Features /// Lily & Madeleine

UnknownMasochism comes in many shapes and sizes, not the least of which is chatting with two women under the age of twenty on a Saturday morning, whose music has been written up in The New York Times. It’s just after nine AM, and I am sitting on my living room floor, two cups of coffee in and channeling every bit of energy to sound articulate via phone. Lily And Madeleine, however, seem spritely, awake, riding the buzz of the successful Philadelphia show the night before.

Hailing from Indianapolis, the two sisters found their musical synchronicity at a young age. “We’ve been singing our whole lives,” they tell me, “and began taking piano lessons in elementary school.” But it wasn’t until recently that a career as musicians unfolded as their clear destiny; “We just did a bunch of shows and get all these interview offers, and we just started doing more and more so I gradually felt like ‘I guess this is what I’m doing now,'” Lily remarks on the duo’s widespread buzz.

The advantages of sharing blood run beyond the ability to harmonize in mystical arrangements, bordering on a celestial sweetness comprised of Lily’s soft alto and Madeleine’s sweet soprano. The two share the ability to communicate ideas, both lyrically and melodically, that amplify emotional unity. “Because we grew up together, we lived basically the same lives, so we have a lot of the same opinions and ideas and reactions to situations in the writing aspect that works really well,” Lily says. “Our communication is really good- I know exactly how she is feeling and she doesn’t have to say a word to me. So that works when we’re in the studio and something’s not going great, or when something’s going really well.”

The duo signed with Sufjan Steven’s record label Asthmatic Kitty– a natural progression that has allowed them to continue discovering their voices as artists. With the release of Fumes, the duo unveils a magical inner world, one wrought with depth and a matured sense of transcending suffering, past what one might expect from most two women short of age twenty. With adherence to the idea that less is more, the album reveals a quiet sanctitude, a poetic resilience strengthened by the sisters’ ability to reign in notes, vocally and instrumentally.

On their success, the sisters are humble and eager to continuing to make music and share their identities through song. “At first we were just confused- but it’s been really lovely. We’ve met a lot of interesting people and artists through this experience- it’s just made our adolescent time so much fun because we’ve grown up a lot and had lots of awesome experiences.”

You can catch Lily & Madeleine tomorrow night at The Stone Fox.

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