EXCLUSIVE: Interview With 2 Steel Girls
Two weeks ago, Blake Shelton picked the first duo of the season on NBC’s The Voice, the mother-daughter team of 2 Steel Girls. It was a big moment for the pair, who have had to hide the secret of being on Team Blake since the episode was taped earlier this year. For country fans who are wondering just who exactly the talented pair are, we sat down for a call last week with the friendly, and sweet, ladies to find out exactly who they were and what fans can expect from them musically. Turns out the second time was the lucky one for one member.
The duo is a family affair: with Allison Steel (mom) and Krystal Steel (daughter). Their son/brother and father/husband are part of their band, and you know they’ll be going places when their first live performance was at the iconic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.
Get to know the duo before they make it big – because they will. While they earned America’s attention with their blind audition of Carrie Underwood‘s “Before He Cheats,” find out why Krystal isn’t such a fan of the performance (but the coaches were!).
Check out our exclusive interview with 2 Steel Girls from The Voice below and let us know what you think about Team Blake’s chances for a repeat championship this year:
First of all, how hard was it for you girls to keep it a secret that you made Team Blake?
Krystal: Oh my gosh, it was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. We came home so excited and we couldn’t even tell anybody. It was really rough (laughs).
What were your thoughts when you first walked out on that stage?
Allison: I was fine, Krystal was nervous.
Krystal: Oh my gosh, I was so nervous. For me it really hit me that all of it was real. I watched it last season, so when you go in and it doesn’t feel real.. for me, it didn’t feel real until the day of the audition. We were getting our hair and makeup done backstage and we saw the person in front of us go and the chair turned around for them. I was like, oh my gosh this is real! I’m about to go up on that stage and sing in front of those four superstars, and I’m gonna be on television. It was just a surreal thing. I was so nervous. Other people may not know me personally, so they might not be able to look at us and see how nervous I was. I told my Mom, I was like, I’m so nervous! I started singing off key because I was so nervous, and I was thinking.. this is the first thing they’ll know about me and I’m off key?
Allison: (laughs). I saw some people online that said that you were off-key, and I’m like, I’m sorry for God sakes we’re singing in front of Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green… how can you not be nervous? For me I wasn’t nervous at all when we walked out on stage, and the crowd started cheering and screaming. Immediately I was intimidated and felt like my heart had sunk. Then the music started and we couldn’t hear the music because the crowd was so loud (laughs), and Krystal started singing and I couldn’t tell what key I was supposed to sing in so I followed her. It was horrible! I couldn’t hear her, I couldn’t hear the music. So, anyway, we were nervous the whole entire time from the beginning to the end.
If Blake didn’t turn around, do you girls know who you would have picked instead?
Allison: We really didn’t know exactly who we were going to pick, we kind of left it up in the air. We were hoping that Christina would turn around because we were thinking that we would probably go with Christina, but she didn’t. So, when Blake turned around and Cee-Lo… I told Krystal before we went out to The Voice that I loved Cee-Lo and thought he was so cool. But he scares me because I thought he would probably put me out on some high wire later on down the road (laughs).
Krystal: I can’t dance! I thought he’d make us dance. But she told me it was my decision, and you can see on the show that I kind of raised my hand up to talk to her, because we didn’t have a chance to talk to each other after everything Blake and Cee-Lo said. We liked how Blake said that he liked us together and wouldn’t split us up. We had people say, ‘oh, he’s just saying that to get you on his team,’ and maybe he did, but we believe him and feel what he said. That’s why we ultimately decided we wanted to go with him.
Your audition reminded me a lot of Gwen Sebastian‘s from last season in how country you two sounded.
Krystal: I was just talking about Gwen with my Mom today, we really are big fans of hers and we really love her music!
Allison: We’ve never had the chance to meet her, but we’d love to someday. She’s really cool and she kind of has the same story as me. People have been telling me to just give up and quit because I was too old, or you know, they just wanted my daughter to do things on her own. We wanted to do things on our own, that’s just how we’re used to doing it. I said this year that I was going to retire from music, and I actually said, God, please take away the passion for it because without the passion I just wouldn’t do music. I wouldn’t know how to do a regular job everyday with the passion. It was maybe a week later when I was walking down the road near our house talking to God when The Voice called. I thought.. wow, this is so weird!
Now I’m looking at everything all these people said, who told me to retire, you know, and now I know that you should never give up on your dreams. That’s what Gwen taught us when she was on last season – to never give up on your dreams. We’re both big dreamers, and when I’m old I want to look back and know that I gave it my very best and I really did try, even when someone told me I should just stop.
What does the rest of your family think about you being on The Voice?
Allison: Oh my gosh, they are so excited!
Krystal: It’s funny because when you watch the video, my Dad and brother, who are such softies anyway, you can see that before we even started singing that they were already crying. There was just big balls of tears the whole time! But they are just so, so excited and have been so encouraging when we decided to do it. We’re a family band and we always have been even before we tried out for The Voice. It’s always been my Mother and I singing, my brother plays guitar, and my Dad on the drums… so it’s something that we talked to them about since it was only going to be me and Mom singing to see if they would be okay with it. They said yes. They’re right here behind us five thousand percent, they’re our biggest support. They’ll do anything for us, not only if we need something for music, they support us in everything we do everyday.
Who would you consider to be your inspirations?
Krystal: I don’t know as far as musically, I think we draw from a lot of different genres. I’m very much a fan of country music. You couldn’t tell on television because they had me all dressed up, but I’m very much a ball-cap and t-shirt girl from the country. I love fishing and country music. I’m really inspired by bluesy and soulful music; I love B.B. King and Etta James. That’s stuff that I pull from.
