Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sweet Success!

I always feel slightly ambivalent when artists that I like gain widespread success. On the one hand, I am happy that they have earned the recognition that they deserve (and that I have apparently recognized their talent before the mainstream). On the other hand, I feel somewhat of a sense of loss when that person suddenly belongs to a much larger world than that of the struggling independent artist -- venues are suddenly larger and less intimate, tickets must be purchased well in advance, and for some reason they seem less special when millions of people know them rather than just hundreds.

But luckily I can say that my feelings of happiness win out and I always seem to get somewhat of a thrill hearing the song of one of these artists on TV or radio, knowing that I was listening to them way back when. Such is the case with the dynamic Canadian duo -- twin musicians, Tegan and Sara. I first discovered the sisters back in 2003 when I was still in high school, although by then they had already released three CDs. At that time the two were playing largely to indie queer crowds. It was after the release of their fourth album, So Jealous (2004) (named one of the 50 best albums of that year by Rolling Stone), that Tegan and Sara began to be more well-known. I saw them play at a packed Madison venue in July 2005, they appeared on Showtime's The L Word in 2006 and suddenly their songs began popping up on television shows, most notably Grey's Anatomy, which featured at least 8 different Tegan & Sara songs on various episodes. Their fifth album is now due for release at the end of this month and they are playing sold-out shows across Canada and the U.S. this summer and fall.

I can't even begin to say how happy I am to see these two succeed. At 26 years old, the twins have been rockin' it since high school. They are not only extremely talented musicians and songwriters, they are also spirited individuals. To "know" them is to love them. Their shows are fun and interactive, with the two sharing various anecdotes and humor with the audience. The two are also openly gay, but prefer to keep the focus away from their sexuality and on the whole Tegan & Sara "package." As Tegan explains in an interview, they don't want to treat their sexuality as a mandate or cause it to restrict what audience they seem accessible to. But they also feel and accept the responsibility that comes along with being gay women in the media. In an interview with Spinner on "out" musicians, Tegan explains, "Our fan base is getting really young, and it's important to me to make sure that we're spreading a very honest message. I'm glad there's no part of us that has been reluctant to share who we are. There's still so much homophobia, sexism and racism in younger generations, and yet these kids love us anyway. I think we have a very progressive message."

Now, seven years after the release of their first album, Under Feet Like Ours, they will release their album The Con at the end of July, coupled with a DVD. If you haven't heard them yet, check them out! I'm sure that they will only continue to rise.

Here's a little interview of the two from a couple years ago where they talk about their fans and about being on tour

Here they are doing a live performance of the song "Not Tonight" from their third album If It Was You (2002)

Finally, here is a kind of silly music video for the song "Speak Slow" from So Jealous (2004)

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