Introducing Nalani and Sarina Bolton.
Born to folk-music-loving parents, Nalani and Sarina attended concerts and sing-a-longs in the womb, eventually joining in vocally themselves at about age five. Their formal classical piano training began a year later. Mother Bolton made sure their informal music education included all the great songwriters Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as well as the Beatles and Alanis Morissette. Sarina recalls: I told my mom that I fell asleep thinking about music and woke up thinking about it too. I think thats when she knew she was in trouble. Songwriting, which became their greatest passion, followed soon after. Its my therapy, says Sarina, its the best way I have of expressing my emotions. Adds Nalani, If our songs can have a positive effect on someone, make them feel not so alone, then thats what makes us want to keep writing songs.
For the past three years they have been performing original material throughout the Northeastin places such as World Caf Live (both Philadelphia and Wilmington), Milkboy, Godfrey Daniels, John & Peters, Steel City, Burlap and Bean (all in PA), the Bitter End (NYC), the Stone Pony (NJ), and the Fez (CT); as well as a number of college campuses including Rutgers, Rowan, Montclair, and Loyola (MD). Theyve also been featured in a variety of music festivals including Ladybug Festival, Bethlehems Musikfest, Cape Mays Singer/Songwriter Festival, and Black Potato Festival. On radio, their song Start All Over was selected as WXPNs Philly Local Pick of the Day, and they have twice been featured guests on the Sirius XM program Kick out the Jams hosted by legendary music critic, Dave Marsh. In January 2014, Nalani & Sarina released their first full-length album, Lessons Learned. Designed to present them to a wider audience, it features 14 of their original songs, produced by Greg Drew and Julian Herzfeld. Critic for NPR, David Bianculli says, The songs on their debut CD all seem to have hooks, and both the musicianship and recording quality of Lessons Learned are impressively, surprisingly high. In addition to Nalani & Sarinas playing and singing, the album features the considerable talents of some of NYCs finest musicians Will Lee (bass), Joe Bonadio (drums), and Tommy Mandel (keys), Leni Stern (guitar) and Tom 'Bones Malone (horns). Says Nalani: Music means everything to me. Why would I not want to do it as a career?
While Nalani and Sarina have all the requisite attributes for a successful modern pop careerbeauty, charm, intelligencetheres much, much more. As Nalani puts it, We didnt take all those lessons and spend all those hours practicing so we could lip-sync to pre-recorded tracks. Sarina says, I cant remember NOT singing! We just want to be on stage and perform for everyone as long as we can.
Meaningful songs, tastefully played and soulfully sung with amazing harmoniesall wrapped up in a contemporary package. Celebrated music critic, Dave Marsh, sums it up best:
To see and hear them now, its hard to believe they might not always be this cute and fresh, but listen to their music a bit closer and youll realize they wont have to be.
Sometimes the over-used superlatives are true: Unique. Special. Nalani & Sarina.