Sweet harmonies, soul stirring vocals and impeccable style- times that by two and you have twin sisters, Ayana and Ayinke Hipps, also known as AAries. They’ve graced the tracks of fellow Philly music artist Musiq Soulchild and have become favorites among the Philadelphia music scene. With the much anticipated release of their debut album, Always Remember, AAries delivers soulful grooves that make you remember the intensity of your first love and the tragedy of love lost.
Clutch: Tell us the meaning behind the name AAries?
Ayana: It defines who we are. We are a combination of qualities giving pleasure to the ears, eyes, mind, and definitely the spirit.
Clutch: Where do you ladies call home?Ayinke: We have so many homes that I can’t dis none of them. Philly is our current home. I learned a lot about myself here and this city has given me strength. We also claim VA. We grew up in Arlington, VA and we also claim my mother’s home state, Florida. We love Florida.
Clutch: How old were you when you decided you wanted to make singing a career?
Ayinke: We were around 14.
Ayana: When I saw Whitney [Houston] sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, I said that will be us one day. (From my mouth to God’s ears.)
Clutch: How did your parents influence you musically?
Ayana: Our father introduced us to music, he played jazz in our room on the stereo every night while we slept. Our mother cultivated our love for music by keeping us singing in church and in a Conservatory School of Music.
Clutch: Name some music artists that inspire you.
Ayinke: There’s so many I can’t say one. I listen to all genres. From Ella and Louie to Minnie Riperton . . . Sade, Amel Larrieux, Diana Ross . . . to Coldplay to Fiona Apple to The Strokes.
Ayana: Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, The Clark Sisters, Sade and Amel Larrieux, The Emotions, Bob Marley, Sting, John Legend, Mary J. Blige . . . and that’s just to name a few.
Clutch: You did a few collaborations on singer Musiq Soulchild’s debut and sophomore album, “Aijuswanasing” and “Juslisen”. How did that meeting come about?
Ayinke: At the time, Musiq’s managers were also our managers (Mama’s Boys Music). We were all good friends and we spent a lot of time together, we san together in the studio and when we were chillin’, I guess you can say that it naturally occurred. Musiq asked us to sing “Settle for my Love” with him on his first album and we also did background for him on three of his albums.
Clutch: If you had the opportunity to work with any other musical artist who would it be?
Ayinke: I would love to work with Kanye West
Ayana: I would love to write with Corrine Bailey Rae.
Clutch: How did you get signed and what label are you currently working with?
Ayinke: We are signed to Sony/Columbia Music Group through our production company Home Cookin’. An A&R by the name of Ampora heard our music, we went to Sony and did a showcase and then we were offered a recording contract. That’s the short version. If I had more time, I would give you the longer version.
Clutch: What projects are you working on now?
Ayana: We are in the studio, finishing up our album. We are working on our live show and we will soon be out and about and doing some promo. For any dates, check our Myspace page at myspace.com/aariesmusic.
Clutch: Do you write your own music?
Ayinke: Sometimes, we may write our own songs. Other times we may collaborate with other songwriters and on other occasions people have written tailor-made songs for us. We love the realness (Is that a word? Lol) that a personal story brings to a track. We also worked with Ransom, a.k.a. Carvin…He wrote “Just Friends”, “Love”, “Buddy”, all songs of Musiq. The list goes on and on. We have also written with Tytewriter, Latif . . . one of the most talented singer/songwriters out there and we have worked with Harold Lilly . . . we love him. He is such an awesome person and talented and humble. He’s great.
Clutch: When will your debut album drop? And do you have a title for it yet?
Ayana: We hope for a release date soon. We are very excited about this album and can’t wait for the world to hear it.
Ayinke: We have some ideas for a title but just like sisters, we have not agreed on one yet.
Clutch: How would you describe your fashion style?
Ayana: We love fashion…We study fashion, I would describe my style as chic, fly, and unique. I like finding pieces of clothing . . . you know like something no one else has.
Ayinke: We have two different styles, but our styles compliment each other. We love to mix high end pieces with pieces from a consignment shop or a vintage piece. We love fashion. We design bags and sell them in a few boutiques in Philly.
Clutch: As twins, do find it difficult to maintain your individuality (style wise)?
Ayinke: No, we have totally different personalities which reflects our style. I’m more like the sexy fun b-girl . . . I’ll tak a pair of Nike dunks and make em look cool and sexy. Yany [Ayana] is more of the chic, flirty type. I really love her style but her style is for her.
Clutch: What helps to keep you ladies grounded?
Ayana: Our relationship with God and the foundation our mother gave to us while raising us. We have a lot of great people around us who are humble and appreciate the blessing of being able to do what you love, what makes you smile you inside and still get paid doing it. We will never forget that.
Clutch: So it’s a night out on the town with the girls and you’re about to hit up the club. Your outfits are fabulous, hair is on point and to finish the look off you accessorize with a HOT clutch. Tell us, what are you carrying in it? What won’t you leave home without?
Ayinke: Well, first of all my clutch would be a vintage Gucci (classic) and I would have my cell phone, keys, and pink MAC blush. (Blush is a girl’s best friend.), lip gloss, and my gold eye liner pencil. (I am telling too much). I know Yany’s [Ayana’s] bag would be her vintage MCM fanny pack.
Ayana: Yes it would, and I would be carrying my phone as well, my lip gloss, and some plastic money . . . just in case me and the girls want to go eat afterwards.
Photos Credits: Courtesy of: http://portfolios.models.com/itaysha