Allison: Mine are a lot different. I grew up with my Mom listening to Elvis all the time, so even as a teenager, even though Elvis was dead, my Mom still always had on Elvis records. I just loved Elvis… I remember dancing around as a little girl with the hairbrush in the mirror. It’s so funny because so many people remember doing that with Elvis. I was singing songs like “Love Me Tender,” “Won’t You Be My Teddy Bear,” and “Jailhouse Rock.” I just loved him. I also love Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson… I’ve never really told anybody this but I’d really love to sing with Willie Nelson. My grandmother was a huge Willie Nelson fan. I would love to do that, I would probably faint, but I’d love it!
I saw that you girls put out your own single “Chasing You.” Can you share a little about it?
Krystal: That was actually a song that I had written, and really the first song that I’ve ever wrote. That’s when we first got really into being 2 Steel Girls. My Mom and I have been together for years performing, but it was mostly in churches. We’ve really only sang as a duo in the last two years or so. There was just a point where we realized we should just be a duo because we sing together all the time anyway. It was just something that I wrote, it’s a personal experience. The song is about how as a girl there’s guys who might like you for a second and you get sick of that and want to be strong enough, independent enough, to have confidence to say you really don’t need to deal with that and that you’re going to wait for someone who’s worth it. It’s something really relate-able and something that everyone goes through. We took the song and made a video, and some of our producer friends here liked it and we released it as our first single of 2 Steel Girls about a year ago.
Allison: We released it as an independent.
Krystal: Yeah, we released it ourselves, we’re not on any kind of label. We met up with some guys who were some really talented videographers and they offered to shoot the video for us. So we recorded it all here, and it was really cool and looks really professional. (laughs) I saw people on YouTube saying that it’s not fair we’re on The Voice because we’re established artists. I was like, I’m not on any label but we’ll take it as a compliment! We’re always so excited to get to do things like that.
So, what lead to the decision to start playing together as a duo?
Krystal: We’ve performed together since I was about 13; I’m 23 now. My Mom’s family, and my Dad’s family, the grandparents – they all do music. Everyone in my family does music. It’s weird but every family has something they like to do – for some its sports, but for us its music for generations. My great grandfather used to travel around and play fiddle across the United States. It’s just something that we’ve done forever and its something that everybody in my family loves. We all sing and we all play some kind of music. It’s something that brings us joy and something that we can all do together. It’s really, really fun for us.
About two years ago my Mom retired from doing Church Music and she started going out and performing. My brother played for her, my Father played drums, so I would go and sing background, but I would sing lead sometimes on songs. My Mom said that she didn’t like to go by Allison Steel or the Allison Steel band, we’re a family band. People would compare us to the Partridge Family and I was like oh no (laughs). We figured we should just be a group and not just a solo artist because our whole family is into it. We went to play our first show at the Bluebird Cafe last year in April, and they asked us “well, what do you call yourselves?”. We weren’t really sure because we were still in the process of changing it over, so we talked to our producers and they said, well, just go by 2 Steel Girls for now and you can put it on the poster. That’s what we used for that show, and The Voice ended up calling us pretty soon after so it just kind of stuck. My Mom and I are not big fans of the name, but if people like it then great! That’s what people know us by, so.
If you could sing with anybody from any genre who would you pick?
Krystal: Oh my goodness, I have no idea! That is hard. (laughs). If I could pick someone I would probably say Etta James, but of course she passed away. I just find her so inspiring, and not only because she’s a great singer, but when she sings she puts her whole heart and soul into every note. I love so many genres of music and so many singers, but I love her. When she sang she put her heart into it and you felt it in her music.
Allison: Willie Nelson. I love me some Willie.
If you could put together your dream tour, who would you pick?
Krystal: Blake Shelton. Not only is he a great artist, he’s awesome. He’s a fun person around and he is so funny and very light hearted, and he doesn’t take himself real seriously which is what we love ’cause we don’t either. We just want to live life and so does he, so I think it would be an awesome fit.
What lead to the choice to audition for The Voice? Whose idea was it originally?
Krystal: It was actually my Mom’s! She had auditioned for the very first season when she was just doing music solo. No one had even heard of The Voice yet and they still weren’t sure what they were going to name it. She went and auditioned and said that she had gotten so nervous that she came home and told us that she knew she didn’t do well and that she didn’t sound anything like she normally does. She decided, well, maybe we should try out this year! The show has gotten its feet and we were more prepared because we’ve practiced a lot more and wanted to try and see how it goes.
I saw that you ladies are getting pretty active on Twitter with fans… who normally does most of it?
Krystal: I do most of that! One good thing about being a duo is that we can tag team the media that we’ve been doing, so my Mom has been doing the Facebook stuff. I think she’s trying to keep up with the YouTube in terms of the videos we’ve already posted and what people have been commenting on, and I’ve been trying to keep up with our Twitter. It is so much to keep up with but we’re so excited that we’re getting all of this recognition and that people are following us and wanting to talk to us! Blake actually Tweeted to us earlier today and said “are you guys following my new duo?” and in like 30 minutes we had close to 500 new followers, so that was pretty cool (laughs).
Is it still hard to believe that you were on The Voice?
Krystal: It is! I ended up quitting my job just because we travel so much with the show. I worked in a bank for five years and I went out to eat last night with the girls I used to work with, and they’re like ‘how does it feel?’ and asking all sorts of questions. Of course I can only say a few things, but I got tell them I hugged Blake Shelton. I don’t feel any different, I just feel like Krystal from a small town in Tennessee that runs around with a bunch of guy friends in a baseball hat.
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