TUNED UP Special: Camille and Kennerly Kitt, aka “The Harp Twins” exclusive interviewby Ryan G on Sep 10, 2012 • 9:52 am 3 Comments
I AM TUNED UP is all about musicians stretching norms in the industry, and we believe Camille and Kennerly Kitt are striving to do just that as rising YouTube stars and beyond. Read an exclusive interview below which will give you some insight into the heart and mind of this unique duo:
If you had to sum up your goals as “the harp twins” into one mission
statement – what would it be?
We want to stretch people’s perceptions about the harp, what the harp can do, and how it can be played.
How has your Wheaton heritage affected your career thus far?
Our experience at Wheaton was short. We were only there two years, so we had a different experience than most Wheaton students. Our most positive experience was with our harp professor there. She was our harp teacher in high school and junior college as well, and she always encouraged us in our passions. The Conservatory itself is very rigid in their mandate for almost exclusively classical music. However, we were always fighting against that emphasis. We were adding our own arrangements of Rihanna, Coldplay, Johnny Cash, OutKast, etc., into our recitals. We appreciate that we had classical training because it laid a solid skill and musical foundation for us, but we were definitely always swimming upstream at the Conservatory. We were even strongly chastised by a Conservatory professor for having a joint harp resume. She told us that we should not plan to solely work together and that we wouldn’t have a good career as just a duo. Luckily, we’re not so easily swayed from our aspirations and convictions. We were already performing professionally while in college and we knew that performing as a duo was what we wanted to do. We felt a little like rebels at the Conservatory, when we were really just finding our own musical “niche”.
Quite the range of skills on your resume – how’d you fit all that in?
We have always been extremely self-driven and motivated. As children, we were always involved in sports (swimming, soccer, and later riflery and Tae Kwon Do), music (piano and later harp), extra-curricular academics (we were on a math team that competed against the best mathletes statewide and we would actually meet with a group of friends and do math problems for fun). That self-driven attitude has always been part of who we are, and influences everything that we do. We have never wanted to be status quo in anything. If we aren’t doing our very best at everything that we do, then we aren’t satisfied.
What composer and/or musician most consistently influences your harp
We find inspiration and influence everywhere. We’re most influenced by anyone who steps “out of the box”. Music is always most influenced by those who are not satisfied with the status quo. There are so many people who are trying to follow exactly in another artist’s footsteps; however, the most influential musicians are those who are doing something new. We strive to do stretch the boundaries for our instruments.
Describe your most memorable gig thus far.
That is difficult! We performed for an event where President Obama was speaking and the security at that event made it quite interesting. Secret Service bomb dogs sniffed our harps and they were “wanded”. We have played for many political events including a tea for former First Lady Laura Bush and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s retirement dinner, but the event for President Obama had more security check-points than any other event! We also played at a private event honoring haute-couture fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, and his exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. That was quite an interesting and spectacular event on many artistic and creative levels.
What is the most played song on your iTunes right now?
Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” – we never seem to tire of this classic!
From your perspective, what’s one trend in the music industry we should all
be paying attention to?
The Harp Twins! *wink, x2* But seriously, the blending and juxtaposing of styles, genres, instruments, etc., is definitely a big trend. In some ways, that makes music a little unpredictable. Artists are always looking for something new, exciting, and different.
You two have to have some memorable “encounters on the street” stories. Any
stand out moments you’d like to share here, whether it be with a random
fan, a comment from a stranger, or whatnot?
We have had fans come up to us when we are at a location filming harp videos and say that they recognize us from YouTube, etc., which is always fun and surprising! One time we were filming in downtown Chicago and a busload of tourists stopped and got off the bus to take pictures of us. They kept walking into our shot and posing behind our harps. We think they were under the impression that we were there for their entertainment. As far as random stranger comments, we are asked on a daily basis if we’re twins. We find the answer rather obvious, but one time instead of answering “yes”, per usual, we told someone “no, we actually just met.” They somehow believed us, even though we were wearing the same thing, (we believe the response was “wow, dude, that’s crazy!”), so we won’t use that flip response again.
Who answers the social media comments most often? I know you always say
“thank you, x2″ but who’s most technologically savvy?
Our social media interactions are a joint effort. We both read and respond to everything. We absolutely love talking with our fans and supporters! They mean the world to us. So, the “x2” really is true!
What has been your favorite live music experience you have not performed in?
As children we would go once a year to the Lyric Opera in Chicago for their special children/school events. We would sit in the gorgeous theater box-seats and watch an entire opera by some of the top opera singers in the world. We think that gave us a special appreciation for art at its finest.
Thanks for your time! Any final words?
Thank you, x2! We would love to hear from your readers on any of our sites:
We also have some music available on iTunes, and more coming soon. Readers
can also check out our website: http://www.HarpTwins.com