If you watched Beyonce’s groundbreaking visual album, “Lemonade,” you might have noticed two teenage girls on the verge of superstardom.
They are Atlanta-born sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey, just 17 and 16 years old, respectively, and they have already gained more fame than most aspiring musicians.
Discovered on YouTube, where the duo go by the name of Chloe x Halle, their a cappella cover of “Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé went viral and drew the attention of the Queen B herself. Last year, Beyoncé signed the sister duo to her management company, Parkwood Entertainment, for a reported $1 million deal for six albums.
“We’re in awe every day,” Chloe Bailey said. “We pinch ourselves. We’re just two girls who love music and just want to make it fun and we get to make a life out of this. That’s our career. That’s out job. We get to do what we love.”
“It’s just so crazy that we actually get to do this as such a young age,” Halle Bailey added.
The sisters got their start in movies. Chloe was just 3 years old when she starred as a young Lilly, the character played by Beyoncé in the 2003 film, “The Fighting Temptations.”
At ages 12 and 11, the sisters started singing covers of popular songs and posting them online.
“For a while in Atlanta lots of people had told us, like, ‘Oh, well, maybe you should sing this person’s song and post it,’ and we were like, ‘Oh, you know, whatever,’” Halle said. “Then one day, we were at home and we were like, ‘We’re kind of bored. Let’s just do this.”
The first song they covered was “Best Thing I’d Ever Had,” by Beyoncé.
“When we first saw 100 views we were excited over it,” Chloe said. “And then a week later is was 10,000.”
“We were like, ‘What is happening?’” Halle said.
Their YouTube channel has grown to over 686,000 subscribers and their videos have a total of 56 million views, with their covers of Adele and Lorde, but it was their cover of Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” that got them noticed. It now has over 11.7 million views.
Two weeks after they posted their “Pretty Hurts” video, the teens say they got an email from Parkwood Entertainment. Two days after that, they learned Beyoncé wanted to sign them.
“We were screaming,” said Chloe. “Because that’s like, Queen B.”
And their career has taken off. The sisters released their first EP, “Sugar Symphony,” this spring and performed at this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll after an introduction from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I remember we were backstage and we were about to go on, and I was just overwhelmed with happiness,” Chloe said. “I was about to break down and cry before we went on.”
“I was like, ‘Chloe, we are about to go on stage, you cannot cry right now,’” Halle added, laughing.
But even after meeting Michelle Obama, Oprah and other celebs, the Bailey sisters are still just teenage girls who enjoy shopping and get into an occasional sibling squabble.
“It’s always over the smallest things, like, ‘Are you wearing my clothes?’” Chloe said. “But we always say ‘sorry’ within minutes.”
And always with them on the road is their father, Doug Bailey.
“The music business is a pretty intense business,” he said. “What scared me is sometimes the possibility of possibly losing themselves, and when I say that, I mean not being true to their own visions.”
"The only thing I fear is not taking risk and not being completely who I am,” Chloe said. “And I’m so glad my sister and I are here together to just keep each other on the right path and just always do what’s right and what’s positive.”
Before they step out on stage, they share a quiet moment together, their show starts with a single word prayer – “Hallelujah” – and then they burst into an explosion of funk, rock and soul. After the show, they take selfies with fans. Their biggest dream is to one day win a Grammy.
To other young girls with big dreams, Chloe said, “Just believe in yourself.”
“When you believe in yourself the outside does not matter,” she said. “Don't let anybody tell you [that] you cannot do something because you can, and you should prove them wrong because that is the most fun thing when you can turn around and be, like, ‘Ha, I did it, OK.’”