When musically gifted siblings collaborate, their music often reveals a shared bond and an undeniable similarity of sound and vision. Think the HAIM sisters’ infectious rhythms, the Gibb brothers’ falsetto harmonies, and the Gallaghers’ penchant for making swaggering Beatles-influenced guitar pop in Oasis.
Now another young sibling band is making a splash: Echosmith. Comprising the Los Angeles born-and-raised Sierota siblings — 17-year-old Sydney on lead vocals, 21-year-old guitarist/vocalist Jamie, 18-year-old bassist Noah, and 15-year-old drummer Graham — Echosmith released their debut full-length album, Talking Dreams, in 2013 via Warner Bros. and are in the midst of a sold-out headlining tour.
“We had a feeling since the beginning that we worked better as a family,” explains Sydney. “Jamie and Noah had bands with their friends in high school, but we found that the sibling band was the one that worked. We grew up with so many of the same influences — that made it fun for writing. We have a lot of the same values and beliefs. The fact that we know each other so well helps a lot.”
Awash in bright synths and danceable rhythms, their music takes its cues from several 1980s bands and more recent ‘80s-influenced outfits. “Since our dad grew up in the '80s, that helped us to reach in and dive into music from that era,” Sydney says. “We were already listening to the Strokes and found out they were influenced by '80s music. We were really inspired by it. We also love the Killers and Coldplay, and the Smiths and Joy Division and the way they use melodies.”
“Cool Kids,” the lead single off of Talking Dreams, has taken on a life of its own, charting high in the U.S. and Australia, being certified platinum, and even getting the cover-song treatment on The Voice. The song is about the plight of those who wish they could be accepted and be part of the “cool kids” crowd. It seems to have resonated with a huge audience, young and old.
“That song was written originally because we related to it,” Sydney explains. “It’s about the desire to fit in and whether you’re a kid or not, you can relate. It’s about accepting yourself and being who you are. I’m still struggling with that every day, but I’m going to be OK with myself and not compare myself with the other 7 billion people in the world.”
The be-who-you-are anthem also garnered them coveted national television slots, performing the tune on Ellen, Conan, and The Today Show. “It’s been awesome to see that we’ve been getting these opportunities,” says Sydney. “Getting to meet Conan and Ellen was kind of insane. We’ve watched their shows and having that be a reality was really cool.”
The response to the band’s headlining tour has been incredibly enthusiastic, with mass audience singalongs and fans lining up after their shows to get their autographs and take selfies with the band. With such an avid fanbase, Sydney admits that she tries to keep in mind that young girls may look to her as a role model.
“Because I’m only 17 and a girl doing music, I want to do something original,” she says. “I think it’s cool to wear clothes that cover yourself and still be beautiful. I’m modest but it’s not like people hate us for it. People are attracted to people who are unique and stand up for themselves. I want to stay who I am and be a good role model for girls, whether I’m famous or not. That’s how I live my life and I want to look back on it and be proud of it.”
Sydney also tries to find a balance between living in the moment and staying connected with her fans and friends through social media. “[Social media] is a great tool to keep in touch with your fans, but you don’t want to miss out on moments in real life,” she says. “You can’t have relationships with just that. As long as we remember to live in the moment, I think social media’s great. But people do forget that — they’re on their phones all day and missing real life.”