Like a lot of sisters, Kalina and Kiana Campion were opposites growing up. Kiana the disorderly extrovert never held a grudge too long, while Kalina shy more on the shy side as she kept her room neat, and needed time to get over her anger when she and her sister got into an argument about this and that. While their relationship mirrors many, they got over the things that made them different from one another and started to focus on their shared interest; music. Being the daughters of a professional musician, Kalina noted music was “in our veins.” So to some they may always be the Campion sisters, but to the music world, they’re Rocky’s Revival.
Many would agree they love their brothers and sisters but creating a career with them? That’s bound to bring up old memories of fighting over mom and dad’s affection, right? That doesn’t seem to be the case for Rocky’s Revival. They’ve been making music together for years and continue to do so on their latest EP, Newspaper Dream, out February 19. Now let’s hear more from Kalina as she tells us what it’s like to share not only her life with her sister, but her career and musical aspirations.
Kendra: Your differences didn’t create a wall between you two. You started a band when you were barely in middle school in 2007. When you both started to show interest in music, was it more about the bonding of it all – or were one of you hesitant like, well…I don’t want to do what she’s doing…
Rocky’s Revival: We did music individually when we were really young. Piano lessons, singing with friends in grade school shows. We were two years apart in school. Best friends and play buddies when we were alone, but when we were with our friends and classmates, we didn’t hang together. Two years is a big deal when you’re a little kid. Kiana was a pitcher in softball. She learned that her catcher played the drums. The catcher’s Dad talked us into getting together. We asked Kalina to join us on keyboard. It was very organic. At our first rehearsal, my Dad played guitar and the drummer’s Dad played bass. It was a blast. As we formed the band (with girls our age), one of the biggest challenges that Kalina and I faced was – who was going to sing lead on which songs.
Kendra: Back then you were part of a band then Disney came calling, you didn’t answer due to the importance of friendship, the band became a great memory and now it’s just you two. How has your work dynamic changed since then? You’ve not only downsized members, but have also grown up a bit.
Rocky’s Revival: Our dynamic is very different now. We’ve gone to great lengths to achieve balance. For example, on our latest EP – Newspaper Dream, out of the five songs, we each sing lead on two and we share the lead on the fifth song. We’ve found that “the sum is greater than its parts” in our situation. Our niche is that “sibling harmony” thing. We feel it when we’re doing it. We hope other people do too!
Kendra: When you two sit down to create music, do you put being sisters to the side and just come together as writing partners?
Rocky’s Revival: Absolutely. You have to. But it’s a delicate balance. We’ve shared so many life experiences and that comes into the writing, but we also have to leave the baggage at the door when we sit down to write. We assume this happens in all partnerships, but it’s probably magnified with a sister.
Kendra: How often do you knock heads when in the creative process, and how do you resolve these little bumps in the road – do you sometimes make your parents come in?
Rocky’s Revival: Because we’re sisters, we both think alike. This makes songwriting really easy. Our song “Places We Would Go” was written in 30 minutes. But, sometimes there are long (dramatic) pauses – or extended moments of silence when we’re writing. It doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, we both dig our heels in to fight for what we think is the best idea or direction. Sometimes there’s negotiation – “Okay, if we do that on the bridge…then I want to do this on the 3rd verse…” If we get into a real stand still, then we’ll run it by our Dad (and not tell him which idea belongs to which one of us) and get his opinion. Sometimes it’s the only way to break a tie. But for the most part we agree on things when we’re writing. The better idea always wins in the end.
Kendra: You obviously get through the hardships that come up and onlookers can see the connection you have. On your EP, Places We Would Go, you split things down the middle. Was that a conscious decision built in from years of learning how to share with one another, or was it what just worked for the songs?
Rocky’s Revival: A little bit of both. We do what we can to achieve balance on things that we can control. But you never know which song is going to connect with people. Eventually there will be a time when one song gets more attention than others – whoever sings lead on that, might get more attention. But these things are temporary. We’re in this for the long haul. We’re each pulling our own weight and we want to be support the other. We want Rocky’s Revival to succeed, but we’ll be sisters forever.
Kendra: A lot of siblings could not and would not choose to work together. What words of encouragement do you have for those naysayers who think it could never work?
Rocky’s Revival: It sounds rough, but – “You’ve got to get over yourself.” Partnerships and teamwork are critical to being successful in life. Lifting up the other person will come back and reward you. Way back in the early days with our first band “The Raymies”, we got more attention then the other girls, because we were lead singers. At an Aerosmith show, people gravitate to Steven Tyler for interviews, etc. This happened with us in The Raymies. Our Dad used to manage The Raymies and would tell us to “lift up the other girls” at every opportunity – give them the front seat of the van on the way to a gig, etc. These things do make a difference. We try to lift each other up whenever we can. Respect. A little can go a long way.
Kendra: What is the biggest high about always having your sister around when you work?
Rocky’s Revival: Familiarity. Family. Friendship. We’re never alone on stage. We’ve got each other’s backs. Neither of us would want to pursue a solo career. In Rocky’s Revival, we can always be ourselves. It’s great not having to wear makeup when we come to rehearsal. We don’t need to impress each other in that way.
Kendra: On the flip side , what’s the biggest low of always having your sister around when you work?
Rocky’s Revival: Bringing business into family (especially between sisters) can be a tough road to navigate, but when we’re making music together, it’s all worth while.