Shealeen (19) and Elle (17) make up the sibling duo Poema, a Soulful, Melodic blend of Acoustic Pop, Folk and Country.
Where most siblings fight and squabble, Shealeen and Elle use their gift of songwriting to create lilting melodies and memorable harmonies showcasing the beauty of collaboration.
Growing up in a close-knit family where music was an integral part of life, Shealeen and Elle inevitably followed in their parent’s footsteps. Not only is the girls’ father a guitar prodigy who has played in bands all his life and been highlighted in a premiere music publication, but their mom had an aptitude for singing, too.
Cutting their teeth leading worship in churches at early ages, it was inevitable that the gift both of these girls shared would not only be experienced within the confines of churches but that their music and message was destined to reach people across the world although they didn’t always believe this themselves; until a performance at a local benefit concert back in 2008 changed their minds for good.
“We really loved music, but we never thought there was a future career in it,” Shealeen says. “But that particular show was such a turning point. We’d played a couple of original songs, nothing that really seemed all that special to us, but the audience really responded. After a standing ovation, half of the people actually came up to talk to us after the show. Later, they asked us if we were trying to ‘make it’ as professional musicians. And we were like ‘No.’”
But after Shealeen and Elle returned home that evening, there was a new excitement about their songs bubbling under the surface. “We started asking ourselves, ‘What if we actually did this and tried to make a career out of it?’ And we’ve been pursuing music ever since.”
For Elle, her “a-ha moment” arrived after she and Shealeen recorded their first demo song. “I remember playing the song for my Mom, and it sounded so official,” Elle says. “It really was one of the greatest moments of my musical career because it was the first time where it totally hit me – I am a musician.”
Then as the girls continued to hone their skills and play shows wherever and whenever they could, (they’d later take first place at a local Battle Of The Bands competition, even though Shealeen had to tackle the lead vocal duties when Elle was sick), a rather fortuitous turn of events further affirmed their burgeoning talent when an A&R rep from Tooth & Nail Records caught their set.
After giving a demo to the label’s representative, they were invited to showcase their songs at the Tooth & Nail headquarters in Seattle. A week later, Brandon Ebel called and offered them a recording contract.
“We were so excited, we could barely contain it,” says Elle, the group’s lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist. “Tooth & Nail was one of the only labels I’d heard about growing up and getting to work with Aaron Sprinkle, who produced our album, was just perfect.”
Describing their sound as “happy, acoustic-pop,” the girls felt that “Poema” was the perfect name for the group.
“We really wanted our name to be one word, something that would really define us,” Shealeen, the duo’s pianist and vocalist says. “We loved the name Poema because of what it means. Beautiful masterpiece, God’s poem. We hope that our music is God’s poem, and we want everything we do to be a beautiful masterpiece through Him.”
With song inspirations ranging from a Pride & Prejudice moment of hopeless romanticism (‘Safe To Say’) to an ode to a shall-remained nameless member of the opposite sex (‘Blue Sweater’), Shealeen and Elle love serving up these melodic slices of life to a broad audience.
“Whenever we’re going through a situation, even a rough one, instead of getting mad about it, we’ll just go write a song about it.” Elle says. “And because we’re writing music with such universal themes, it ends up appealing to everyone, which is exactly what a good song does for us, regardless of the musical genre.”
Poema are currently on the road for the The Summer Heat And Fresh Beats Tour will be making stops starting in St. Louis and ending in Nashville. Check out the tour dates on the Poema website.
Poema will be releasing their latest album on 11th September 2012.