The music industry is a crazy thing to be part of. There’s the ups and the downs but no matter what, you stick through it. Sure, that could be said for any industry but as of right now we’re talking about music. There are so many paths you can take and fall into whether it be songwriting to producing to singing. But as the Anesha and Antea Birchett, the sister duo behind R&B duo Aplus, puts it, “The sky is the limit.”
Anesha and Antea had a second to chat with us about their journey that lead them to work with the greatest such as Mary J. Blige to Beyonce. Keep on reading as they step away from writing songs for others for a quick minute and get ready to release their very own debut album out later this month!
The Young Folks: You two have been in the music industry for quite some time! Let’s take it back to the beginning. When was the moment you both realized you want to make a career out of songwriting and pursuing music? What were your first steps to follow your dreams?
Aplus: We were in a singing group with our older sister (Angela) as kids and I think that was the very beginning of us realizing that we were good at this and could make a living. Our folks encouraged us to pursue it on an educational level and we grew even more. We sang in church. We studied classical music and different instruments but also stayed involved locally with other songwriters in aim to connect to the music industry somehow.
The Young Folks: Your family is so musically oriented and talented! Has growing in this type of household impacted how you approach/create music in any way?
Aplus: It absolutely has. We think that is the biggest reason we landed in this line of work. Our dad is a singer and has always performed as long as we can remember. We watched him run his business (Anthony Birchett & Company Enterprises) and how that brought money into the household and fulfilled him as a musician. It was a fantastic first-hand example of how music works as a “job”. He always encouraged songwriting too. He taught us the importance of writing along with singing because we could also make a living from earning royalties.
The Young Folks: You’ve written songs for so many notable artists and television shows, how did that opportunity come about?
Aplus: In 2006, we signed a publishing agreement with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Through that publishing agreement we were introduced into the music industry and exposed to so many amazing opportunities! When that deal ended, we signed to Universal Music Publishing which took us to an even higher level of opportunities.
The Young Folks: When you’re given a new client to write songs for, in general, how do you approach the idea and process of writing a completely new song for someone? (Do you need to talk with the artist directly, are you given a mood board or an idea, etc.)
Aplus: It varies every time. It depends on the need. Sometimes the artist is actually in studio with us and we connect, talk and get a feel of what it is they want to say and how they want to say it and we create from there. Sometimes the label will send a specific artist brief explaining what the artist is looking for melodically and lyrically. They will send accompanying tracks and we write from there without the artist being present. There are even occasions where we will just write a song based on what we are feeling at the time and it becomes a part of our catalog of unreleased music. We will send those songs to labels and artists (based on what they are looking for) and artists/labels will take the song as is.
The Young Folks: When and why did you two decide it was time to step out from behind the scenes and put your faces/voices in the forefront? Were there ever any doubts?
Aplus: Initially our reason was pretty formal. We decided to release our own music to help fulfill our requirement with our publishing company. Somewhat of a strategic business move of sorts. However, as we got into the process of selecting songs and recording we realized it was a much deeper reason for the both of us. We are writers but being on stage is the core of our foundation. The songs on ‘Pride Liberty Detroit’ all have amazing back stories. They are our stories. Our experiences. Our lives. Who better to sing these songs than us?
The Young Folks: From penning songs for other artists to yourselves, what was it like to make music in your own voice versus for someone else’s? How do you differentiate what songs you’ll reserve for yourselves rather than give a piece to another artist?
Aplus: Most of the songs that we write are in “our own voice” unless we are actually with the artist in studio and creating from their experiences. We don’t think there was a real defined moment with this project where decisions were made that certain songs were for APLUS and other songs were not. It just sort of flowed and landed this way.
The Young Folks: What can our readers expect to hear in your debut album Pride Liberty Detroit?
Aplus: Depth. Rawness. Emotion. You will hear us. Our stories. All the triumph, heartbreak, love, worry and life that we have lived so far.
The Young Folks: With songwriting and singing accomplished by both of you, is there an area in music that you’d like to pursue in the near future?
Aplus: The sky is the limit for the both of us. We are so open to all areas of music performance from film scoring to jazz, rock and even gospel performances. Additionally, we are aiming to publish writers and house artists to develop.
The Young Folks: What do you two hope to accomplish in the music industry?
Aplus: A platform to sing real stories in a vulnerable and honest way, talk about the reality of the music industry and be an example to musicians and non-musicians alike. Of course we want the accolades, financial gain and surface success but more than that, we want this whole journey that we have been on to mean something to someone else. To help someone on their journey, whatever that journey is.