Described by Variety as an “All-Female Band Blowing Up on TikTok”, the K3 Sisters Band is a group of three Dallas-born sisters Kaylen (20), Kelsey (19), and Kristen (16) who have struck it big on the platform, amassing a quarter billion views and 36 million likes on TikTok alone! The musically talented sisters have found a niche performing harmonic melodies inspired by Harry Potter. They also write and perform their own music for a weekly Live show on their YouTube channel every Saturday at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET.
In just a year, the K3 Sisters Band has exploded across TikTok and social media, with Teens and Tweens alike falling in love with the girl’s beautiful songwriting and lyrics, funny original videos, and amazing cosplay costumes. But it’s not just Gen-Z who has taken notice, FORBES, GOOD MORNING AMERICA and VARIETY have all featured the girls, hailing them as the future of music for their fortitude to use TikTok and social media to release their own original content. Having performed LIVE at venues large and small for years, the girls were ready to keep their fans entertained when stay-at-home orders hit due to COVID19. They set up their own home stage and began streaming live weekly shows on their YouTube channel. Heavily influenced by folk-rock legends like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, the girls have added their own ‘girl power’ twist to their music, with elements of folk-pop, Celtic, country, and rock. True hippies at heart, the girls released their most recent LIVE album “Earth Day 2020” in April which celebrates nature and Mother Earth with hits like “Cotton Candy Sky” and “California Redwood.” Most recently, as an ode to their Harry Potter loving fans, they released the single “Queen Bellatrix”.
In the winter of 2019, they began doing LIVE performances across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Soon their TikTok blew up when people discovered that they were not only musicians but also cos-players and actresses honing their acting skills on short skit videos, especially ones centered around Harry Potter. This led to a quarter-billion international views on TikTok in less than a year! Now many international brands have reached out to them looking to book them for endorsements and campaigns, but the girls have made a conscious decision to remain true to their brand and only work with other brands that are an organic fit, such as the recent videos they did with K-SWISS who just launched a “Harry Potter” inspired line of shoes. The videos have already received millions of views in just a few days, a true testament to their rising influence.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with the three K3 Sisters, Kaylen, Kelsey, and Kristen, and here’s what went down:
How did you get started in the music industry?
Kaylen: Our families on both sides going back 4 generations were into music which included singing, playing instruments, and performing on stage. So, at every family gathering, it was a tradition to form a circle, sing, and play instruments. At the time, it seemed to us that we were the “stars” of these “shows” at 4 and 5 years old!
Kelsey: Our mom and dad met on stage, and formed a band for which we did hundreds of cameo appearances growing up. Also, all three of us began studying the violin when we turned 4 years old. We loved “charming the audience” when we 3 sang and performed fiddle tunes across Texas, Oklahoma, and on cruise ships with our parents and grandparents.
Kristen: For about 8 years we appeared weekly on several North Texas stages where we sang, acted, and performed hundreds of shows for children who were part of various homeschooled groups and church groups. We also created a “Power of 3” show with educational elements and performed it for 19 public school elementary-age assemblies in either their gym or cafetorium. What was so ironic is that there we were performing for public schools, but we never attended one day of public school in our lives! Our parents decided to home school us because they both have teaching degrees, and wanted to keep touring and playing music with us in tow!
How were you actually discovered?
Kelsey: Well, it was an “overnight sensation” that only took 11 years! You see, with all the hundreds of shows we did growing up, we caught the attention of everything from Americas Got Talent to ABC’s Good Morning America and Nickelodeon’s Americas Most Musical Family shows. But in a twist of fate, after performing for their producers, we always refused to sign the final contracts preferring to keep developing as a “do it yourself” operation where we keep control of all our music, merch, and brand. But all this exposure began to add up.
Kristen: We began getting coverage in various North Texas newspapers and invited to perform at some pretty big venues such as state and local fairs and festivals, Great Wolf Lodge, and Six Flags Over Texas to name a few. Each appearance and the promotion of it on our social media increased our reach throughout Texas and beyond.
Kaylen: The huge catalytic event that resulted in our international “discovery” as performing artists was our meteoric rise on TikTok. In less than a year we garnered 1.7 million followers and over 228 million views of us singing, acting, and basically cutting up! Besides our highly produced content, one reason we popped was that the Covid-19 pandemic forced us and just about everyone else in the world into the role of a captive audience. And, as fate would have it, we ended up being incredibly entertaining and popular with this global captive audience!
Can you tell us about your single Queen Bellatrix?
