It’s a cliché that often you must travel the furthest distance only to discover what was right under your nose all along. Yet this was precisely the experience of Ryan and Kaylee Williams, who together form the Santa Cruz brother-sister duo, The Native Sibling.
A couple of years ago, Kaylee was exploring a scholastic pursuit in a quaint town in rural Ireland. Already an accomplished singer, she found herself quickly assimilating with local musicians and singing traditional acoustic folk music at local pubs. Ryan, taking a break from his normal grind as a touring and session guitar player, came for a visit not knowing what to expect from new and unfamiliar territory.
These two siblings had clearly missed one another, and needed an outlet to rekindle their closeness. What happened next was a spontaneous flurry of songwriting that neither had anticipated. Inspired by their new surroundings, they spent many late nights crafting songs and discovering how seamlessly their voices harmonized into a singular sound and vision. “When I came to visit, it was the first time we had ever performed together. The foreign and musical environment sparked our curiosity to play a few songs together at a pub. It felt as if we had been singing for years,” said Ryan.
It was obvious to both that they should continue making music together, so they brainstormed a fitting moniker. “Ryan and I had finally met in a place where we wanted to make the same kind of music. The response assured us that our journey needed to continue as a combined effort,” said Kaylee. Growing up beside the inspiring backdrop of the Santa Cruz mountains, Ryan and Kaylee shared a childhood blessed by a nurturing family, but also marred by tragedy of their mother’s death just five years ago. They credit her for instilling in them a passionate spirit and a love of music. Ryan and Kaylee are also heavily influenced by Joy Williams (of the Civil Wars), who was once their nanny and still serves as an inspiration.
After releasing their first EP, recorded by a close friend in Santa Monica, the duo toured up and down the coast, which served to tighten their bond and hone their abilities. In an effort to build upon their momentum, they started a Kickstarter campaign and sought out New York producer Daniel Mendez (Noah Gundersen, Dashboard Confessional, Heart) to make their first full-length album.
Ryan and Kaylee took a leap of faith and holed up at Mendez’ Brooklyn studio for a full two months. Fortunately, it was the precise chemistry they had been looking for. As Ryan explains, "Daniel listened to what we do naturally, found the best parts and brought them to the forefront of this album. He gave us the perspective to realize what we are capable of creating. I'll never forget him saying, ‘If I do my job right, nobody will know I was even here.’”
The Native Sibling released a new EP on February 5, 2014 and plan to release thier full-length debut, Letters Kept To Ourselves this Spring.