Basking in glow of Chloe x Halle
Chloe x Halle are in a genre of their own, with an individualistically curated style and a self-assurance of their very own trademark. To think that this whole journey started with grainy, sepia-tinged YouTube videos.
Now, they are signed by Beyoncé’s label, Parkwood Entertainment, doing interviews for Cosmopolitan and slaying it at an empty NFL stadium, the BET Awards and MTV Video Music Awards (VMA). No longer sepia-tinged, that is unless they want it to be.
On June 12, they released their album "Ungodly Hour," debuting in the top 20 of the Billboard chart and entering Rolling Stone’s top 50 list for the best albums of 2020. From there, they have been performing nonstop and showing artists everywhere how it’s done in quarantine. As hard as it is to believe, their performance for the TODAY Show and the BET Awards were filmed just in their backyard.
It wasn't so long ago when these stars first emerged. Chloe x Halle have been singing hypnotic harmonies in their parents’ house since they were little. One day, they covered “Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé herself. From there, it didn't take long for Beyoncé to sign them in 2014 and subsequently feature them in her last two stadium tours.
Their first album, "The Kids Are Alright," performed magnificently, picking up two nominations for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best New Artist at the 61st Grammy Awards.
In their breakout roles, they were cast to play twins Jazz and Sky on Freeform’s show "grown-ish," starring Yara Shahidi from ABC’s "Black-ish." With their classy refinement and signature, perfectly synced clap backs, it's no wonder that we will see more of these two multi-talented women on the screen. Halle, the younger sister, was slated last year to play Ariel in "The Little Mermaid," and Chloe just finished filming for Russell Crowe’s "The Georgetown Project."
One-half of Chloe x Halle, Chloe is the older sister at 22 years old. A Cancer sign, she’s the one that has always given off big-sister energy, whether in their personal relationship or even on camera. At 20 years old, Halle is an Aries with fiery energy.
The two were taught at a young age by their dad on how to write songs, so they've always had a hand in creating and writing their own music. Although their genre is technically R&B, the case could be made to classify their music as soulful blues or even church-level, operatic.
It’s clear that they have agency over almost every aspect of their creative process. From clothing to set design, they have never given audiences anything less than 100 percent. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, all the credits to hair and makeup are to the ladies themselves.
But, the most telling sign of their independence was when they decided to release their latest album a week after their original, planned date in response to the protests over George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths.
Ultimately, they decided to release their album under no pressure from a record label or manager. Instead, Halle said, “Music has been such a healer for the Black community since the beginning of time. Maybe it could help some people distract their minds from quarantine and what’s going on in the world today with hope and positivity,” according to Cosmopolitan.
Every song on their album does just that. Their most-promoted, feature song, complete with its own TikTok dance tutorial, “Do It,” is a rhythmic bop that builds itself up to a harmonious, catchy chorus.
On Sept. 4, fans were surprised with a newly recorded version of this song, featuring the talents of Doja Cat, City Girls and Mulatto. The new rendition picks up the tempo with a stronger backbeat. One might assume that this new song is more in the lane of the featured artists’ musical genres, but upon closer listening, this song fails to lose the Chloe x Halle touch in more melodious raps.
“Forgive Me” features the lilting vocals of Halle as she pleads for forgiveness, contrasting with Chloe’s accusation-filled tenor. Incredibly, in all the time Chloe x Halle has promoted this track and “Do It,” they have never once performed the same rendition twice.
For their performance of “Do It” on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", they changed up production, with Chloe bringing in a trackpad and Halle adding acoustic guitar. Every performance involves new hairstyles, costumes and background settings, giving the impression of an ever-involving album.
Another track on their album, “Busy Boy,” starts with a barbershop-quartet-type harmonizing and quickly transitions to a TLC-reminiscent, ‘90s R&B verse. It’s easily one of the most fun and relatable songs.
“Catch Up” is probably the most out-of-genre song for the two girls, featuring Mike WiLL Made-It and Swae Lee, but they still manage to rock this rap, pop song about a tit-for-tat relationship. The back-and-forth verses between Lee and Chloe x Halle certainly give the impression of a push and pull.
Their sixth and arguably best track is “Ungodly Hour,” which they performed live for the first time at the VMAs. In silver-plated and beaded one-pieces, the ethereal combination of their angelic voices and the sashaying of their hips easily outdid most of the performances that night, but also showed just how versatile and creative Chloe x Halle are.
This song flips the usual dynamics of the sisters, with Chloe taking on more falsetto notes that Halle usually covers and Halle singing more mid-range. This allows their harmonies to take on a whole new sound, while still showcasing both of their abilities.
While in the production studio with English duo, Disclosure, Chloe x Halle developed this song from the phrase “ungodly hour” that Chloe had heard in passing. Chloe said, “When we were all in a session together, we were putting our minds together, like, what can we say with that? And we came up with the phrase ‘Love me at the ungodly hour.’ Love me at my worst. Love me when I’m not the best version of myself,” according to the musical notes for Apple Music.
With their amazing vocals and genuine love and respect for one another, it’s hard to believe that they would even have an “ungodly hour,” but as Chloe x Halle would tell you, they are truly women who have the same thoughts and experiences as any other 20-something-year-olds. To treat them as anyone less would be a disservice.
While looking forward to all their future endeavors, make sure to check out their album and latest performances.