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Episode 7: Herriman High’s Singing Sisters

They are hoping to make it big in the music industry one day and are well on their way. Superintendent Anthony Godfrey sits down with the singing Keller sisters from Herriman High School to talk about their journey to success and how their parents and teachers have played a role.

Cheyenne and Caysi Keller have already auditioned for The Voice, American Idol and America’s Got Talent – on this podcast they sing for the Superintendent.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today, we're going to talk to Herriman High School singing Keller sisters. They share their journey as they seek successful careers in the music industry. Caysi, who's a sophomore and Cheyenne, a junior at Herriman High, also talk about how teachers have helped along the way, and they share some advice on what parents can do to support their teams who have big dreams. But before we sit down with them to talk, let's give you a little taste of their singing.

Music

Superintendent Godfrey:
You were listening to Caysi and Cheyenne Keller singing a Walls by the Lumineers. Now let's sit down with the singing sisters in the super studio. So you're both into music.

Sisters:
Totally

Superintendent Godfrey:
Chy, tell me first, a little bit about your involvement in music.

Chy:
When I was little, I was just looking for my path in life, I guess. I saw a picture of my great, great grandpa that I never got to meet and he was playing the guitar. My dad told me a little story, how he was the first country music star on TV. So this little nine year old got her first guitar. Then I just played every day since, so my fingers bled and my mom was yelling at me to come in and eat dinner. That's where it started.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's wonderful, playing until your fingers bled. That's part of many a guitarist's origin story. There's the legend of Eric Clapton. who just holed up in a London apartment. I think it was for a year. He just decided that he wanted to be good. So that's all he did for a year until his fingers bled. He slept a little bit, ate a little bit and played guitar.

Chy:
Yeah, it happens. It's an addiction.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It starts off as an addiction, but you got to start to balance things out, I guess.

Chy:
Yeah. That's what my parents told me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay.  Well, I think that qualifies as a productive addiction. And Caysi, tell me about your involvement in music.

Cysi:
I got into singing when I was about 10 years old. My friends, like my best friend, her parents had a performing arts facility. And she just asked me to come check it out. And so I went and I performed with the group and I just fell in love immediately. I'd been seeing for years earlier making goofy videos with me and Chy, but I finally decided to take it seriously and started taking voice lessons. So at about 10 years old, I started taking voice lessons, and been doing it ever since.

Chy:
We somehow had to get the Taylor Swift sound. I like to play guitar, but I didn't like to sing, but we had to play Taylor Swift. You know, it's that age. So we had to get a singer and she definitely had to fill that spot for us.

Superintendent Godfrey
I admire her work. It's difficult for me to connect to it because I'm not going through the experiences anymore. She describes, she says we are never, ever, ever getting back together. I can look back on when I decided that I was never getting back together, but I am not in that circumstance anymore.

Caysi:
We're in a constant state of Taylor Swift vibes. So it's just that age.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What's another Taylor Swift vibe that you connect to? I mean, that's very personal because she talks about some, Oh yeah.

Chy:
That's a good song. I knew you were trouble. That one's kind of hitting me hard lately.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I knew you were in trouble. Yes, she does have a gift. Caysi, did you ever have any interest in an instrument?

Caysi:
I actually took piano lessons for a long time, but I just couldn't quite get into it. I can play some chords on it now and same with guitar and the ukulele, but I'm not super great at anything except I feel like I'm pretty good at singing.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So you dabbled, but you dabbled for a long time and it just didn't spark. The singing is what really took off.

Caysi:
It clicked ]for me, just like the guitar clicked for Chy and she, of course, can play every other instrument on earth, but the guitar is her instrument.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Chy, you're one of those who can just pick up a guitar or any other instrument and start to learn it.

Chy:
I definitely went through an experimental phase, playing the banjo and the piano and the drums for a minute. I went through a lot of shifting with instruments, but I always come back to guitar.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Guitar is a favorite of mine. I've played the ukulele. The guitalele a little bit because my 10 year old, it's just the right size for him to play. So that guitalele is kind of an in between. So do you compose anything or do you like to perform what others have put together mostly?

Caysi:
We are kind of starting down that composition thing. It's hard to finish songs, but we definitely start a lot. The thing that we really like to do is take other people's music that inspires us and change it to our sound that we're finding. We're trying to write more so of our own songs now, but nothing has come up yet. It has finished. We haven't got a single original finished yet. We have like a lot started, but we really like covering. What we perform with are cover songs.

Chy:
There was a point where I wanted to be a writer. One of the things I read was that the way you become a writer is by reading a lot and to write to imitate people that you like. Then you learn your own style. I think that's probably true when you're writing music. There are other musicians that you like, you emulate, you take their song and you make it something different. And then over time, you find your own voice.

Caysi:
Exactly. This is exactly what happened. If we didn't do the cover songs, I don't think we would have ever found the sound we have now, which we really liked.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. What are some of the songs that you've covered that you've changed?

