In today’s overly crowded music climate, it’s rare when an act immediately grabs your attention—and holds it. The Sledge Grits Band is that welcome rarity.
The girls have a new single called, “Am What I Am”. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fnJSEtZ0Do
Edgy yet infectious pop-rock paired with insightful, positive lyrics is the calling card of this unique sister act. Siblings Keiko (guitarist/songwriter, 21), Ella (bassist, 19), Mimi (lead vocals, 16) and bo-Pah (drummer, 13) comprise the Los Angeles-based group, whose colorful moniker combines the family’s last name—Sledge—with the acronym for “Girls Raised in the Sun.”
Playing together for seven years now, the Sledge Grits Band draws creative inspiration from a wellspring of diverse influences. The sisters’ eclectic family heritage includes Japanese, French, German, African American, Native American, Creole and Irish ties. On the musical side, influences range from P!nk and Kelly Clarkson to Paramore, Taylor Swift, Jimi Hendrix and songwriter Diane Warren. These various cultural influences double as the propelling force behind the band’s arresting style—and determined refusal to be boxed into any one category.
“When people see us, they expect us to be either dance or hip-hop,” says Ella. “But when they hear us, they’re surprised. We’re just a big melting pot of culture. Our sound is a mix of everything in our heritage.”
Out of that multi-cultural melting pot also comes a powerful, passionate artistry that belies the sisters’ young ages. “It’s not often that you find four sisters who happen to pick up music and love to play together,” says Ella, the group’s bassist. Adds songwriter Keiko, “We simply want people to know we just love music; it’s our life. This isn’t manufactured or forced. This is who we are and what we love.”
Case in point is the fierce pop-rock anthem “Am What I Am.” The Sledge Grits Band leaves no doubt as to its sterling songwriting skills, musical chops and performance prowess on this song about staying true to one’s self. As drummer bo-Pah revs up the track’s hard-charging intensity, lead singer Mimi fervently declares, “Who are you to try and tell me who I am / … I am perfectly flawed / I don’t want to be anyone other than me / I am what I am.”
“We can be who we want to be and not let anyone tell us otherwise,” says Keiko. “It’s a relatable message that everyone can grab onto.”
The group is equally adept at taking things down a notch or two as on the moving mid-tempo “We All Fall Down,” written by a then 16-year-old Keiko in 30 minutes. “We all
break down / We all lose faith,” sings a plaintive but determined Mimi. “We all get lost and found again / We all fall down.”
The Sledge Grits Band’s music memories date back to the sisters’ early upbringing in Florida. While their mom played a lot of classic rock records at home, dad was into blues, R&B and hip-hop. “Dad taught us how to dance,” remembers Keiko. “He always thought he was so cool when he would do the cabbage patch or running man. We loved rocking out with our parents.”
A subsequent move to California sparked the girls’ interest in playing music. Homeschooled since the first grade, Keiko, Ella and Mimi added guitar classes to their curriculum. “It all stemmed from there,” recalls Ella. “Keiko stayed with the guitar, while I moved on to the bass. Mimi has a voice that shouldn’t come from someone so young and bo-Pah has a natural sense of rhythm.”
In an interesting side note, bo-Pah gave herself that nickname as a toddler. It was derived from her mispronunciation of the children’s television show Boobah. The family later learned that bo-Pah means “to know thyself” in Kiswahili.
Hardships faced by the sisters growing up —their father’s multiple sclerosis and grandmother’s death—helped shape Keiko’s songwriting skills and further crystalize the group’s natural chemistry. “Music has always been a therapy, an outlet for us,” says Keiko. “When we were stressed or upset, we’d turn to each other and our instruments.”
While the Sledge Grits Band’s first studio album is due later this year, the group has already notched several noteworthy achievements: Among them: appearing on CBS’s The Early Show and NBC’s Next Great Family Band; playing more than 300 live shows, including opening for Ludacris. Along the way, the Sledge Grits Band has also earned shout-outs from such music celebs as Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Grammy-winning producer Jermaine Dupri and MC Hammer, who predicts the quartet is “our future.”
And the Sledge Grits Band is ready to prove just that. The group’s debut album brims with high-energy pop-rock, striking the right balance between fun songs to rock out to and big ballads. “We just want to let listeners in on who we are and what we do,” says Keiko.
Adds Ella, “We have a clear perspective of who we are and what space we want to occupy in the music industry. These seven years have molded us into the artists we want to be. Before this, people would have told us who they wanted us to be. Now is the perfect time.”
For more information contact Dorsey Fuller at 424-442-0482 firstname.lastname@example.org
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