragamo's launch for their newest fragrance, AMO Ferragamo, decked out in designer couture and without their usual band in tow. "For this performance, we wanted to focus on playing the EP and introducing people to the new sound, because it really is so different from the past stuff that we did as young girls," Aly explained. She told us that they're "sticking with the new music for right now," but still expect to hear requests for fans' older favorites. "They’ll have to come out to a show when we come back to New York again to hear that."

When discussing the length of time since they last released music under their original name, Aly & AJ are open and honest about why it's taken this long. "For us, it’s so straight-up and so honest about how long it’s taken to the date. It’s literally been ten years, so why not play on that?" AJ remarked. "True fans know it’s been this long and we know it’s been this long. We’re just gonna call it Ten Years and own up to the fact that we’re finding out who we are as adult artists." 

Though it's been ten years since we last saw the names "Aly & AJ" on the Billboard charts, this duo has a lot to be proud of. Both have starred in their own separate TV shows -- Aly on CW's iZombie and AJ on ABC's The Goldbergs, which are both up for new seasons if picked up by their networks. When asked whether the crowds at their shows tend to be old fans or simply fans of the music scene in LA, Aly admitted that "it's definitely a mix." She went on, saying, "We get a lot of fans that are from watching AJ on The Goldbergs or fans from watching me on iZombie. We have a lot of fans that are close to our age, which is really cool...I think that’s always a great compliment, not only to have fans that are younger than you or older but your actual age. They’re going through the same stuff you’re experiencing."

Aly & AJ have always been artists first, and this has carried them through to their newest EP. Ten Years truly embodies the 80s synth sound that the songstresses were going for, with a hint of influence from one of Aly's favorite musicians, Peter Gabriel. Speaking about her dream collaboration, Aly explained that they were both attracted to the "timeless" aspect of his music, and how his tones, synths, and melodies influenced their own record when it came to conceiving the new sound. "AJ and I try to, in our own way, tap into that without feeling like we’re copying anything. I think anybody who listens to is still going to think it sounds like Aly & AJ music, which is good. Artists should be able to be easily distinguishable from other artists. I hope AJ and I can be one of those artists where if we’re on the radio, somebody knows that it’s an Aly & AJ song."

For now, their focus is entirely on their New York show for Salvatore Ferragamo, which Aly says she is a "superfan" of. "We’re just excited to see all of the designs, I’m stoked to be wearing the clothes while we perform. There’s nothing better than wearing a luxury designer while singing -- we really can’t complain there." After their show in New York, AJ is all-systems-go, gearing up for her film premiere for Support the Girls at SXSW in Austin. 

After the release of their EP, the duo also looks forward to releasing a full album for their anxiously waiting fans. "We’re constantly creating and right now just being that our focus isn’t geared toward the TV shows, we have a focus shifted to the music again," AJ explained. When asked about a full-length album, the duo is already wrapping their heads around it amidst their other creative endeavors, "whether that means releasing another EP, or a couple singles in the next few months, eventually leading to a full record." AJ sums it up perfectly: "it’s back to the creative process and narrowing down what’s the best representation of our sound."

Credits: Photos by Elias Tahan

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