Husband and Wife Duo US THE DUO Discuss Their Latest Collection, Their Musical Growth And More!
Posted On 05 Dec 2016
Fresh off the release of their highly anticipated new album Just Love, Us The Duo, the popular husband-and-wife musicians of Michael and Carissa Alvarado, have announced their next musical venture: a concept EP co-created with fans. It was in fact released today!
Part of the year-long AT&T Hello Lab initiative, this album – dubbed Public Record, is sourced from fan stories across social media, and comes to life as a docu-follow YouTube series, Public Record on their YouTube channel.
“This is unlike anything that we have ever done before. Since we started making music together, all of our songs have been the puzzle pieces to our story. But now, it’s time we make music inspired by your stories,” said Michael Alvarado.
Us The Duo invited their fans to submit their real-life stories of love, life, struggles and happiness via http://publicrecordep.com, and personal accounts using the hashtag #PublicRecordEP on Instagram and Twitter.
To put The Public Record series together, Us The Duo traveled to the homes of the fans that inspired the four personalized songs. Those fans hosted intimate shows in which the duo revealed a song from the EP in each episode. Additional episodes will bring fans closer to the pair, revealing their musical process, inviting fans to experience their music and more.
“We’re on the search for all types of stories: falling in love with your best friend, your last moments with your grandfather, battling an illness, standing up for your beliefs, climbing Mount Everest, selling all your things and traveling the world, or even crying all night over someone who broke your heart. We want to hear all of your stories… The epic ones, the normal ones, and every story in between,” said Carissa Alvarado. “Our goal is to bring your story to life, re-tell it with chords and lyrics, and spread that message around the world. With your help, we can make history and create the first ever.. Public Record EP.”
Us The Duo are from LA and started uploading six-second cover versions of popular songs to Vine in 2013. A year later, they signed with Republic Records and are now widely regarded as the first musicians to have signed to a major record label due to their presence on the site. Prior to “Just Love”, Us the Duo released “Us” in 2012 and “No Matter Where You Are” in 2014.
Learn more about Us The Duo and this new forthcoming collection in the following All Access interview:
Thanks once again for your time. I’m so glad to interview you two again for All Access. So now that we are more than half-way through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it? What were some of the highlights of 2016 for Us The Duo?
It’s great to chat with you again! Yes, indeed 2016 is almost over, and this has been one of our busiest years yet. We’ve toured before, but never quite like this. By the time the year is up, we’ll have spent over 130 days on the road. Despite the long drives and living out of suitcase, we’re having an incredible time meeting #UsTheFamily members all around the world. We leave back on an arena tour in just a few weeks with our friends Pentatonix and we couldn’t be more excited!
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Carissa – My family used to make up 90% of the choir at church, so I grew up singing with them every week. My passion for music grew from there, and I started singing karaoke by myself in my room. My parents began to spy on me and one day, my Dad knocked on my door and said “Carissa, you’re really good!”
Michael – When I was 7 years old, I heard my sister playing the piano and told my mom “I want to do that!”, so she signed me up for lessons. I can remember after that sitting in front of my parent’s record player, pulling out old 45s from the Motown Era and listening to them for hours completely fascinated by the music. Between piano and constantly listening to classic tunes, I knew I had a passion for music.
You just announced that you’ll be filming a new series called Public Record where you will be asking fans to submit their real life stories for the chance to be featured in your brand new EP. Can you talk about how this all came together? Where did the idea come from?
We’ve spent most of our musical career writing songs based on our own life or personal experiences. We wanted to do something different, and write from the eyes of our fans. There are so many amazing stories out there that we will never know, hear, or be able to experience… so we asked our fans to submit them to us. We also liked the idea of challenging ourselves to write about others, and about new topics that we’ve never explored.
We ended up getting over 800 submissions, and all the stories were truly incredible. With the help of our team, we were able to narrow down the group to 5 fans who had stories that resonated with us. The music is now done and recorded, and we’re about to start the best part… meeting the fans and playing them our songs, all on camera! The 10-video series, including 5 official music videos and 5 videos of us interviewing the fans, will drop on our YouTube channel in December!
What are you most excited about doing with this new venture?
The most exciting part about this whole process is carefully creating a piece of art that honors our fans and their stories, and handing it over to them as a gift, and us saying “thank you” for being the incredible person you are. Also, we chose stories that we knew our overall fan base would be inspired and challenged by. The 5 fans we selected were brave enough to share their story and now we get to share that same amazing story to 10 million people. We wanted to give a voice to the stories that never get talked about. Our dream has always been to change the world for the better, and we feel like this is a good place to start.
How do you think your sound and ultimately, how you put a song together changed over the years?
Our sound naturally changes throughout the years as we get older and we’re exposed to new types of music and people. We’re inspired by concerts we go to, or new albums we listen to, or new fan stories we hear. With time comes wisdom, and we feel the Public Record EP is our best piece of work yet musically…not because it’s groundbreaking or changing music forever, but because we stopped thinking about Us The Duo and what’s commercial, and we simply thought about the story. Whatever came out, came out, and we let it happen. Musically, the genre’s vary a lot in this project, but we wrote the music according to the content of the story. We tried new things instrumentally, we put in interludes, dropped chains on the ground and added reverb, we hired a clarinet player…things we would never normally do. The story called for it, and we wanted to give 100% of ourselves to these stories and their creators.
What else can you tell our readers about your newer music that will be on a forthcoming album?
All we can ask is that the listeners who hear this record will remember that each and every song is about a real person, with a real story that needed to be heard. We approached some light-hearted subjects, and some heavy subjects, but spun each one in a way that would inspire hope and change. Our goal is for every listener to leave with that exact feeling…hope.