Aly & AJ Compare Favorite Sister Duos, Childhood Memories & More


Pop-rock sister duo Aly & AJ independently released May’s Sanctuary EP, the follow-up to 2017 EP Ten Years, which marked the former Disney stars’ first new release in a decade and showcased a more synth-driven sound. Now on the road in support of the new tunes, Aly, 30, and AJ Michalka, 28, compare how much they have in common.

Aly: We had a killer playset. We would use piping from our dad’s construction jobs as telescopes and soccer balls as pirate ship bombs. We were very imaginative.

AJ: Growing up in Seattle, riding our bikes, riding horses and being outside a lot. We had a normal childhood, even though we started in this business fairly early.

Aly: "Flattery" [off 2007 LP Insomniatic]. The melody holds up. I’ll listen to other songs we’ve written and be like, "That sounds so 2006."

AJ: "Division" from Insomniatic. I love the instrumentation, and melodically, it’s really beautiful. We’ll probably bring it back on tour.

Aly: Hawaii

AJ: Alaska

Aly: Kacey Musgraves. We connect more with old-school country music, but she’s making really great current country music, and that’s really hard.

AJ: Kacey Musgraves. Her voice is so angelic and beautiful, and her lyrics are so specific and so detailed. We’ve played "Slow Burn" live because we fell so in love with it.

Aly: AJ is always 15 minutes late to everything. But I’m always five minutes late, so she’s just 10 minutes behind me.

AJ: Every now and then she can blow past a moment that I think is important to savor. I’m like, "Dude, get off your phone, look at me, engage."

Aly: Heart. We really look up to [Ann and Nancy Wilson] on a talent level. We’re actually close friends with Nancy; she’s a mentor of ours. We’ve written quite a few songs with her in the past that have just never been released.

AJ: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. We loved their movies. I also love them as fashion icons. What they’ve done with their career is incredible. They’ve [avoided] the spotlight and been private. I don’t know how they’ve maintained that.

This article originally appeared in the May 25 issue of Billboard.