10 Years Post-Disney, Aly & AJ Are Reinventing Themselves — & Their Style
In 2007, Aly and AJ Michalka — commonly known as Aly and AJ — released Insomniatic, the studio album that brought the world “Potential Break-up Song,” one of 2007’s most popular anthems. That year saw the sisters become Disney darlings, open for Hannah Montana on the Best of Both Worlds world tour, score their own teenage rom-com, Cow Belles, and walk the red carpet in balloon dresses, chunky belts, and printed Pucci.
It’s not 2007, though. It’s 2017, and the names Aly and AJ, at least as one, packaged deal, have been a twinkle in most millennials’ nostalgia-minded eyes. That all changed on Friday, when they dropped their first single in a decade, “Take Me.” Along came the inevitable headlines: “Aly & AJ Drop A Dreamy New Single Like It’s 2007,” and “Aly & AJ’s New Song ‘Take Me’ Is So Worth The 10-Year Wait.”
But don’t call it a comeback.
“I think I’d call it more of a revival of [us] finding music again,” AJ tells Refinery29. “We really focused on our acting careers, and even though music has always been our number one love, we just went through a long period of time where we hit a wall, just in regards to writing and our passion for music. And we found that [passion] again.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles (minus seven early years spent in Seattle), Aly and AJ were first signed at ages 15 and 13, respectively. “It sounds weird to say we were so young when we started, but we really, actually, truly were,” Aly notes. “Now that we have a little more wisdom and have just been in the business longer, we look back at things” — things like touring and flying around the world — “and go, ‘Wow, that really wasn’t normal.’”
They’re now 28 and 26; Aly is married, AJ is a series regular on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. Though not even 30, the duo has become a symbol of early-2000s nostalgia, something they admit is “trending” and certainly helps catapult them back into the mainstream.
“People have been coming up to us a lot after seeing that we have new music coming out and they’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh, you were my childhood,’” AJ says. “And it just makes me laugh, because, you know, we’re young ourselves. To be a part of someone’s past is so interesting and weird. We haven’t been around that long, but it has been long enough for people to grow up with us in a way that made a really big impact.” Continue reading Aly & AJ – Refinery29 Feature
Aly & AJ recently had a photoshoot and interview with Playboy. The gallery has been updated with gorgeous pictures from the photoshoot. Check out Aly’s solo shots at Aly Michalka Fan & read the interview below.
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So, it’s been three years since your last new music, which was under your then-name 78Violet. What’s the journey been like?
AJ: It’s kind of interesting. I don’t really count the three years as the journey from rehabilitating our music. For us, we’ve made a record under a different band name. We were a little bit gun shy about going back to Aly and AJ and I just feel like we got past that. We released one single under that name, the song called “Hothouse,” which still is close to my heart. I love the song, but it just doesn’t represent who we are. I really look at this as a 10 year reunion to our music and just finding the passion again and the love for writing and for performing.
And those three years between 78Violet and becoming Aly and AJ again definitely helped define our music, but I really think it has been this 10 year span just for me singing music under Aly and AJ that has been the most significant and it mattered the most, in regards to building a repertoire of music and just growing as adults and entering this industry again not as a teen or a tween, which last time we were really doing this we were really young. So, whole new perspective, fresh eyes, and hopefully the growth of who we are as people as well as what we do professionally.
This is your first record outside the Hollywood Records-Disney ecosystem. How do you think you’ve grown or changed?
AJ: Gosh, in a lot of ways. I think how can you not after 10 years? Aly’s gotten married. We no longer live together. We’ve made film. We produced it, we starred in it, we raised the money for it. I mean, we’ve done a lot in a short amount of time that I look back on and go “Wow, for our age, we’ve been really tenacious”, you know? If we say we’re set out to do something, we do it and the music was kind of the last hurrah.
We were really kind of gun shy to get back into it. We just lost the love a little bit, you know, we had experienced so much as kids and I kind of feel like we learned a lot about the industry that put a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth, whether it was a couple of people we worked with or whether it was just trying to find the right inspiration or what have you. I just feel like we’re back on track with who we are as musicians and I think we had found that as actors and as performers before we had found it as musicians again. So, this is the time that felt right and here we are. I just think we’ve learned a ton in regards to relationships and just how we view the world and how we look at politics and religion and so many things that we wouldn’t have talked about 10 years ago. Continue reading Aly & AJ Playboy Feature
Aly & AJ’s official site is now online, check it out here! The gallery has been updated with photoshoot pictures from the official site, as well as a few others from the photoshoot. Check out the solo shots of Aly at Aly Michalka Fan.
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