Last week, the sister act released their first album in 14 years, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun

By Jeff Nelson
May 13, 2021 10:00 AM
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Aly & AJ are opening up about their bond as sisters and bandmates.

Last week, the pop duo released their first album in 14 years, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun.

"We just get each other," AJ, 30, says of working with older sister Aly, 32. "There's a finishing-each-other's-sentences that we have in our music as well. This dynamic is really special."

Indeed, their family ties make them perfect partners when it comes to making music.

Aly & AJ
Aly & AJ
| Credit: Amanda Charchian
Aly & AJ
Aly & AJ
| Credit: Amanda Charchian

"We have a really authentic friendship, and it's cool doing something with your sister who you've grown up with, who's your best friend, and you're working together in a professional setting," AJ adds. "We've been doing this for years. We are fully in sync as singers and harmonizers. It makes life easier, being in a band with Aly. I couldn't imagine doing this alone."

The sisters first signed to Disney's Hollywood Records in 2004 and rose to fame as they released a string of Hot 100 hits — including "Potential Breakup Song" — and starred in the teen rom-com Cow Belles. But they avoided the pitfalls of young fame.

"Most child actors don't have a sibling also experiencing the same success at the same time," Aly says. "That gave us a lot of normalcy."

Aly & AJ
Aly & AJ in 2006
| Credit: Chad Buchanan/Getty

And the sisters also took a different approach to navigating their careers when they were young.

"A lot of people probably looked at us and thought we were crazy, but we said no to a lot of things. I'm sure that affected our trajectory as artists, but I think at the end of the day, we were able to experience success, but also not an overwhelming amount where we couldn't be humans," Aly adds. "We just got really lucky. We had each other."

These days, Aly & AJ are as in sync as ever.

"It feels like the first time in a weird way, like making a record for the first time," Aly says of new album a touch of the beat. "In a bizarre way, it feels like a record that you make as an artist without all of the jaded aspects that come with being an act that has been around for 15-plus years. That's kind of the exciting part for us with this album is that we weren't writing this for anyone specifically, we weren't writing this for radio — we wrote this for us, first and foremost, and our fans."

For more from Aly & AJ, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstand everywhere Friday.