Chy:
Basically, every song we play, we changed because it's kind of limiting with just two people and a guitar or some other instruments, you know? So we have to change the songs anyway. And then our song, our sound that we have together just kind of comes out as we go through it. We moved from Idaho three years ago. In Idaho we got all of our best friends and we had an all girl rock band.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So it was so awesome.

Chy:
We played Idaho Go-Go's. We are called Falling Up. It was honestly really cool. And we had all the sound. We definitely played Joan Jett and we're jumping.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I love that. You're finding inspiration in music from various artists, as groups, as individuals, you have your own voice, but then you're able to find a common voice together. I also love that you're covering Cyndi Lauper.

Caysi:
We'll definitely play that one.

Superintendent Godfrey:

I have her autograph. I sought it.

Caysi:
Oh my gosh. That's honestly awesome.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. I went to her concert and I was standing out with the groupies and it was not in the eighties. It was like five years ago, but she waved while walking into the bus and then I got a set list signed from the concert. Not very many teenagers are very excited to hear me say that I have Cindy Lauper's autograph on the side. It's refreshing to find a couple who are. I also have the Yellow vinyl version of she's so unusual that I bought at Barnes and Noble. So I, yeah, you're really striking a cord, so to speak, pun intended. Okay. I'm dying to hear some music, but let's talk more about  you as musicians. Do you like to perform live? Do you prefer the recording and creating process? Let's start with Caysi.  What's most invigorating for you?

Caysi:
So, everything about music is a totally different dynamic than everything else. I love performing because you feel so much from a crowd of people. It's beyond anything I can even describe, there is just so much energy from the people around you. It's just really inspiring and uplifting, playing and sharing this art and seeing their reaction to it is really beautiful to me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I can imagine. There's almost an electricity to being up in front of the crowd. I've done it a few times, just for fun, like in an assembly as an assistant principal, when none of the kids can go anywhere, so they have to stay and listen. And even at that is really fun, just to be in front and kind of feed off of that energy. We're going to take a quick break and we'll come back to talk more with the Keller sisters.

Sandra Reisgraf:
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Superintendent Godfrey:
And we're back with the Keller sisters talking about music. Obviously you don't just get to this point. I know you're still in high school, but you've really developed your talent for a long time. I'm very impressed with how you're able to articulate how music fits into your life. You don't get there without great support. Tell me about how your parents have supported this for you.

Chy:
They're everything. They do everything. They literally just changed our entire basement to a recording studio. We moved down here to Utah from Idaho for music. We lived in Pocatello, Idaho, and God bless everybody in that town, but there's not a lot of music presence there. So to get better vocal lessons or different vocal lessons, our parents drove she and I to Utah, three hours a couple of times a month for lessons. We met an amazing voice teacher here and fell in love with that. From there we started performing a ton, so we moved down here just for that really, because we were driving so much. It made sense since we were taking it so seriously. So they definitely changed everything. They are the reason we're in music, honestly. They're not musical, but they gave us more than ever.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I think that's remarkable, even though it isn't their passion or their talent, they see it in you.

Chy:
Yeah. And they help us follow it. Right?

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yep. How have school music programs been a support to what you want to pursue?

Caysi:
I took choir. I never thought I would have an interest in choir until I took it. I took it there and I had hope and I really discovered a love for singing through that, entirely. It really grew my passion to be doing it in school and out of school to gain a reputation and to be recognized for what I was so passionate about doing. I still am doing choir and it's really a fun thing to do to meet people and continue to grow and learn every day about something you didn't know about before. It's crazy looking back. The school has honestly been as supportive as our parents.

Chy:
Her choir teacher would get us performances. Mr. Hellman, my teacher would get his performances and even here in Utah, we cover Marlin.

Caysi:
Oh yeah. We performed at our school talent show at Copper Mountain and then the one at Herriman. The one at Copper Mountain, my principal saw and, in front of everyone, he asked us if we would want to perform again. And so we set up during our yearbook signing, we played for about an hour and a half for the yearbook signing. All our friends and everyone at the school was just circling around the room and we had just played the whole time. And it was a really different kind of game for us. It got us so much more experience and it was really good. So the schools, they're really supportive of our passions. I think I see it a lot. The teachers are amazing. Every music teacher, every teacher I've had has been so impressed and so supportive. It's been honestly awesome to watch. It's really awesome.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What advice do you have for parents who want to be supportive of whatever talent or interest their child might want to pursue?

Chy:
Hmm. Well, we're always changing, but I think you can see in your child's eyes, something that sets their soul on fire, something that sticks to me. You can see it in them, even on their worst days, something, they come back to. You just don't let them loose something that is their purpose in life. You've got to find your purpose in life. I feel that even on your worst days, you can still have, because people are going to come into your life that you love, that you are going to miss. And there's something about music for me that has always been there. So definitely, you can tell what someone's passion is. I think by the way they look at it , they feel it and just support them and don't let them lose it.

