Updated: Aug 12, 2020
British duo KHALYSIS talks women empowerment, female music heroins, equality in music and how it feels to work and live side by side with your sister.
KHALYSIS consists of the sisters Olivia and Georgia Fletcher, who are the perfect example for equality empowered young women in music. They have always championed female songwriters and performers, as well as other roles within the music industry. Olivia is the singer of the pop-duo, while Giorgia produces all their tracks and plays multiple instruments. They describe their sound and genre as Tropical Pop, as could be heard - and danced to - on their first EP, released in 2018. These days, the two are planning on setting up a series of live gigs across their social media platforms. By doing this, Khalysis aims to help boost community spirit and keep in contact with those who are feeling isolated and alone at the moment over the next few months of social distancing.
What is music to you?
Music is everything to us. Not only is it our career, but it’s also our favourite hobby and passion. It’s amazing when you can mix work and pleasure as it doesn’t feel like work!
Why is music your passion?
We spend every day rehearsing or making music. Writing our own original material is our main passion as we love to express ourselves in a form of art that everyone can enjoy!
When did you realize that you wanted to dedicate your life to music?
Olivia has always loved to sing. Georgia taught herself to play multiple instruments to accompany Olivia. After we started rehearsing together we realized that this is what we wanted to do as a career. As things progressed, we began writing and producing our own music. We have received great feedback so far and have accomplished so many amazing things.
Consequently, we recognised that we were able to inspire others with what we do. This is when we realised that this is what we wanted to do together, for the rest of our lives.
How would you describe your music to a deaf person?
I think there are two varieties of music that we like to write. First of all, we love to write upbeat, empowering songs with memorable hooks and instruments from around the world. Sort of what we call, ’Tropical Pop’. Secondly, we also write mid-tempo songs that have meaning! Our music can also be a personal story about our life experiences with relatable lyrics about everyday situations.
What does KHALYSIS stand for?
Pronounced ‘Kal’–‘ee’–‘Sis’, it is derived from several different words in various languages for the likes of Queen, Warrior, Powerful and Loving. Including the obvious ‘SIS’, because we’re sisters!
How is it for you to work together as sisters?
Most people think that we would argue and fight as we spend so much time together. We work together, as well as live together, so there is no escaping each other! However, we have yet to have an argument which is really surprising. We were brought up as a family to respect each other and this is the way it’s always been. We may have slight clashes in creativity but it’s always resolved with a cup of tea and a biscuit!
What gender roles were you brought up with? How did you grow up, did the usual role models prevail in your parental home?
We’re a big blended family so we had a number of role models, both male and female. Our family are not the traditional type, we all respect each other equally regardless of gender etc. Georgia has a girlfriend and one of our other sisters has a wife. We’re all treated equally and everyone only cares about the happiness of each other not about how they express themselves. We all love each other and are the type of family that continuously supports one another!
Which female musicians have inspired and influenced you the most?
There are so many powerful and inspirational women musicians that have influenced us but the queen of empowerment, for us, has to be Beyonce. From her all-girl band to her fashion and song lyrics, she inspires women of all ages all around the world giving them the encouragement to believe in themselves and to value their self worth as a woman.
Another artist that has inspired us is Tones&I. She doesn’t conform to social expectations and has managed to break the music industry through pure talent and hard work. Her music and performance are amazing, as well as her unique voice. She has fully accepted who she is as an artist and this is portrayed in the way she dresses, speaks, and performs. We’re so inspired by her for being true to who she is in an industry that often tries to mold artists into what they think other people will like.
What inspires you most?
Women who believe in themselves, as well as people who express themselves freely to how they feel inside. Sometimes it can be difficult to be different, but we respect everyone who chooses to be true to themself.
Georgia: You produce all the tracks as an entirely self-taught producer. What can you advise young musicians who would also like to learn this?
I only recently (in the last couple of years) started producing. It seemed so difficult at first, as I had no idea about anything. I watched so many YouTube tutorials that were so helpful when just starting out. It’s important to be patient as well as determined as it can seem almost impossible when you first start. Practice makes perfect. There are so many tutorials that are easily explained on YouTube and once you get a feel for layering up different instruments, you can research so many different plugins to help enhance your skills. I would personally recommend using LOGIC PRO X as it’s easy to navigate around. SPLICE is a great help too as it gives you access to thousands of loops, drum beats, and vocals that you can use!
