Camille and Kennerly Kitt, identical twins from Chicago, have certainly struck a chord with their audience while playing their harps in beautiful renditions of rock songs using only the classic instrument.
The “Harp Twins,” as they call themselves, have nearly 10 million video views on their YouTube covers of iconic rock songs such as Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.”
“We were trained classically and have degrees in harp performance from a conservatory of music, but our true musical passion is arranging and performing rock, metal, and contemporary music for harp duet,” the twins wrote to GoodMorningAmerica.com.
While completing their classical repertoire requirements, the women also wanted to branch out to play what they truly loved.
“We didn’t want to be confined to playing the same music that harpists have played for centuries,” they said. “We couldn’t find the music that we wanted to play arranged for one harp, let alone two. So, we started arranging our own music.”
Camille and Kennerly began playing harp in middle school, after they had already been playing piano for years. At first, their parents didn’t take their passion for learning harp seriously, thinking it might have been an overly expensive whim they could not afford at the time.
But the twins didn’t let that stop them.
“We were so determined to play harp that we took on multiple jobs to earn the money ourselves,” the women explained. “Our mom saw that we were serious and helped us find pre-owned lever harps to play.”
Following their dreams has proven quite successful for the harpist duo, as they’ve performed for some of the nation’s top leaders, from President Obama, to former first lady Laura Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“We have encountered so many people telling us that we wouldn’t be successful doing what we do,” they explained. “We had a college professor who told us it was unrealistic and not viable for us to think we could have a career as a harp duo. But we have always been rebels with our music and not easily swayed by what others tell us that we ‘should’ do.”
Many of the rock songs the Harp Twins choose to cover are the top-requested songs from fans, but they’ve found they can cover just about anything as long as it has a melody.
“The first contemporary song we arranged was ‘Hey Ya!’ by OutKast,” the women said. “While at the conservatory we were sneaking our arrangements of songs by Rihanna, OutKast!, Johnny Cash, and Coldplay into our recitals. That was frowned upon in an environment where classical music holds a tight dictatorship.”
But their huge fan base sure seems to love it.
“We’re so glad that we didn’t follow the advice of the people who told us that following our dream would end in failure,” said Camille and Kennerly.