Kristen: Queen Bellatrix is a song that I developed overtime during the pandemic. In the process of blowing up on TikTok and our other social media platforms, we loved the attention and praise. But suddenly, we began getting hate comments out of nowhere from internet “trolls”. In particular, I was falsely accused and bullied on my anime/cosplay account. It really hurt me. So, after considering how Taylor Swift and others have written songs to deal with mean things like this, I ended up creating an original character modeled after Harry Potter’s bully character, Bellatrix Le Strange. The song became a kind of a release of the pain and frustration I was feeling. I made it end with this fictional bully getting what she had coming. Over time it has really helped me, but surprisingly Queen Bellatrix has become one of our most requested fan favorites at our live stream shows because I often get dressed up in a black dress, and lose myself during the song into a wild split-personality character in order to perform it. You can watch the original music video on our YouTube channel, or check out live versions on one of our weekly live stream shows.
What sort of people are most likely to love your two most recent live albums “Apple of My Eye” and “Earth Day 2020 LIVE”?
Kaylen: One fact about our K3 Sisters Band is that every concert is quite different than the last one. We constantly draw from dozens of songs we’ve written which include many different styles and genres. We have covered everything from pop to light rock, world, Texas swing, Celtic, ballads, instrumentals, and folk numbers. So, there is something in our shows for just about every age and liking. People of all ages and cultures really get into our love songs.
Kristen: Lately, we have been hearing us described as “a band that defies description.” We take that as a compliment because we have a love for so many different styles of music. As a result, we attract people who like variety in music. Of course, the fact that we are all multi-instrumentalists really keeps them guessing as we’re switching instruments every other song. I think the fact that instead of trying to do what we think this or that audience would like, we do what we like and see who wants to join our unique musical ride. So far it’s working.
Kelsey: Since our TikTok account blasted us onto the international scene earlier this year, we are totally amazed at how many teens from over 50 countries around the world come to our live stream shows and chat live with us during the shows. They are also flocking to our website where they can listen to our music for free, watch us perform live, and read our detailed biographical info. When we live chat during YouTube premieres, or before our YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook live stream concerts, it’s not uncommon to find all of us trying to read multiple languages, and finding out how many states and foreign countries are represented on the live chat with us. It’s incredibly exhilarating to be serving and sharing life with young people close to our ages all over the world. And the fact that we are willing to connect with them keeps them coming back to a meaningful relationship with us as well as with the other regulars that attend pretty much every premiere and live stream show.
What inspires you to be creative?
Kaylen: Our creative inspirations range from current events to personal joys and struggles that we have undergone or are currently experiencing. These situations are the food for thought that feeds our creativity. As I’m strumming an acoustic guitar, I never know what will suddenly pop into my mind or come out of the guitar. When it does, I often feed and develop it into a song or ballad that we all help shape, arrange, and enjoy performing. At other times it’s just plain old strumming!
Kristen: Sometimes it hits me like a bolt of lightning, and I record snippets of melodies or lyrics into my cell phone notes for further development. At other times, it is a more constructive, intentional, and thought out work process such as with Queen Bellatrix. It’s not uncommon for me to take up to 3 years to develop some songs, and less than an hour for others! I think it’s all about how I feel at the moment. Also, I’m not afraid to “shelf” a song unfinished, and be creative over a long stretch. Kind of chip away at it when it feels right. Quite unpredictable though! No deadlines either.
Kelsey: I believe that we got “creativity genes” from our parents and several older relatives who traversed the fields of creativity before us, and passed the passion on to us. Also, as part of our homeschooling, our dad had us researching all kinds of singer-songwriters from the ’50s, 60’s and 70’s, as well as watching all of the Rock Legends shows and giving an oral report on each artist or band. We spent our tip money and savings attending concerts from the greats such as One Direction, Five Seconds of Summer, Cheetah Girls, Dead & Co., Haim, Charlie Puth, and Twenty One Pilots to name a few. They added to our creative juices big time!
Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?
Kristen: Sometimes I just need to release some emotions, and find myself writing music.
Kelsey: Well at times I’ve just been writing some poetry for fun, and suddenly thought, wait…this could be tailored into song lyrics. For instance, that’s exactly what happened on my song “Upside Down World” which you can still see somewhere on YouTube with us walking behind a kiddie train in a park for kids. The cameraman was sitting in the little caboose!
Kaylen: Definitely. When I’m practicing long or short hours on guitar or fiddle, as I said earlier, it quite often turns into a creative moment, but not always. Practicing is more than just practicing if you let your mind wander. And I’ve found it’s best to do this creative wandering in private.
What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?
