Local sisters, 11 and 14, harmonizing their way to Nashville
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Sunday, December 23, 2012
12/23/12 at 4:46 AM
The Herrold sisters each keep a journal - not of the day's happenings, per se, but of songs they've written.
"Over 50," guessed Hannah Herrold, 14.
"I don't write nearly as often as Hannah," said 11-year-old Abby. "I've written about 10 songs."
Still, that's more than many folks do, be they 11, 14, 30-something, whatever age.
But the Herrold sisters have a plan, one that dictates their capitalizing the S in sisters - it's their stage name, after all.
The Herrold Sisters - both of whom write songs, sing and play guitar - perform at venues around town, from frozen-yogurt parlors to busy Brookside restaurants. They've also been on stages in Arkansas, Florida, the Grapevine Opry in Texas, and the Branson Landing in Missouri.
And Nashville, the capital of country music, where they'll be heading again soon after Christmas for two full days in a studio.
All this and they've been playing guitar not quite two years - or not quite one, in Hannah's case.
"We are a singing family," said Amanda Herrold, the girls' mother. That family also includes dad Daniel and the youngest child, Ellie Grace.
"We constantly have music in the house and in the car, and are singing and harmonizing," Amanda Herrold said. "It's just a love that we have."
'The rest is history'
In a way, the two oldest daughters' musical journey began at Christmas, when Abby was given a guitar in 2010, Daniel Herrold said.
She had been asking her parents for a guitar, he said, hinting that Grammy-winner and guitar-strummer Taylor Swift's popularity may have had something to do with that.
Abby was excited and wanted to take lessons. She had a few of them in school music class, he said, but mostly she taught herself by watching YouTube videos.
Then, for Christmas 2011, Hannah received a guitar, too, and learned via YouTube just like Abby did.
"It kinda took off," Daniel Herrold said. "They started playing a ton upstairs at our house, singing and playing together."
The family planned a trip to Nashville early this summer, and Amanda Herrold thought it would be fun to find the girls a venue there in which to play, Daniel Herrold said. They stumbled upon a local production company who booked them, "and the rest is history."
Since then, they have performed in more than half a dozen venues.
Cara Leavitt and her daughter, Abby, both of Tulsa, heard them for the first time in Florida.
"We love to hear them," said Cara, whose daughter, Olivia, is best friends with Abby. "They're super-cute, and they harmonize really well together."
The next time the Leavitts heard them was at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt here in town.
"They do guitar really well," said Olivia, who remembers their covers of Swift's "Our Song" and One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."
"I like Taylor Swift because I can relate to her songs," said Hannah, who also likes Carrie Underwood. "It think it's cool that she (Underwood) is from Oklahoma, and also cool that it took her several tries to make it big, and she kept trying."
Abby is a fan of The Band Perry, particularly Kimberly Perry, who inspires her to write.
She prefers singing different songs on the radio "because it paints a picture in my mind about what's going on in their life," she said.
For Hannah, she likes to sing the songs she writes herself.
"I like going back to old songs that I wrote and seeing how they've improved," she said.
When she plays guitar, "it's like I'm leaving my life for a minute and entering a whole different world," Hannah said.
For Abby, it's all about getting her feelings out, as well as a different perspective.
And when it comes to doing all this in front of folks, the two seem quite comfortable with it.
"It's easier to sing to a big crowd than to, like, one person," Abby said.
"I agree with that," Hannah chimed in. "Also, in the beginning, I would get nervous."
Now, though? Not so much.
To sit back and watch their daughters perform is "amazing," Amanda Herrold said.
"They look comfortable and relaxed, and it seems like that's what they were meant to do," she said. "They are confident and poised on stage, and it just amazes us."
As long as they're having fun, Amanda and Daniel Herrold will support their girls' dreams.
"We don't want them to feel pressured, just supported," he said. "Everything so far has been a great experience."
The Herrolds are looking forward to the sisters' cutting their first demo in Nashville this Christmas break.
"They will learn so much, and, honestly, if nothing ever comes from it, it's a fantastic experience," Daniel Herrold said.
But Hannah and Abby have goals - like a CD and more gigs.
"Long term, I'd like to go on tour and get a contract with a big company," Hannah said.
"Me, too," Abby agreed.
For now, they're happiest at home - "when I'm with my family," Abby said.
"When I'm in my room," Hannah said, "playing my guitar and writing songs."
And, no doubt, maintaining those journals.
For more, check out their website, tulsaworld.com/theherroldsisters
Where are they next?
Here are The Herrold Sisters’ next
Jan. 5, Nashville
Jan. 12, Rodeo Opry, Oklahoma City
March 9, Mikayla Joe’s Southwest
Opry, Altus on March 9
May 3, Junior League’s “First Fridays,”
Zarrow Art Center
For more, tulsaworld.com/theherroldsisters.
Original Print Headline: Hark! the Herrold sisters sing
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483
Hannah Herrold (left), 14, and sister Abby Herrold, 11, play their opening number during a recent performance at Doc's. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Hannah Herrold (left), 14, and sister Abby Herrold, 11, play their guitars and sing at Doc's. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World