R&B sister act Chloe x Halle are the voice of a new generation.
On Friday, Atlanta natives Chloe and Halle Bailey (ages 19 and 17, respectively) will drop their debut album The Kids Are Alright. Ahead of their first LP’s release, the siblings opened up to PEOPLE about their journey — from early YouTube covers and being discovered by Beyoncé to their sisterly bond and representing young black women everywhere.
Do you come from a musical family?
Halle: Our mom has a great voice, and our dad only sings in the shower, but they always played amazing music, so we would listen to people like Jill Scott, Robin Thicke and Toni Braxton.
You covered Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” in 2013, and she took notice of you guys and signed you to her label. How did that happen — and what was your initial reaction?
Chloe: Two weeks after we posted it, we got this e-mail from Parkwood, her company, and we were freaking out. We were like, “Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!” Our dad spoke to them about two days later. Then we found out Beyoncé wanted to sign us [to her record label]; we couldn’t believe it. That was January 2 , and we were like, “This is a great start to the year!”
Your new album is called The Kids Are Alright. What message do you hope listeners take away from it?
Chloe: As we’re growing into young women, we still think of ourselves as kids, even though we’re really not. There’s this underestimation of the younger generation right now, wondering if the world will be okay for us, and we’re just letting the world know: We got this.
Halle: There’s so much going on in the world today, and a lot of times, we need to be reminded of a message that’s positive, and we are inspired by seeing other artists create from everything that’s going on, using this negativity and turning it into something beautiful with our art. That’s exactly what we hope to have done with this album.
Chloe: With everything going on and seeing how easy we can learn about it and how much it’s on the news, it’s hard not to speak up — because it’s always in our faces. This generation, we’re not afraid to say what’s wrong and what we feel is right. We’re not afraid to speak our minds.
Halle: All we ever want to do is make people happy with our art. Writing music is like us writing a diary to ourselves, and when people say they can relate to your diary and your experiences and what you’re going through, that’s something that really touches our hearts and souls.
You’re sisters and you work together. Let’s talk about that dynamic.
Chloe: We’re like yin and yang — I’m the hypersensitive one, and Halle’s the really chill, cool, calm and collected one who’s not afraid to speak her mind. We balance each other out.
Halle: The great thing about being sisters and working together is we can be honest with each other. When we feel like we’re not into something, we can just be like, “No, that’s trash, let’s throw it away!” And then we laugh about it. With somebody new, you would be tiptoeing around trying to tell them that you didn’t like something. It’s kind of fun, just being honest with your sister and making memories.
For more on Chloe x Halle, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
You star alongside Yara Shahidi in the black-ish spinoff grown-ish. How does it feel to get to represent young black women with such a platform?
Halle: These shows are so important. As young black girls, that is something we always love to see on TV: people who look like us. We’re happy we get to represent that.
Chloe: I love it because it’s a platform for open dialogue and for people to talk about things that aren’t really talked about in mainstream media, just like black-ish has done. I’m just grateful we get to be a part of something like like this. The whole cast is like family.
Chloe x Halle’s debut album The Kids Are Alright drops Friday.