Take 90s girl group R&B, put it in a blender with some Wilson Phillips (in a good way) and splash a bit of Weeknd and 60s California pop on top as a garnish and you’ll start to get a feel for what sound the sister act Haim are going for.
Lead singer Danielle, bassist Este and keyboard/guitar player Alana Haim grew up listening to their parents’ flower child rock, but the sounds that really formed their musical backbone had more of a new jack swing to them.
“The first record I ever bought with my money … I saved like five week of my allowance and I bought Destiny’s Child The Writing’s on the Wall,” said Alana, 21. “We grew up listening to ladies singing R&B.” The girls then rattled off a list of their formative influences, which included everyone from DC to Aaliyah, TLC, Mariah Carey, SWV and R. Kelly.
“We grew up in such a great time guys!” she enthused as sister Este described how the sisters were basically raised on MTV videos and “TRL.”
It’s been a long, strange trip for the family band, who spent most of their early lives playing covers with their parents in the group Rockinhaim. All along, they kept busy branching out, with Danielle touring as a support musician for Strokes singer Julian Casablancas and Cee-Lo Green and the girls taking a brief side trip into tween pop with the late, lamented Valli Girls.
They said that prefab girl group, best known for 2009 song “It’s a Hair Thing,” which waxed poetic about the magic of shopping and makeup as part of the “Trollz” movie soundtrack, was a fun way to play with girls their age. But they’ve come a long, long way since then.
“We’re not an overnight sensation,” said Alana, when asked by MTV News at this year’s SXSW festival what it felt like to suddenly be getting tons of attention after playing music together their whole lives. “I’ve been working since I was five … [We’ve been playing together] forever. It’s great to get recognition finally. We’ve been working really hard for it.”
“We’re just really excited that we get to play for people that actually know our music,” said Danielle, 23. “For seven years we just opened for our friends in L.A. and hoped people would like us.”