In 2013, Chloe and Halle Bailey went viral when they posted a cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” on YouTube, from their childhood home in Atlanta. A week later, the superstar’s Parkwood Entertainment reached out to sign the sisters. Since then, Chloe x Halle have dropped two albums, performed at the Obama White House, and starred on Kenya Barris’s sitcom Grown-ish. The release of their new album, Ungodly Hour, coincides with their branching out even further—Chloe (22) produced many of the album’s songs herself, and Halle (20) stars as Ariel alongside Melissa McCarthy and Javier Bardem in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
The Bailey Sisters caught the performance bug at a camp talent show at ages five and seven. “We sang ‘Summertime,’ ” remembers Halle. “After hearing all our friends cheering for us, we just never stopped singing.”
Advice from Queen B: “The first thing she told us was the ‘no-scroll rule,’ ” says Chloe. “Whether it’s positive or negative comments, just don’t scroll. That one negative thing could affect you. The second was to never dumb ourselves down for the world. Just let them catch up to us and our sound.”
Ungodly Hour was supposed to drop on June 5; amid the George Floyd protests, the sisters decided to push the release. “The week was so much bigger than us,” explains Halle. “It’s traumatizing as a person of color when you see somebody that looks like they could be your family die on the street. We’re Black women; we’ve seen these experiences happen for a long time. Justice is all we’ve ever wanted, and music has been healing since the beginning of our lives.”
During the pandemic, their backyard tennis court has become a stage for virtual performances for the BET Awards, the Today show, Global Citizen, and YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020.” “We don’t even play tennis,” says Chloe. “But it’s transformed into our very own arena.”
Though many of the Little Mermaid characters will be animated, Halle confirms that Ariel will remain live: “It will be me.”