Aly & AJ Reveal Why They're Coming Back to Music After 10 Years Away and What It Was Like Growing Up Disney
Still jamming to "Potential Breakup Song?" Then we have good news, because dynamic pop sisters Aly and AJ Michalka are back and better than ever with a new look and a sound to match with their latest single, "Take Me."
The best part? They also have a brand new music video for the catchy, can't-help-but-get-up-and-dance song. The duo spilled the details to InStyle about breaking back into the biz after a 10 year hiatus, and what it was really like growing up as Disney stars.
InStyle: How did you guys decide it was time to get back into music after such a long break?
AJ: It took a long time for me and Aly to find inspiration again. We were kind of depressed musically. We had started so young and had success at such a young age. I think we needed time to figure out who we were as adults. Five years went by, then six, then seven, and all of a sudden Aly and I are looking at each other like we want to do this again. We didn’t mean to wait this long, it just had to be right for both of us.
IS: How would you describe the sound of your new song, “Take Me?”
AJ: "Take Me" is totally fresh and new. Even the writing is different because we weren’t influenced by the same music we were influenced by 10 years ago. There’s so much great music out now in the indie pop world. We’ve been super inspired the '80s influence.
VIDEO: Watch the Music Video for "Take Me"
IS: Your style is definitely not what it used to be back in the ‘00s either. What changes did you make to present this more grown up image?
Aly: I think our style now a little bit more relaxed not so busy. We used to wear so much jewelry, and it was all too much. Even our makeup and hair is done differently now. We used to wear so much makeup, eye lashes, heavy blush, and contour. But now we’re just embracing being natural and realizing that it’s okay to not wear makeup everyday. It’s been so nice and liberating to be free from those things.
Our motto has been less is more. It’s much more streamlined and tailored, but it’s still fun. We never want to take ourselves too seriously. I think it's a really good example for the next generation, you don’t have to try über hard to look a certain way just to make a statement. The opposite is better.
IS: Do you guys still feel connected to your Disney roots? Some former Disney stars have spoken out about feeling held back because of the attachment to such a huge brand, did you have a similar experience?
AJ: Neither Aly nor I never felt that we had to go in a rebellious direction or felt like we had to bust out of the brand to prove a point. I think we just naturally grew up.
Aly: We were there for five years or something like that. I was there for a couple years with the TV show that started this whole thing [Phil of the Future] and then a couple years after that. I think some of the other girls were over there for seven or eight years.
AJ: Five years is a long time but I don’t feel like it steered us negatively or made us feel like “oh my gosh how are we ever going to get out of this or how are we going to prove ourselves in the adult world as actors.” I do think it was positive in the sense that [Disney] builds a foundation for a fan base which Aly and I, if we were releasing music [for the first time] right now we’d be coming out of nowhere, which is really difficult. So much of it is luck and timing, and we happened to fall into that brand at a young age. It definitely built the foundation that has carried us throughout all these years, and now we have a listening fan base.
VIDEO: Hellcats Star Alyson Michalka Dishes on the Naughty Cheerleader Show
IS: What advice would you give to young hopefuls about starting out in the music industry?
Aly: It’s important to surround yourself with great people who support you and aren’t just yes people. It gets really difficult to be told no when you’re at a certain level in your career. But I think it’s so important to have people who can tell you, "no that’s not such a great idea," and to be able to put you in your place.
Our own support system is a very eclectic mix of people. We have a small little unit of people that we feel really comfortable going to. We even went to our girlfriends when deciding what four songs should be on our EP and what our album cover should be. It's nice to have people on the outside supporting you.
AJ: It takes years to build that though. And along the way, you learn from your mistakes and then you get the cream of the crop.
IS: What's one fashion staple you can’t live without?
AJ: Vintage Levi’s jeans! I wear them all the time have like 5 different pairs that I circulate between, so that’s a staple for me.
Aly: I have these really simple black Rag and Bone boots that are the perfect height, they’re just high enough but they’re not too high, and I love them. I actually bought a second pair because I knew I would wear mine down.