In Conjunction With Release Of New Single, ‘Holding On’, We Speak With NATIIVE And KTJ & Carly

‘Holding On’, the new single from NATIIVE and KTJ & CARLY is out today. We caught up with the producer/artist and sister duo and asked them about the song, their collaboration, and their inspirations.

Your single ‘Holding On’ is set for release on April 3. How did your collaboration come about? Did you know each other before as artists or friends? What’s the NATIIVE story, and respectively, what’s the KTJ & Carly story?

NATIIVE: Our managers had connected us through another artist who’s a mutual friend. We had never met or heard each other’s music prior to our first session where we wrote “holding on”.

I have been in the industry professionally since I was 19 in various roles from being a session player, to touring as a hire-on musician, to working as an MD. But once I was introduced to the world of production, I basically quit everything else and went all in on that and started producing other artists.

The NATIIVE project started in 2018 as a way for me to put out music that I thought was dope but wasn’t being used on other projects/records that I was producing at the time. It really stemmed from my love for electronic and pop music. I have a lot more freedom being able to create whatever I’m feeling. It def turned into a much bigger part of my career than I had expected it to at first.

KTJ & CARLY: We are identical twin sisters. We grew up together, practically singing out of the womb. Growing up in a musical household, it was no question that we would have music in our lives forever in some way shape or form.

As we grew up, we discovered our love for writing and music production, and decided to pursue our career together after high school. We have always been a team and had each other’s back since the start, even though our duo is very new, that rapport and sister relationship makes it much stronger.

We have been working our tails off for the past few years trying to create songs that resonate with people everywhere, and shall continue to do so for as long as time will allow.

Who would you say are your major influences in music, and in life?

KTJ & CARLY: ROSEZ, Tove Lo, Banks, Seinabo Sey, Louis the Child, Flume, ODESZA, Galantis, Chelsea Cutler, Dua Lipa, Petit Biscuit, EVAN GIIA, Bebe Rexha. These are just a few out of hundreds. These are definitely the top ones in no specific order. Our sources of inspiration are constantly changing.

On a similar note, what is the best piece of career or life advice you’ve been given? What about the worst?

CARLY: I was sent an interview from David Bowie by a friend, and he said, “Don’t play to the gallery.” This was years ago and I will never let that leave my memory.

We make art not because it will make us big or famous, but ideally because we have a burning passion inside of us that tries to culminate our feelings, emotions, and stories into song, poetry, movies, books, etc… At the end of the day, I think artists create their best work when they write from the bottom of their heart, rather than writing what will sound cool.

Writing from the bottom of our hearts usually sounds cool anyways because it’s truthful and honest! I mean, obviously it’s important to not take the advice so literally to the point of sounding horrible, but the main idea and moral of the story is to make music from your heart rather than for ‘the gallery.’

The current COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the music industry hard. How has it affected you and what have you been doing to counter its impact on your careers?

NATIIVE: It’s definitely set some things back for me. A lot of projects, writing sessions, and records that I was supposed to start on are being pushed back to later dates in the year. But it has given me a lot of uninterrupted time to focus on my own stuff and get a lot of new music finished up. Getting new music out into the world is one of the main things I’m focused on right now.

KTJ & CARLY: It has affected all musicians. We can’t go to the studio to cut vocals, we can’t perform our music live which is really one of the best ways to make money in the industry. It’s much harder to create content when you are stuck at home. One thing that is great thought is we still can interact with our followers and listeners through social media and still be together through those platforms. Making music is what has kept us going through this all.

Describe your songwriting process for us. Do you have the melody in mind first, or lyrics or does it all come to you at once? Or is it something completely different?

NATIIVE: Melodies almost always come first for me. Usually start on the melodies and try to lock in the vocals first then move on to production. I prefer to produce around the vocals for the most part. But it’s not always like that.

Sometimes it’s backwards and other parts of a song will evolve first. Just depends on who I’m working with. For this song the production started first, then we wrote the melodies, then lyrics. All in the same session.

KTJ & CARLY: It differs every time; it all depends on the day and what kind of inspiration we have at the time. Sometimes, we start with production, we start with melodies and lyrics, or we start with just chord progressions. Sometimes, it’s everything simultaneously created together.

What are the top three songs on your respective playlists and why are they there?

NATIIVE: Full Send by 1991, Roses by SAINt JHN (both the original and the remix), and Lose Control by MEDUZA. Those 3 are heavy on repeat for me right now. Been really getting into DnB, House, and Hiphop lately so that’s why I guess haha. All 3 slap in their own way.

KTJ & CARLY: Boy by ODESZA, Say it by Tove Lo/Illenium/Flume and No Place by Rufus De Sol.

These artists and their songs bring so much life into the air, and the production and lyrics of them are phenomenal.

If you could talk to your younger selves, knowing what you know now, what would you say and why? If you could do it all again, what if anything would you do differently and why?

NATIIVE: Quit caring what other people think, it’s mostly in your head anyways. And release your own music sooner! If I could go back I would for sure have started putting out my own stuff a few years earlier.

What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?

KTJ & CARLY: This question is one for starters! I wish there were more fun questions like what superpower would you have if you could (read minds obviously) and questions like what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done or would you rather questions. Something not always so serious and intense. Those are important too of course but it’s nice to get some comic relief every once in a while. It makes it fun to answer. 🙂

You can find NATIIVE online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and his official website.

You can find KTJ & Carly on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, and their official website.

Stream ‘Holding On’ on Apple Music and Spotify:

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

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