chloe x halle on why generation z is ready to save the world
After hitting the stage at Girl Cult Festival, the singers talk to i-D about what female empowerment feels and looks like to them.
Image courtesy Chloe x Halle
It's the morning after their stellar performance at the inaugural Girl Cult Festival in LA and sister duo Chloe x Halle are looking forward to meditating during the fast-approaching solar eclipse. "We don't have those little glasses, so we're gonna use our regular shades and take little tiny glimpses," Chloe jokes.
The moment will be a well-deserved break. The two have been spending a lot of their time in an LA studio lately, recording new songs. Just like the eclipse, Chloe, 19, and Halle, 17, are a rare phenomenon. Even as tweens they possessed powerful voices, uploading self-produced covers of pop hits like "Down in the DM" and "Hymn for the Weekend" to YouTube. In fact, in 2013, their voluminous, harmony-stacked cover of "Pretty Hurts" caught the eye of Beyoncé herself and before they knew it they were signed to Queen Bey's label, Parkwood Entertainment.
Since joining Parkwood, the sisters have adopted a slow-cook approach, releasing two EPs and a mixtape. The Two of Us, released in March, proves the teens are not just growing into their identities, but doing it on their own terms. In songs like "Poppy Flower," they create their own sound by mixing together Caribbean rhythms, rap, acoustic guitar, and opera. "It's definitely a bigger sound," Chloe says about their new songs. "We're figuring out ourselves and our music at the same time."
Chloe and Halle talk to i-D about performing at Girl Cult Festival, Gen-Z values, and what their mentor, Beyoncé Knowles, has taught them about feminism.
How did it feel to be surrounded by so many strong female artists and fans at Girl Cult Festival?
Chloe: It really felt like a sisterhood. There's something about being around so many beautiful women at one time. It's like we all see each other's light and positive energy. We were sharing the dressing room with Willow and she's just the most beautiful person in the world. It was like a fun sleepover!
What about Generation Z do you admire?
Chloe: We love being a part of Generation Z. One of the things I admire about us is that we're not afraid to take risks. We aren't afraid to fail because we want to defend ourselves and the world we're living in. We give it our all, use our voices for what we think is important, and make stuff happen. And that's why I'm so proud to be a part of this generation. People may underestimate Gen-Z or worry because of the situations that are being left for us to carry on our shoulders, but we got this.
Halle: I'm inspired by so many creatives online — whether it's painters or singers or sculptors — and how they take this pain that we're feeling and make it something beautiful.
As sisters, how do you support each other?
Halle: In so many ways! Whether it's Chloe just going, "You poppin', girl!" Or, when I'm feeling really down, her giving me one those big sister talks and saying, "Listen. You got this." Also, watching her create. It's like watching a genius work. That inspires me because I realize, Oh, that's my blood. I can do that too.
Chloe: All Halle has to do is give me a look or squeeze my hand and she'll instantly make me feel better. Our souls just completely vibe off each other. I'm so grateful I have a partner in crime to go through life with. Because we're not only sisters, we're best friends.
Speaking of girl power, it would be impossible not to mention the CEO of your label, Beyoncé. What has she taught you about female empowerment?
Chloe: You know, female empowerment oozes out of her body with grace and confidence. She's not only a kind person, but also an incredible business woman. My sister and I want to run our own empire one day, and having someone like Beyoncé to look up to is incredible.
Halle: When we're with her, she's just so great about telling us to continue doing what we're doing. We make all of our music — mostly by ourselves. She's always made clear: "Girls, keeping doing that. You're breaking barriers. One day people are going to look at you as legends because of this."
Where do you get your artistic inspiration from?
Chloe: We feel like if something is forced, it's not meant to be. Whenever we create we like for it to flow through us randomly. Some days, someone will be talking and they'll say a word that inspires a lyric. I feel like music that just happens and is created in five minutes — that's how it's meant to be. Because it came out in its truest form… without you worrying if it's right or wrong. That's how we like to create.
As teenagers, what matters to you right now?
Halle: Love — in all forms. And positivity! You have to surround yourself with it. Because when you are, it's like you have blinders on. Positivity is all you feel and see. It's a great feeling.
What matters to me even more is finding my voice. I'm 17 years old and I'm still discovering myself as a young woman. Being open to the world and being able to make great decisions is very important to me right now.
Chloe: What matters to me most is my well-being — because that's when everything else will fall into place. Every morning I want to lift up and be completely happy with who I am inside and out. I just really want to dive into that self-love. Because if you don't love yourself, no one else will.