You film a cover of yourself singing a Beyonce song, and Beyonce herself loves it so much that she encourages her fans to listen up. That’s what happened to Toronto cousins Haley and Mckenzie Small. Beyonce posted their cover of her new song “Pretty Hurts” on Facebook, and scored them hundreds of thousands of views, and plenty of attention. OKMagazine.com chatted with the girls to find out what it’s like to be blessed by Queen Bey.
OK!: How did you guys start singing as a family? Did you always sing together?
Haley Small: Well, Mckenzie is quite a bit younger than me. She’s 14, I’m 22. I’ve been singing since I was a little girl, and Mckenzie loved it as well. I started doing it professionally when I was 12, with traveling and writing. I started mentoring Mckenzie in music, and that’s how we started working together. We did some covers, I was getting her in my studio and recording.
OK!: Can you tell me a bit about your career? There are lots of YouTubers, but you’ve really made a success out of it.
HS: Right now, I have management in the States, and I’ve been working on original material. We’ve seen different labels, and I’ve done a little bit of performing and recording in the States. I was in New York for three months last year, meeting people, working with different producers. I want to release some music. I’ve been doing the covers on YouTube, but I want to release some original music this year hopefully.
OK!: How do you pick songs for covers, and I was wondering about your videos, since they’re so beautifully produced.
HS: For me, I choose songs that I love and are obviously relevant, because you want people to look at them on YouTube. It’s a combination of songs that I love, artists that I love, and that people love as well. I have my own studio in my basement at home, and I have a good camera, and I’ve learned how to use video-editing software. So I do it all myself. It frees up my creativity and saves me money at the same time.
OK!: What did you both think of the Beyonce album?
Mckenzie Small: When the album came out, no one knew about it. I heard it in the morning, on the radio, that Beyonce dropped a new album. I was like, Oh my gosh I need to hear it right away! After school, I downloaded it and absolutely loved it. It’s all I listen to now.
OK!: Of all the new songs, why did you want to cover “Pretty Hurts?”
MS: “Pretty Hurts” is something that deals with the social aspect of life, being accepted by other people is a huge thing and you want to look good.
HS: As young females, Mckenzie in school and me in the music industry, we both experience social norms and fitting in and looking a certain way. “Pretty Hurts”… acknowledge[s] that society today is obsessed with perfection and looking a way that’s unrealistic. We feel the pressure. It’s a great song, with a great message.
OK!: Walk me through the day when Beyonce posted it. Was there any hint that she was about to do it, or did you find out just like anybody else?
HS: We found out just like anybody else. I started getting notifications on my Instagram, saying “Beyonce posted this. I came here because Beyonce told me to.” I’m thinking, like, this is Beyonce. This is hard to believe. But then I started getting four, five, six notifications. I’m like, is this real life? We checked the Facebook page and saw that she posted it, and it was an exciting moment. A lot of screaming, and shock. I texted Mckenzie, because she was in school. I didn’t hear back for two, three hours. She was in a math exam.
OK!: What was it like to come out of a math exam to that?
MS: I don’t personally like math. I checked my phone going into my next class and I was just freaking out, yelling all over the hallways, telling everyone. It was just the best news I’ve ever gotten.
HS: She’s a bit of a celebrity at her school now.
OK!: How has life changed in the last few weeks or so?
HS: It’s been really awesome. It’s great for Mckenzie because at such a young age, she’s just getting into this and it’s a great welcoming into what she loves to do. For me, it’s really nice to have a lot of hard work get recognized. News outlets like yourself and places in Toronto have reached out, and want to know why Beyonce picked our video. There must be some sort of talent here, let’s learn more. People recognize us on the street.
OK!: So what’s next from here?
HS: We’re very grateful to Beyonce and her team for giving us that pat on the back. It’s huge, even though it’s just a Facebook post. We were always planning on it, but now we’re definitely going to continue working on our music. We’re going to continue working on things together, since people enjoy it. We look forward to more covers, and exploring original music together and on our own.
Do you like Beyonce’s new album? Do you ever find new artists on YouTube? What do you think of the girls’ cover of “Pretty Hurts?” Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.