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Aly & AJ, a favorite from their Disney days, are back on the road with a new sound

Aly and AJ Michalka — also known as Aly & AJ — come up with a new sound on their latest album, “With Love From.” The sisters used an echo chamber to process the vocals, signaling a shift for the former Disney stars as they explore new musical territory.

“It feels like a migration. I mean, it feels like we’re getting a second chance at our music careers,” AJ told CBS News.

A new tour comes alongside the release of their new album this week, giving the duo — now in their early 30s — a chance to connect with fans who were young when they first discovered their music.

Ally was 15 and AJ was 13 when they signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records label in 2004. During the audition, they sat on the floor and performed six original acoustic guitar tracks they wrote in their bedroom, AJ said.

Thanks to hits like “Potential Breakup Song” and their roles in the Disney film “Cow Belles,” they rose to fame as pop stars and became teen idols.

They said that throughout their growing careers, they have always been steadfast.

“We’ve always been brave just raising our hands … (asking), ‘Can we do this?’ And, I think I’m sure at some point it put people off … but I think at the end of the day, though, people knew we really cared,” Ally said.

Finally, they wanted a change. To distance themselves from their Disney-like image, they changed their band name to 78Violet in 2009. But their music careers faltered and two albums were shelved.

“To be completely honest, I think we were trying to figure out what our voice was as grown women,” Ally said.

AJ described it as “a bit of an identity crisis”. For a decade, the sisters remained musically silent as they continued to perform.

Then, they recorded the song “Pretty Place”.

“I think that song really brought us back to who we are,” AJ said

That wasn’t the only thing bringing the sisters back into the spotlight. After “Possible Breakup Song” gained popularity on social media app TikTok, Aly & AJ recorded a new version with a more mature sound.

“In our early twenties, if you said, ‘Hey, would you sing that song?’ We’ll kind of—roll our eyes,” Ally said. “And we revamped it in this new way. So, it’s really cool.”

Aly & AJ have performed at two major music festivals, Lollapalooza in 2021 and Austin City Limits in 2022. They experienced a scary moment when their tour bus was caught in the crossfire. Mass shooting last year in Sacramento, where six people were killed and several injured. They said they were not injured but shell casings were found in their trailer.

The shooting inspired them to write a song about the incident as a way to heal, though they weren’t sure if they would release it.

Aly & AJ are hitting the road again this month, putting their Disney days behind them. Their sisterly bond remains their superpower, along with their personality.

“We care for each other in a weird way. So, I’m just like, ‘AJ would agree to this.’ So, I’m speaking for him, and he’s going to do the right thing for me,” Ally said.

“It’s true,” AJ said. “And then sometimes, we have to be like, ‘But let’s respect each other.'”

“And there’s still individualism here,” Ally said.

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Anthony Mason

Anthony Mason

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