Identical twin sisters Kate & Kacey Coppola first gained national exposure on CMT's "Can You Duet" last year as the duo tried to win the reality contest. Judge Naomi Judd constantly voiced her displeasure with the sisters, for whatever reason and that lead to many people, including fellow contestants being befuddled at what happend. In an exclusive interview with Roughstock, Kate & Kacey discuss their experience with the show, how they took a negative and turned it into a positive and how they came to write a song with ACM-winning songwriter Jamey Johnson. The duo also discussed their first single and what inspired them to write it.
Matt: So where are you from?
Kacey: We grew up in Denver, CO. We were born in Des Moines, IA but moved to Denver when we were three so Denver is home.
Matt: So what drew you to country music?
Kate: Growing up in Colorado, it was always the mountains and John Denver and we loved singer songwriters. Obviously we’re identical twins so we have that family harmony…we loved big voices, great hooks, acoustic guitars and great story telling, that’s country to us.
Matt: So you were born singing, you always knew you wanted to be singers?
Kate: Yeah, we really enjoyed our childhood and sang throughout different avenues but it was 18, we moved away from home and our dad gave us his Martin guitar and we started strumin’ it and writing our songs. That’s when we kinda started thinking, ‘hey maybe we can make a living at it.’ We never thought of doing anything else…
Kacey: Because when you’re 15 or 16, you never think of making a living, you just want to sing…
Matt: So you guys have a cut on George Strait’s album (“House With No Doors”) and you wrote it with Jamey Johnson. That had to be a pretty fun and cool thing for you…
Kate: It’s probably the coolest thing that’s happened to us so far. We were living in LA going to school out there when we met Jamey and we became friends and just started writing. We wrote it at four in the morning and a few months later we heard he had put it on hold…
Matt: I hope that they release that as the final single on his record…
Kate: We’ve Heard rumors. Wouldn’t that be amazing…
Kacey: It’s just a cool story song that really isn’t out right now, I’d freak out. Let’s just put it out there, I’d have a heart attack. We love the song; we love Jamey and Thanks to George for recording it.
Matt: So you’ve written more than that song with Jamey?
Kate: Yeah, we’ve written a lot with Jamey, he’s a good guy. He deserves all of their success.
Matt: How did you guys decide to go onto “Can You Duet?”
Kate: It was a hard decision for us to make because we never thought we’d do the reality TV thing because we’d been working here, writing, traveling, and performing. But it came about and the show was happening whether we wanted it to or not and it was a country show for duos in Nashville, everything that we are so we just decided to stop being scared and threw our hat into the ring. We auditioned and we made it as far as we could. We got 4th place, it was a really crazy experience, a really good one and a really bad one. Overall, it made us stronger.
Matt: While the Naomi stuff must’ve been tough, the overall experience lead you to where you are now, signed to Big Machine Records….
Kacey: Yeah and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Kate: Absolutely, and our skin is now so tough….
Matt: Maybe that’s why she was breaking you down…
Kacey: Maybe. You never know and you know what, I’ll be forever thankful for that because we needed it. You have to be able to let that stuff roll off your shoulders.
Kate: Maybe we’ll be able to ask her someday. We now know that not everyone’s gonna like you.
Matt: The only thing I didn’t get about the whole situation was that your harmony, particularly on “You’re Not My Judge,” the high harmony kinda sounds like the judds.
Kacey: We were so excited to meet her because we loved the Judds and they were a hugely successful female duo.
Kate: We were working to learn a lot from her, but it just didn’t turn out that way but maybe someday.
Matt: well maybe you learned something from Brett Manning and Aimee Mayo…
Kacey: Totally, they were willing to tell us things to get better whereas she (Naomi) would only tell us “I don’t like you,” which you can’t really work with.
Matt: That’s not very constructive…
Kacey: Yeah, It was hard but we got through it and we wrote a song…
Matt: Which was your first national exposure as an iTunes single.
Kate: Yeah, all of our songs are personal but that one was one where millions of people experienced that situation with us and maybe they feel it even more because of that.
Matt: Perhaps there are people who are like Naomi that just didn’t like you…
Kacey: There are those out there that really don’t like us but that’s OK because no matter you do there are gonna be people who don’t like you.
Kate: Well, the worst thing that could happen would be to run into people who are indifferent to what you do; you want the people to feel something either good or bad.
Matt: You have the debut single coming out, can you tell us what it is?
Kacey: It’s a song called “Dreaming Love” and we wrote it a couple of months ago…
Matt: At least it’s not “Bleeding Love,” That’s the one thing I didn’t like about that song, love hurts so bad that you’re bleeding?
Kacey: (laughing) apparently…
Kate: We joked about that song as we wrote this song but with this song it’s a really personal song for Kacey and I whereas “You’re Not My Judge” says “nobody can tell me not to follow my dreams, I’m gonna follow them anyway,” this one’s sorta like that but it’s more talking about your own personal demons. I was being “Debbie Downer” and was like “Kacey, this isn’t the first time you’ve fallen in love” you’ve had your heart broken so many times” and please slow down because this isn’t the first time you’ve fallen in love and you’ve had your heart broken so many times that I don’t think your heart or my heart could take that happening.”
And she came right back at me with “when it comes to love, especially in this economy and with everyone is having doubts. When it comes to love, especially we have to have hope and be positive, you have to live life positively, and dreaming love. That’s where it came from. And at this point in our career it can be very scary because you’re not sure what critics, radio or the fans are gonna say, or anything. You just have to stop living afraid and just do it, dreaming love.
Matt: So is the single on the EP?
Kate: No it’s not, because we wrote it after that came out.
Kacey: The EP we did, we were lucky enough to release six songs, a great collection of songs that we wrote over the last year. We were on tour with Little Big Town for the month of February and we wanted something we could get to fans and give to radio people when we went on the Radio tours. So Scott let us put out the EP and you can get it at iTunes and our MySpace.
Matt: It will be on iTunes soon, I’m sure…Your label is good at doing that and maybe it will be a iTunes single of the week.
Both: Yeah, that would be very cool.
Matt: Here is a couple of fun ‘twin questions…’ Who’s the most serious of the two?
Kate: Me. I don’t know if it’s because older and that I just fell into that role or that it’s something inside of me, I’m type A, a little more controlling.
Matt: I asked the Carter Twins this next question, did you play any tricks on anyone growing up.
Kate: We were always together because we were always singing and stuff so we didn’t play a lot of tricks, and one time in high school, it wasn’t even a trick but I’d been dating this one guy and she went out and did it for me.
Kacey: It was like a band-aid, just pulled it off. (laughing) but he deserved it if he couldn’t tell us apart (both laugh)…