Georgia: How did you get to play in front of such large crowds for TFM Radio and Metro Radio? What experiences have you had in relation to Equality Empowerment? Were you always treated equally?
We entered a competition called ‘The Big Audition’, hosted by a Northern UK Radio station, ’TFM/METRO radio’. We were competing against other artists to win a performance slot on a local Firework Display which had an amazingly large crowd. We rehearsed long and hard and managed to win the competition. We then got the opportunity to perform at the Fireworks Display and the organisers thankfully loved us! As a result of proving ourselves, we have been invited back every year to perform to thousands of people on their stages! In this instance, we were treated equally and the competition was judged on talent. It’s always hard to get the opportunity to perform on large stages but once you prove your worth, you often get asked back which is great!
Have there been situations where you were not taken seriously because you are a woman?
Yes, many! As a female producer and songwriter, it is often assumed that we will not be as good as the many successful males in the industry. The statistics in the music industry are very scary with women being so scarcely represented in each category.
It’s important that women continue to inspire other women to build a powerful empire, to help combat inequality.
How would you say that race and gender affects people in the music industry?
Women, in general, are definitely more disadvantaged with regards to representation in the music industry. I think in today's society, people are encouraging each other to be who they are and society is more accepting of one another. Race and Gender does still have an impact on the opportunities available, but hopefully, our society is moving towards a more equal way of living. New laws and movements are making discrimination less common. We hope we can keep moving in this direction!
What is Equality Empowerment for you?
We believe that equality is a basic human right and men should also promote equality and empower strong women to help society function better. The more we encourage empowerment, the more successful and determined people we will develop! Who wouldn’t want more people like that in this world? Their gender should not make a difference!
Why is it important to stand up for equal rights? In your opinion, do artists have a special responsibility for this?
It’s important that everyone with a voice makes themselves heard. There are less fortunate people in the world that feel that they will never be heard. As artists who have a potential platform, it’s vital that we speak for these people and try to change the traditional beliefs and the suppressed ideology that men are superior to women. A lot is being done to change the way women are viewed and discriminated against, but we all need to do more. Especially those who are in a position to make a difference. As artists, women empowerment needs to be our ethos to preach to future generations!
Why are women relevant in music, especially also behind the scenes?
Despite women being just as talented as men, music plays a big part in young peoples lives. If young people, particularly young women, see a lack of female representation in the music industry, this could be disheartening and could inevitably reinforce the idea that women are inferior to men. If young women see no role models they will have no inspiration or aspirations. We also smell better in the studio, haha!
One song on your ‘SHADES EP’ is called ‘Equal’ what is this song about?
This song speaks for itself, it was written to empower women. It’s about recognising that we live in a ‘man's world’, but it’s been too long living this way and things need to change. ‘Women stand up to be heard, join our army be prepared. Been too long in a man's world, we’ll keep on fighting. We don’t need your credit card, independent, we’ll go far. Be the boss you know you are’. Those are some of the lyrics in the song.
We’re all strong, independent women who can create their own success. It’s about saying, we are equal, so treat us equally!
Are you currently working on your debut album?
We have written and produced over 40 songs to date and are currently creating a strong catalogue to take to record labels. We finally have management on board who believe in us so we’re keeping everything under wraps until the right time! Hopefully, it won’t be too long until we’re releasing songs but we want it to have an impact when we do!
How are you affected by the Corona crisis?
We’re currently on Lockdown meaning we can’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary. We have elderly grandparents who we usually see every day and are struggling to not see them but we understand that the restrictions we’ve been given are for the safety of everyone! We also can’t go out and perform which we love to do every week, but it gives us more time to rehearse!
How do you deal with the current situation as an artist?
As artists, we can no longer gig, which means we have more time to write our own original songs. Luckily we live in the same house so we can carry on writing and produced as normal in our home studio!
What are the biggest challenges in your everyday life?
The music industry is full of knockbacks which could break some people. The challenges we have faced have thankfully made us stronger and more professional in the work that we do. It’s also hard to get our music heard as we live in the North of the UK. There are very little opportunities outside of the big cities e.g. London/Manchester. So we have to work extra hard to try and get ourselves known!
How can you as an artist make the best of these times of social distancing?
We have seen how the power of music has had a positive impact on communities around the world at this difficult time. As artists, we can help boost morale through music. We’re planning on doing a couple of live gigs across our social media platforms throughout the next couple of months to help boost community spirit and keep in contact with those who are feeling isolated and alone! If you want to check out our social media channels, here they are:
Thank you very much!