Kristen: OMG! It turns out that all three of us embed a lot of double meanings and symbolism into our lyrics. Some of this stems from our analysis of lyrics as part of our homeschooling English lessons. Great songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Jerry Garcia use such colorful imagery in their songs that we have learned to do the same. So, it could be there is a simple meaning, as well as a much, much deeper message of hope, sorrow, or philosophy in our original songs.
Kaylen: We try to uncover the kinds of feelings that people we meet are experiencing. Then, we write and sing about it. It’s like this. Almost every girl I’ve met wants to be loved and needed, so my song “Apple of My Eye” shouts out the heart-felt hook lines, “Cause I love you and I need you. Do you love me, do you need me like that?” We also detest bullying of any kind, so we have written messages of staying strong into our songs such as “Sticks and Stones”, “Phoenix” and “Livin’ the Dream”.
Kelsey: We also write lyrics that suggest finding love or losing love. As an example, our song “Temporary Guy” explores the relationship of a guy who is only a temporary friend who will never be anything more to the girl than that. “Temporary guy, he can be a friend. He’s there to help you mend, but he’s gone in the end.” We all have had, will have, or know someone who has been involved in either side of these kinds of relationships, and that’s okay. I guess getting hurt and moving on is part of life, and it’s something we can all relate to in a song.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
Kristen: The recent successes that we’ve experienced on TikTok. Topping 228 million views of our videos, and reaching a diverse, international audience with our music and content is a thrill beyond description. I will never forget this pandemic because of the silver lining it bestowed on all of us.
Kelsey: I will never forget hearing and “feeling” 3,500 kids clapping and cheering for us as we went out on stage in Garland, Texas to perform our “Power of 3” show. We had performed it in 19 different public school assemblies over two years. Then the school district funded us performing for dozens of schools all at once in an indoor arena. Watching the movie that was made of it so early in our career, it still gives me exciting chills. I kind of can’t believe it was me and my sisters doing that at such a young age. I guess the old saying, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” is true!
Kaylen: I will never forget setting up at the Dallas Arboretum’s huge outdoor amphitheater last year for a Memorial Day show. It was overlooking the cool White Rock Lake, but we were sweating like mad in 102 degrees Texas heat with only a patio umbrella for shade on a huge flagstone stage which doubled for a frying pan! We were testing out our “large stage outdoor show set up” with full tilt amplification, and it went flawlessly, except…setting up and running all the sound ourselves, doing the two-hour show, and loading out with no help found me on the bathroom floor in my room at home sick as a dog wondering what hit me. It wasn’t a fond memorable experience, but I’ll surely never forget it. It’s okay to share some of the bad stuff that happened on the way up the ladder.
Who is your greatest influence?
Kelsey: Well in songwriting it would be several of the singer-songwriters from the last century such as Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. But in our zeal to control our work and our “brand,” it would have to be female entrepreneurs such as Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, and Shakira. And, okay, Ed Sheeran and Charlie Puth too!
Kaylen: I absolutely love bands like Twenty One Pilots, Five Seconds of Summer, and other bands that value performing their original songs live. And, it’s not that I hate recording in the studio, it’s just that I am incredibly energized by performing and releasing our music in live settings with all the “flaws,” and without the high tech “safety nets” like auto-tuned vocals, hidden background tracks, and the editing out “unexpected variations”! Like Jerry [Garcia] once said, “making a record is like building a ship in a bottle. Playing live music is like being in a rowboat in the ocean.” I want to perform on that wild and open ocean. And, some of my songwriting is certainly influenced by Taylor Swift, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Crosby Stills & Nash.
Kristen: My dad. He has worked with me on learning how to play mandolin, guitar, and drums, in addition to teaching me a lot about songwriting. But, I’ve also grown to really appreciate the lifetime of works created by Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and The Beatles. I listen to or watch videos of these musical soul mates every day. And yes, I hear something new and awesome every time which influences and inspires me. You know, I am aware that I don’t create my music in a vacuum. I revere and study the great artists who came before me. That’s a good thing.
Do you feel that you chose your “passion,” or did it choose you?
Kristen: As the youngest sister I have always looked to my sisters as guiding lights in addition to my parents. My earliest memories are of watching them on stage from the front row, and intensely wondering, “Why am I not up there with them?” In fact, more than once I escaped from my babysitter and ran up on stage or in front of the stage to perform for the audience. As I’ve gotten older, however, I have realized that something mysterious is inside me that provokes me to perform. Call it the muses, call it the universe, call it God, or call it destiny it is a powerful force that I don’t fully understand, but I welcome.
