Brit & Alex shot to fame during their modeling days as faces of the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Campaign. The music industry is what's next for these beautiful girls as they are they on the final stages of recording their upcoming debut album which features collaborations from the likes of Sean Garrett (Kelis, Chris Brown), Polow Da Don (Kelly Rowland, Fergie) and Tricky Stewart (Blu Cantrell, Mya). I caught up with the lovely ladies to talk about transitioning from modeling to music, working with mega producer Dallas Austin, the difference between them and other girlbands, etc … Happy reading and don't forget to post your thoughts :)
Can you tell us about the transition from modeling to singing? And which career do you enjoy more?
We started modeling at around 13 years old as we kind of fell into it. It was never something we were serious about doing. In fact, as soon as it started to interfere with our school and our song-writing, we just stopped. It's always been about music for us, so it was an easy decision.
How did the success of the John Frieda Sheer Blonde campaign change your life?
The success of John Frieda ads definitely opened a lot of doors for us, not just in modeling world, but in the music business as well. Through the ads we received interest from labels in the U.S. and U.K. (neither of which we pursued at the time). When time came for us to have meetings with songwriters and producers, it was a huge help as well because many of them knew who were. The ads gave us unbelievable exposure and a bit of fan base, especially in the US and UK.
When is your album coming out? And have you thought about which song is going to be the lead single?
We are pushing to have our first single out this summer. We still have one or two more songs to write before the album is complete, but we are thinking that "I Like Boys" is probably going to be the first single.
Whom have you worked with in terms of songwriters/producers? And with whom you've shared the best chemistry?
We've been writing now for about four years with writers in New York, London, Sweden, Miami, and Atlanta. While each experience helped us to hone our craft, it was in Atlanta with the songwriters and producers where we seemed to click the best. The last two years we've spent the majority of our time in Atlanta. We initially came, two years ago, to work with Dallas Austin. He was instrumental in helping us find our musical direction. He was unbelievably inspiring to work with. Dallas then introduced us to producer Tricky Stewart, who we immediately clicked with. We wrote some of our favorite songs with Tricky, and he was able to give us the edge that we were looking for. Other songwriters and producers we had the opportunity to work with include Sean Garrett, Polow Da Don, Dream, Jasper Cameron, Dean, and Penelope Magnet.
How was it like working with Dallas Austin? And were you skeptical since he also worked with other girlgroups like Sugababes and Black Buddafly?
Working with Dallas was different from working with any other producer. Dallas is not just about cranking out songs. With Dallas, it was a whole creative experience. We were immersed in music and creativity. We spent two months with him writing and really getting to know each other. Through this, he came to know the songs we likedm the beats we would respond to, and lyrically what we would talk about. We developed a friendship and we still consult with him on many things we do.
We weren't worried about Dallas working with other girl bands, in fact, when we went to him, he hadn't worked with the Sugababes or Black Buddafly. We went to him because we loved what he did with Pink and TLC. He doesn't have one formula or sound – He is really brilliant at matching the music to the artist, and since we are different from the other artists he worked with, and because we also write, we weren't skeptical at all.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite songs on the album? And what's each one of them is about?
Alex's favorite song is "If You Never Knew". This was written from one of her experiences in London. It's about liking someone but being too shy to tell him. Alex is the quieter of the two of us (she was called Ice Cold by Dallas for the first month they worked together), so she relates to this song the most. Alex also likes the soulfulness of the melodies and the warmth of the harmonies.
Brit's favorite song is "Keep It A Secret". It is Michael Jackson inspired, as he has been one of our influences since we were four years old. This song is about two people who love each other and the people around them feel that they shouldn't be together. It's also about their struggle to stay together despite everyone else trying to sabotage their relationship. Musically it sounds somewhat like "Dirty Diana". Brit likes the emotion in the lyrics and in the music with the wailing guitars.
What do you think sets you apart from other girlbands launching their career in 2007? And do you feel the pressure of competing with them?
We don't know the style or direction that other girl bands have gone in, but our music is uniquely us because we wrote so much of the melodies and lyrics. It's not a sound imposed upon us by a record company. While growing up, we were influenced by Rock, Old Soul, Pop, and Hip Hop, so it was important for us to that these influences are reflected in our music. We believe that we've succeeded in this and that will set us apart. We don't feel pressure. We believe everyone should run their own race. We should inspire each other so more great music can be made and put out.
Does it bother you when people pay attention to your beautiful looks rather than your music?
We definitely want people to be inspired by our music, but they like our style, then that's okay too :) It was more of a problem few years ago when we were younger and starting out … Producers would look at us and think "Sugary Pop" and kind of dismiss anything else. It made it hard to get the kind of tracks we wanted. Now that we're older and have been writing for several years in Atlanta, it's not such a problem. We've finally managed to get a little "Cred" happenin', ha ha!
If you could perform a duet with any living artist, whom would you choose? And why?
We would love to do a duet with Prince. His music and lyrics influenced us tremendously. He is the epitome of cool!
Tell us something that most readers of Monica Mania will be surprised to learn about both of you!
Brit cannot drive, and also failed a driving test. Alex thinks she was Jimi Hendrix in a past life!
Are you dating at the moment? And what turns you on in a man?
Neither of us is dating anyone at the moment. It's difficult because we are so busy recording and traveling.
Brit likes witty, outgoing, thoughtful guys. Alex likes creative, slightly more reserved guys, who are also spontaneous. Neither of us have a one particular type though!
Have you thought about visiting any Arabian country?
Both of us have always wanted to go to Egypt. We'd love to see the pyramids, and go down the Nile. We wouldn't mind shopping in Dubai as well … We have good friends there … Maybe you could show us Bahrain, lol :) …
What message you'd like to give to your fans all over the world?
Be yourself to the fullest. Be a leader not a follower, and always stay true to yourself!
[Visit] Brit & Alex on MySpace