Caysi:
And I would say, don't get discouraged because we love music. Obviously it is like everything about our lives, we will still have those days when we don't want to do it, when we just want to lay on the couch or watch TV. But at the end of the day, it's not going to ruin us. It's not over for us. We'll still come back tomorrow with a reignited passion. Kids are hard because we do just sometimes want to be bums and lay around. But you always have that connection to that, you know, music or whatever it is. So my advice would be, don't let them loose their passion. Let them grow with it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I like what you both said about, it's what you come back to. It's what you come back to. And we're going to come back to the podcast very soon and learn about their experiences with the music industry, with show business. And I'll give you a hint. America's Got Voice. We'll be right back.

Sandra Reisgraf:
In Jordan School District, the possibilities are endless for anyone looking to grow with a team of professionals, working together to provide the very best for students in education. If you're looking for a great job with great pay and benefits, in a supportive environment, head to workatjordan.org and find your future career in Jordan School District. People come for the job and stay for the adventure. Explore the many options apply today at workatjordan.org.

(19:15):
And we're back with the Keller sisters talking about music. Now you've had some experience with the music industry. Tell us a little bit about what you've been up to.

(19:28):
So I'm shy and I kind of started that with auditioning for America's got talent. That was how long ago now? Three years, three years, ish, three years ago. We first auditioned for America's got talent and didn't go very far, but it was really fun to get like, you know, into that professional industry. So we I specifically kept auditioning for the voice and recently American idol and I keep getting farther every time. So hopefully that'll just one day snap through and be on TV.

(20:16):
Tell me about the experience you had at the farthest point with one of those shows.

(20:21):
So let's see. I went to LA to audition for the voice I had just been invited. I got an email. They asked me to come to LA and audition and it was not like anything I've ever done before, but I was really confident and I met the producers and, you know, talked with the TV guys, like the recording people, people with the cameras and interviews and stuff like that. It was really it wasn't quite what you see on TV. It's more personal, I guess less showy, but you meet a lot of interesting people. Interesting seniors.

(21:14):
So you met fellow competitors. Yeah.

(21:16):
In like waiting rooms and stuff like that. We would introduce ourselves and everyone was super outgoing. So it was easy to meet.

(21:25):
So you weren't quietly squaring at each other, trying to case out the talent you're up against.

(21:32):
I feel like it's not that competitive because every voice is so different. It's kind of like comparing apples and oranges, you know,

(21:38):
Makes sense. I like them both. Yeah,

(21:41):
Exactly. But she's honestly being modest about like the show thing, because she sent in a video just of her singing to American idol and they invited her to come back and perform live even though she's under age. So you're supposed to be 16. I was five days before the cutoff, my birthday was so they invited her back and I have to go with her because she doesn't like to sing alone and she gets a little scared. So I always get to go and participate in the audition process. It's pretty cool. And there was like five people in the room. And she was the only one that they wanted to keep talking to and the other, they sent the others home and they just told her that they were so impressed with her and they were, it was, she was amazing. And it was honestly so cool. They were so nice to all those seniors in the room, but it was definitely amazing to see her at her young age, being able to come in and blow these producers away that are surrounded by so much talent all the time. It was really cool to watch my little sister be like fan girl about by these LA people.

(22:54):
So does that mean that you'll be headed back next year?

(22:58):
I will be auditioning whether they invite you.

(23:01):
I think from the sound of it, you have great things ahead and I'm going to get in early and I'm going to request tickets front row tickets and access to the meet and greet. And I'll buy a lot of merch though. You can count it.

(23:22):
Okay, good. Are you going to buy the vinyl records?

(23:25):
I'm hoping that you're going to put out the color vinyl splatter. You can count on me buying every vinyl version of your first release. So plant on it. And when you're writing a song, when you're looking to write a song, I think the moving from Idaho thing moved, leave the Idaho and rodeo to go see, I mean, it's already rhyming. The song writes itself. You're right. You're right. Yeah. Well, let's let's hear some music. We'll take a quick break and we'll come back to here's some tunes from the Keller sisters.

(24:01):
Sweet. Awesome.

(24:04):
Hello. My name is Steven Hall. I'm director of the Jordan education foundation. Have you ever experienced what it's like to surprise a teacher in the classroom with school supplies, books, or a classroom grant? Have you seen students all smiles because you cared enough to give them a backpack, a winter coat weekend, food bags, or a free holiday shopping spree. It's something we see all the time because it is exactly what Jordan education foundation does. The foundation exists due to the generosity of people who care about kids. If you would like to be a part of supporting students and teachers in the classroom, contact Jordan education foundation and start making a difference today, you can find us at Jordan education foundation.

(25:00):
[Inaudible],

(25:01):
We're going to let them play us out with girls. Just want to have fun. Thanks to the Keller sisters for being here. I have a hunch. This isn't going to be the last time that I see you guys. I'm requesting front row tickets and advantage immediately access. And I hope you'll sign my color vinyl version of your So just remember education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there and now planning this out. The Keller sisters with girls. Just want to hear

(25:53):
[Inaudible]. I [inaudible] in the middle of [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible].

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