For those who will be reading the blog who may not have heard of you yet, Can you tell us a bit about you and how you got into music.
We are two sisters, Gaylyn & Katelyn Foto, who as a musical group are referred to as the Foto Sisters. There use to be 3 of us, but the oldest, Adelyn, got married last year and shortly there after started a little family. We are thrilled she was kind enough to have twin boys so we wouldn’t have to share a baby when we go to her house lol. We will unashamedly admit to being “crazy aunts”
How has being Classically trained helped form the unique sound of the group?
Classical technique and training has a very distinct sound, and when combined with other genres of music such as inspirational pop or sacred, it’s often given the title classical-crossover.
Did you each begin playing instruments at a young age?
Yes, we did! Adelyn was 7, Katelyn was 6, and Gaylyn was 4. We all began with piano, and then afterwards branched out to violin. About 7 years later, Adelyn made the switch to viola, and Gaylyn to cello. For about the first year, Gaylyn often got the comment, “That instrument [cello] is about as big as you.” Needless to say, she was a bit embarrassed to play it at first.
How did your history with the instruments, affect the way you created the sound for the group?
For the first few years, our sound was only piano and 3 violins. Once Adelyn and Gaylyn switched to their other stringed instruments, the sound really balanced out with more alto and bass range. Funny story… believe it or not, Adelyn and Katelyn pulled “rank” on Gaylyn (the baby of the sisters) telling her that she should play cello since she had a double chin while playing violin. We laugh about it now, and in fact, she thanks us because it quickly became evident that cello was her “natural talent”. She went on to win 3 concerto competition in high-school on the cello.
Have you always performed as a trio, or was that something that started later?
It began fairly quickly after starting violin which was a couple years after having studied piano. Our teacher, Mrs. Dusty, was so wonderful and taught us violin trios just as soon as we could squeak out enough notes. We have been so blessed to train under some of the most kind and patient instructors ever!
How different was it to create a Christmas album, as compared to the other non holiday themed albums you have released?
Actually, a Christmas album was easier in one sense. You have a more narrow song selection list, verses an infinite number of themes and non-seasonal repertoire. At the same time though, it was challenging to choose songs from that narrow list we actually loved and that weren’t already over-recorded lol.
Speaking towards your first Christmas album ‘A Foto Sisters Christmas’
What was the selection process for selecting the songs on the album? Do any of them hold a special memory or story?
Many, if not each, have a story behind them. Some were more difficult than others, but it took us a while to complete the album because we wanted everything to have reason and purpose.
For Adelyn, Christmas had, at times, been a season of disappointment and loneliness, so the song was born from a desire to encourage others who may be going through difficult times when the world is celebrating.
"The Lord's Prayer"
The brainstorming process for the CD began early 2018. We really didn’t have to think long and hard on “The Lord’s Prayer”, since it was one of those we all knew needed to be recorded. No, it’s not blatantly Christmas, but it’s the words of Jesus Himself. Can it get any better? Also, having a non-seasonal selection that could be enjoyed all year long was a major plus… and being classically trained, the piece (which is classical in genre) seemed to have a nice fit.
In choosing vocal parts, it’s always a given that Gaylyn get’s the highest… generally, but not always. Sometimes she shares the soprano. She just has that special timbre to her upper vocal range and can reach the higher notes (as we so call the “stratosphere”) with ease, which makes for a better listening experience too lol.
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
We often say during our live shows, “If there’s one song that sums up the ‘Christmas feels’, it’s the one we’re about to sing for you”. We then proceed into “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. When choosing songs for the album, A Foto Sisters Christmas, the 8th track wasn’t a difficult decision. Everyone loved it! Discussion was over!
With a gazillion beautiful covers available to the public, we knew ours needed to offer something fresh. After sight-reading through the arrangement our producer (Phillip Keveren) created, we were "in love". Even now, every time we perform it, his choice of notes amaze us!
Listen halfway through the song, and you will hear a very special Christmas gift Phillip gave us girls. After recording our violin, viola and cello parts, it was evident to the ears 3 strings didn’t cut it for the climax. We needed 10x that! So on October 22nd, we walked into the renowned Ocean Way Nashville Studio to join a 30 piece orchestra! The song came alive that day! It still puts a smile on our faces every time we hear it and continues to be a favorite around our home.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” had much debate actually. But the majority ruled, and in the end, everyone was happy to included it. “Mary, Did You Know?” has already been recorded by numerous artists, but it had come highly requested. And each song has a similar story!
Do you have plans to release new music this Christmas season?
Yes, we hope to release a single!