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Chloe x Halle: A very, very big year

The Atlanta-bred teen sisters have the blessing of Beyonce, Michelle Obama and the fuzzy embrace of Build-A-Bear.
Max Papendieck

When Beyonce and Michelle Obama give you their seals of approval, you’d better believe you’re destined for success. Atlanta-born sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey — known as Chloe x Halle — first snagged a taste of the Beyhive after their cover of “Pretty Hurts” caught the eye of Yonce herself. Next thing they knew, they were signed with a $1 million dollar contract with her label, Parkwood Entertainment. Since then, Beyonce’s continued to put her stamp of approval on the teen sisters (Halle is 16, Chloe,18), putting them front and center in her superstar “Lemonade” squad with Serena Williams and Zendaya before bringing them to open the European leg of her Formation tour.

Meanwhile, the sisters frequented the White House at the personal invitation of FLOTUS herself, who they met after opening for her keynote speech at SWSW.

“Telling you now, I can’t believe all of that happened in one year,” Chloe breathlessly giggles when asked to list her favorite moments from 2016.“[With the Formation tour], if we didn’t get to see clips or if we didn’t have footage of it, we would have never believed we did that.”

Currently, the sisters are in New York, where they’ll have another iconic memory to add to the list: singing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on top of the Build-A-Bear float. (“We’re super, duper excited,” adds Chloe.) They’ll be singing “Drop,” the self-written/produced single off their EP, “Sugar Symphony,” another milestone achieved in April. The six-track debut weaves angelic and alternative, shunning traditional pop song structures and echoing both the commanding grace of Beyonce and the refreshing,introspective awareness of Lorde. They stop to chat their huge year, their current tour with Grammy nom Andra Day and the misconception behind “Drop.”

Let’s talk about Andra Day — who is amazing — and sounds like a fun tour to be a part of.
Halle: Oh my goodness. It’s been so amazing. Andra is literally the best person on earth. It’s been so, so different from Formation because it’s more of an intimate crowd. It’s cool because we get to see new faces and meet new people. Our favorite stop has been Chicago — they had so much energy.

Do you feel like you’ve been learning a lot this year, from being on tour with artists like Andra and Beyonce?
Chloe: Absolutely, we’ve been learning so much. The qualities that Beyonce and Andra bring — they just always give it their all. They’re so inspiring to us. We’re always learning new tricks, and getting faster and more experienced with setting up our equipment and stuff.

Speaking of, I know last time we almost chatted you ran into some equipment issues where they were delayed on a flight. Has being on the road all year taught you anything about the stresses of touring?
Halle: We’re definitely learning how to adjust. We’re always on our tours. But it’s still just so much fun. It’s always another experience checked off on the list, and we’re happy to have the adventures.

Can we discuss “Drop” for a bit? I’ve been under the impression, from what I’ve read, that this was one of your earlier songs that you brought out and reworked for the album, is that accurate?

Chloe: We created this in late 2014. Halle and I had this word in our notes that said “drop” again and again, but we didn’t know what to do with it. One day, we were like, “OK, well, what drops?” I made some wavs on my keyboard in our living room and it formed like magic. We love when music comes together like that — not forced. Everyone thinks we’re talking about a lover [in the song], but it’s actually about a song. It’s a love-hate relationship with a song you can’t get out of your head.

What’s a song you can’t get out of your head now?
Halle: Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” for sure.

You’ve had a lot of involvement in the production and beat-making process from the beginning — is this very important to you?
Chloe: Being little girls, we didn’t have producers. We just picked it up ourselves and that helped our songwriting. Even when we were doing the covers [for YouTube], we were making the music behind the scenes. It’s important for us to be involved and have a hand in the craft. We want to be rooted in the writing and vocal production. Plus, we have fun with it, so it’s not like, “Oh, we have to know.” It’s because we want to.

If you go:
Nov. 27 at 8 p.m.
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Starting at $29.50, utphilly.com
Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
Royale
279 Tremont St.
$29.50-$32, royaleboston.com
Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Playstation Theater
1515 Broadway
$39.50-$49.50, axs.com

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