Alyson Michalka & Amanda Joy Michalka
|Also known as||Aly & A.J.|
|Origin||Torrance, California, USA|
|Genre(s)|| Rock, Teen pop,|
|Instrument(s)||Vocals, guitar, piano, bongos|
|Years active||2005 - present|
|Label(s)|| Hollywood Records|
| Alyson Michalka|
They were born in Torrance, California, but spent part of their childhood in Seattle, Washington. They are both actresses, singer-songwriters, and guitarists.
Aly and AJ have had an interest for music since they were both 6 years old. "I think it started when we were three and five. Just singing in church together and in school plays," Aly said. That later moved onto just AJ as Aly started to act very early, when AJ was nine years old.
The sisters both live in a gated community in Calabasas, California with their parents. Their mother, Carrie Michalka, used to sing in a Christian group called J.C. Band. Alyson also had a starring role in Phil of the Future on the Disney Channel alongside Ricky Ullman.
2005-2006: Rise to fame
Aly & AJ's debut album, Into the Rush, went Platinum as of May 2007. The song "No One" was featured in the Disney film Ice Princess. The song "Do You Believe in Magic", written and originally recorded by The Lovin' Spoonful, added a rock edge, this cover was used in the soundtrack of the made-for-TV Disney Channel original movie, Now You See It..., in which Aly held the starring role of Allyson. They have been involved in various Walt Disney Records projects. The "Aly & AJ Concert" took place on July 24, 2005 at the Henry Fonda theater in Hollywood, California. The aired concert was cut to five songs and interviews. The concert included songs from Into the Rush. Aly & AJ opened for The Cheetah Girls in December 2005 on the girls' "Cheetah-licious Christmas Tour". The album was re-released in August 2006 with three new songs, including the hit, "Chemicals React", and two new versions of "Collapsed" and "Something More". It was released in the UK.
On September 26, 2006, their album, Acoustic Hearts of Winter, was released. On this album, Aly & AJ perform traditional Christmas songs. In late 2007 Aly and AJ had recorded three more Christmas originals.
2007-2008: Breakthrough in music
The electropop first single called "Potential Breakup Song" preceded their second studio album Insomniatic, which was released on July 10, 2007. "Potential Breakup Song" peaked at number 17 at Billboard's Hot 100, becoming their first top 20 single in the United States to date. The single was later also certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales surpassing 1,000,000 copies. The album itself landed on the fifteenth place on the Billboard 200, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week, becoming Aly & AJ's highest debut so far. In October, both the single and album were released in the UK, "Potential Breakup Song" reached a peak position of #22 in the UK Singles Chart, and #16 in Irish Singles Chart. The girls toured for a short while in the UK, opening for McFly twice and performing at several television shows and nightclubs.
Time Magazine named "Potential Breakup Song" one of the 10 Best Songs of 2007, ranking it at #9. Writer Josh Tyrangiel singled out the lyrics in the bridge: "This is our Potential Breakup Song/ Our album needs just one/ Oh baby please", and praised the authenticity of its having been written by the teenage sisters who sing it.
In December 2007, the news was revealed that Aly & AJ would be replacing the Jonas Brothers as the opening act for the extension of the Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Tour from January 11 - January 24. Also, the girls confirmed their second single "Like Whoa", the single reached at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. In early January 2008, Aly & AJ performed a cover of KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Yahoo's Pepsi Smash video site. The cover is also featured on the Japanese re-release of Insomniatic, recorded at Abbey Road Sessions. Also, the girls covered the song "We're an American Band" for Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1, serving as a bonus track.
2009-present: Upcoming projects
Billboard confirmed the girls are working on a third studio album, to be released sometime in 2010, aside from the films they completed filming (Aly in Bandslam with Vanessa Hudgens and AJ in The Lovely Bones and Secretariat.). It will have around 14 songs.
They mentioned, in an interview on Radio Disney on April 23, 2008, they are going for a "rockier" sound, and this time, want to sing separately (as in not harmonize their voices), to let fans know who is singing. On October 7, the yet untitled fourth album had been confirmed to be released in April 2009, however, a month later, on November 9, Aly & AJ Reaction revealed that the album had been delayed until the summer of 2009. Although they have chosen to do separate songs for the album they are still choosing to sing some together as this is how people best know the duo.