Kelsey: Since I was 4 years old I have been singing, studying, and performing on fiddle, listening to crosstalk about the music business, and on long trips in vans, planes, and cruise ships to perform. So, in a way, a path was laid before me that I have followed in a very organic and natural way. In the process, I have evolved to accept the fact that being passionate about my role in the music business is to fulfill my dreams and goals, not other people’s dreams. Having said that, in order to make it happen with the K3 Sisters Band, it is essential to be surrounded by other passionate artists like my sisters, parents and extended family.
Kaylen: Our grandpa is fond of the saying, “You are what you were when.” The story about my dad and grandpa looking through the glass at the hospital nursery the day I was born in Dallas, and discussing whether my long fingers were those of a fiddle player or keyboard player is true! Before I turned four, my dad had me taking private fiddle lessons from a top Suzuki method violin teacher, and my mom, who holds a music degree from Texas Woman’s University was giving me voice lessons. I have fully embraced the life of a touring musician and entertainer as I have grown up. It’s all I’ve ever known, and I love it.
If you hadn’t chosen your field, what would your alternate field have been?
Kaylen: I have always liked meeting children of all backgrounds, and working with them while I was helping my parents teach and entertain hundreds of home school students and church youth groups. I would have been interested in either being a schoolteacher or a music educator.
Kristen: That’s easy. I would have studied acting, and gone to Hollywood to find work in commercials, movies, or television shows. Or, maybe headed to Broadway to perform in the bright lights. And by the way, I believe that all three of us have Hollywood, movies, and TV in our futures. It’s inevitable.
Kelsey: I could envision being in the culinary arts somehow. Maybe as a bakery owner.
What are your future plans? Inside your career and out of it.
Kristen: Well, as I’ve already mentioned, I believe we will be featured in a movie or television show very soon. But as to the immediate future, I am planning on writing enough original songs and generating enough worldwide fans to embark on yearly world tours once this Covid-19 thing comes to an end. I especially love Japan and am hoping to perform there. Maybe when the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio opens there in 2023 we could perform in our Harry Potter costumes as part of the grand opening!
Kelsey: A great Rascal Flatts song says, “If life is a highway. I want to ride it all night long.” That sums it up for me. I want to keep writing, learning to sing and play instruments better, and go all the way to the top as an entertainer. By the way, I’m studying stand up bass as my newest instrument. Outside of my career, I have become quite the baker during this pandemic. My specialty is cakes. I can see cake baking will somehow become part of my future.
Kaylen: Wow! The future is kind of cloudy right now with this Covid-19 pandemic literally leveling the playing field for entertainers and the music business. I mean, who would have predicted that all of our many shows that were booked for 2020 would be canceled? So, I’m not as sure if our plans to reach people “on the ground” at shows and huge festivals will ever materialize in 2021 or 2022. But, I know that our online reach has been safely launched on several platforms so… that’s where we are headed…for now. Oh, and someday there might just be time for a love relationship. But for now, my career comes first.
LIGHTNING FAST Round Questions:
Last good movie I’ve seen:
Kristen: The Phantom of the Opera
Kaylen: The newest Jumanji film
What do you consider beautiful and why?
Kelsey: I find beauty in small things such as fan art, a letter, or a small gift that someone sends me which holds heartfelt thoughts and memories.
Kristen: I love to hike in forests, and feel strongly that California’s coastal redwoods are the most beautiful, ancient lifeforms on planet earth.
Kaylen: I look at a gourmet meal laid out on a huge table complete with a fantastic dessert to follow as a thing of beauty to look at and enjoy consuming with friends and family.
What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could?
Kristen: I wish I could drive a car. I don’t have my driver’s license yet. But trying to surf on a California beach is also on my list. You don’t need a license for that!
Kaylen: I would like to fly to London, and take the Harry Potter studio tour before taking the train to visit Edinburgh, Scotland where my grandmother was born.
Kelsey: I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like to be in a major glamour magazine cover photoshoot. I’d be wearing expensive diamonds, and decked out in an expensive designer dress both of which were loaned to me just for the shoot.
Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…”
Kaylen: … try driving a race car over 100 miles an hour.
Kristen: … rent a huge theater in Texas, and do a free “social distancing” show for my friends and fans.
Kelsey: … be on the reality TV show Big Brother.
What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself?
Kaylen: I guess it would be getting really frustrated with my sisters when they don’t see things my way on a creative level. I’m kind of a perfectionist because I have perfect pitch.
Kelsey: I like hanging out in my room on my phone more than most. So what!
Kristen: Unfortunately, I tend to be a bit rough around the edges at times when I don’t get my way because, well…I’ve been called a “diva”. But try as I may, I can’t change who I am.