Marie Sisters Biography
Last updated: 05/29/2003 03:12:41 AM
These ambitious girls are true to their roots. Singing has always been a way of life for the Marie Sisters who grew up in Texas as members of a musical family.
Although their home base was the Dallas area, the family spent much of their time touring around Texas and the surrounding states singing at churches and tent revivals. “Our dad is an evangelist so we’ve been gypsies our entire lives,” Chaz says. “We were like the Partridge Family,” Kessie adds. “There were eight or nine of us packed on one bus and we’d go from church to church singing as a family while our dad would minister. Mom even made our costumes.” “I got in on the tail end of it,” Chaz says. “My parents cut two LP’s as the Marie Family. My mom was pregnant with me on one of the album covers.” Chaz and Kessie come from sound musical lineage.
Their mother was a member of the Singing Pages as a young girl. She opened for the likes of Elvis and Hank Williams on the Grand Ole Opry. “They were offered a record deal on Decca Records,” Kessie says. “But my mother’s parents didn’t want them living that kind of lifestyle.” It’s no surprise then that the sisters would continue singing as their childhood years melted away. For more than a decade, the Marie Sisters have been together as a duo, performing in clubs all over Texas.
“We made our living touring in clubs until we moved to Nashville,” Kessie says. “Once we got to Nashville, I worked for a pharmaceutical company and Chaz worked for a military firm full time. We had bills to pay and we wrote and made demos while we were in Nashville. We did some weekend shows and sang out at Douglas Corner and Bongo Java and places like that.” The sisters were also enlisted to sing on several of multi-platinum singer Leann Rimes’ chart topping singles.
The three-year stint in Nashville proved to be a worthy education for the Marie Sisters. While living in Music City, Chaz and Kessie hooked up with noted songwriter and producer, Max T. Barnes, who produced eight of the twelve tracks on the Marie Sisters debut CD for Universal Records. “Max is absolutely wonderful,” Kessie says.
“We fell in love with him when we met him. The personalities clicked and the creativity was there. We have a great working relationship.”Barnes took Chaz and Kessie into the recording studio to capture the unique sound the Marie Sisters cultivated in roadhouses. Whether they’re in a down-home country mood, rockin’ with a cool groove or putting heart and soul into a tender ballad, what defines the Marie Sisters’ sound is their intimate vocal interplay and modern attitude. The CD showcases Chaz and Kessie’s versatility from the lighthearted feistiness of “Real Bad Mood” to the aching vulnerability of “Still” to the spiritual faith of “You Were A Mountain.” “There’s really not a word to describe our music,” Kessie says. “We’re in between country and pop with a little edge. It’s fresh and different and that’s the challenge we took on.”
“We’re real proud of it,” Chaz adds. “It has a big sound to it, not over produced but it’s different in that, although it’s a duo, it’s a full sound. It’s really cool.” “There are so many good songs on the album,” Kessie says. “One of my favorites is “Real Bad Mood” which was written by Leslie Satcher. It’s definitely a woman’s anthem. It’s got so much of an attitude. I think all women can relate to this song.” “We covered a Brian McKnight song called “Still” and that’s my favorite cut,”Chaz says. “When we started looking for songs, Brian had just come out with his CD, Superhero. I’m a huge fan of his. Mark Wills has covered a few of Brian’s songs but we’d never heard a female do it. When we heard “Still” I just bawled. It’s such a powerful song and really tears at your heartstrings. I get so emotional when I sing it or listen to it. It’s Brian’s current single and doing very well in the pop Top 40.”Producer Guy Roche, who has worked with artists like Christina Aguilera, “N Sync, Celine Dion and Cher, produced the cut “Bring It On Back,” “The song was cowritten by Jason Sellers,” Kessie says. “It’s one of my favorite cuts. It has a little bit of an r&b feel to it mixed in with country. It’s a pretty ballad.”
Helping to sustain the contemporary feel to the record, 80’s pop star Richard Marx co-wrote and produced two tracks, “I Will Hold On” and “If I Fall In Love.” New York producers Sheppard and Kenny Gioia also add producer credits to the Marie Sisters debut for “Kiss Me Goodbye.” “We were kind of worried about having that many producers on one album, but it flowed together nicely,” Kessie says. “All the songs fit together cohesively and the producers all complement each other well.”
It wouldn’t be a Marie Sisters album without a nod to their family and spiritually. “You Were A Mountain” was written by Max T. Barnes and Trey Bruce. “If you listen to the words to this song coming from a spiritual background with strong faith and family ties, the words to this song just fit,” Kessie says. “Being in the entertainment industry is not easy. You come across a lot of obstacles and you hear a lot of negativity. This is an angel song. I cry when I hear it because it’s so meaningful to me and it gets me through the bad times.”
The spiritual “Circle Of Love” reminds Chaz of the close family ties she and her sister are fortunate enough to share. “Our family is very close,” she says. “My family is important to me and there is a circle of love around us. It’s my comfort zone. I know I can always depend on my family.”
“There are four of us who are real brothers and sisters,” Kessie adds. “My parents also raised her sister’s son, they adopted a boy with cerebral palsy and raised one or two other kids off and on that were in and out of the household. At any given time, there were six to eight of us in the house. We’re very tight knit. My parents are the most unbelievable parents in the world. Love is what got us through everything. If you don’t have love, you have nothing.”
Their unwavering love of music has brought the Marie Sisters to this juncture in their lives.
“Singing is in our blood and music has always been a huge influence on us,” Chaz says. “I grew up listening to Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and Bryan White. I have every album that Trisha has ever done. Bryan has so much soul in him. They’ve all had a huge influence on me as an artist.” “There is one woman who will never be surpassed in country music in my eyes and that’s Reba McEntire,” Kessie says. “She is my idol. I love her. I love what she stands for. I hope my career is as long and successful as hers has been.”
The Marie Sisters have one goal with their music: To reach out and touch someone. “If I can touch one soul with my music then I’ve completed my task,” Kessie says. “Music is a therapy and reaches into the depth of one’s soul.” Chaz sums it up for both sisters. “One of my uncle’s band students had a saying framed for him, and they are the words we live by: For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.”