The duo also wrote a song with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, but it is unknown if the song will be made public on an album. On January 15, 2009, a song called "Places" was added to the database of Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), written by Aly & AJ, co-writing with Daniel James (Ryan Cabrera, Ashley Tisdale) and Leah Cooney (Rihanna, Ryan Cabrera, Ashley Tisdale). Both writers also co-wrote the duo's "Rush" and "In a Second".
The song might appear on their upcoming album. Aly & AJ are expected to release their new single from their upcoming album in June, and the album in the following summer months. Rumors of Aly & AJ touring this summer were surfacing the internet, but were later denied by the duo on their official website. They stated that they were currently finalizing the record and wanted to focus on that at the moment. Aly stated on an interview that they have been working really hard and mentioned a track on the album and a possible new single entitled "The Next Worse Thing". The girls are rumored to have been working with Chris Lord-Alge and Rob Cavallo who are producers in the rock genre.
On June 26, 2008, an Ohio man named Rex Mettler was arrested for stalking the duo. The Lancaster man "obtained contact information for the acting and singing duo and made threats online, by phone and handwritten notes" as stated by the police. The duo were scheduled to perform June 27, 2008 in Cincinnati, where the man was present, after which the police couldn't confirm that any of the threats involved the Ohio show. The police later stated that "the charge against Mettler stems from incidents that began Dec. 15 " and that "Rex displayed a pattern of activity over that time that reflected multiple attempts, if not numerous attempts, at stalking these females."
Along with making music for the mainstream audience, Aly & AJ, who are both very open about their faith, have become significant in the Christian music rock scene. "Never Far Behind" was only released on Christian Rock radio. It went to #1 on Radio & Records (R&R) Christian CHR. Although Aly and AJ are both very open about their Christian faith, they do not want to be labeled as Christian music artists. In an interview with Blender magazine in June 2006, the girls said that their music comes from a Christian perspective. "We don't ever wanna preach or shove anything down people's throats, but we want our music to be inspiring."
In an interview with Blender magazine, the two expressed their disbelief in the theory of evolution, with the interviewer asking what their thoughts were. When asked if they accepted evolution, AJ responded, "No," and Aly responded, "Are they teaching that in schools now?" When told that it had been taught for the better part of a century, she replied, "I think that's kind of disrespectful, anything that has to do with anybody's beliefs on religion, that should stay out of the classroom. I mean, I think people should be able to pray in school, if people were into that. Everybody should just do their own gig", and AJ added "Evolution is silly. Monkeys? Um, no."
- Aly & AJ were nominated in September 2006 for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist of the Year at the 2006 American Music Awards, but lost the award to Kirk Franklin during the November 21 presentation.
LicensingHuckleberry Toys released Limited Edition Hello Kitty Aly & AJ dolls to selected Target stores. Toys R Us is currently selling a line of the dolls which have been available since November 15, 2007. On November 20, 2007, The Aly & AJ Adventure game was brought out, for use on the Nintendo DS. In the game, the player plays their assistant, helping them record songs, direct music video etc.
As of June 12, 2008, the duo started releasing their own paperback adventure books, called Aly & AJ's Rock 'n' Roll Mysteries, each part describing Aly & AJ on tour, every book describing a mystery in a different city. The drawings in the books were done by Aly. The first two (First Stop, New York and Mayhem in Miami) were released on June 12, the third installment (Singing in Seattle) on September 2, and the last (Nashville Nights) went to stores on October 4, 2008.
Performance Designed Products released Aly & AJ-designed guitars on November 10, 2008. Aly's guitar features a heart-and-crossbones print in pink (PlayStation 2) and AJ's guitar is in the shape of the Aly & AJ heart logo featuring bright pink and purple zebra print (Wii, PS2). The duo launched the guitars on October 11, 2008 during event at Universal Studios CityWalk in California.
Aly and AJ are co-chairpersons for the Children's Advisory Board of the AmberWatch Foundation, and have performed at a benefit concert to raise money for the charity. The song "I Am One of Them", which was featured the in the debut album Into the Rush is dedicated to work with AmberWatch. The duo also walked a fashion show for the Race to Erase MS show in early May 2008, showing their support.
- Main article: Aly & AJ discography