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"Working with the Boltons, it seems easy to predict that they’ll be with us for a long time. So, prepare yourself to be constantly surprised by the musical wit and wisdom of these two giant stars."
-Legendary bass player Will Lee
The two most over-used words in the music business are “special” and “unique.” But how else would you describe identical twin, teenage sisters who write, play, and sing with a depth and ability far beyond their years?
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 that’s when she knew she was in trouble.”
Songwriting, which became their greatest passion, followed soon after. “It’s my therapy,” says Sarina, “it’s 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 that’s what makes us want to keep writing songs.”
For the past three years they have been performing original material throughout the Northeast—in places such as World Café 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). They've also been featured in a variety of music festivals including Ladybug Festival, Bethlehem's Musikfest, Cape May's Singer/Songwriter Festival, and Black Potato Festival. On radio, their song "Start All Over" was selected as WXPN's 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. In addition to Nalani & Sarina's playing and singing, the album features the considerable talents of some of NYC's 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 career—beauty, charm, intelligence—there’s much, much more. As Nalani puts it, “We didn’t take all those lessons and spend all those hours practicing so we could lip-sync to pre-recorded tracks.” Sarina says, “I can’t 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 harmonies—all wrapped up in a contemporary package. Celebrated music critic, Dave Marsh, sums it up best:
"To see and hear them now, it’s hard to believe they might not always be this cute and fresh, but listen to their music a bit closer and you’ll realize they won’t have to be."
Sometimes the over-used superlatives are true: Unique. Special. Nalani & Sarina.