To say 13 Crowns is a family affair would be an understatement. The band is made up of the seven oldest siblings of the 13-member clan, ranging in age from 12 (drummer Nora) to 21 (Eve on keyboards), with 15-year-old Abraham and 16-year-old Tihane the lead singers and songwriters, 20-year-old Heinrich on lead guitar, 18-year-old Isabella on bass, and Maikeli, 14, on guitar.
The extraordinary septet has recorded a brand-new five-song EP on independent label H&S Records, at the famed Record Plant Studios in Hollywood, with the notable producing team The Audibles --Dominic “DJ Mecca” Jordan and James “Jimmy G” Giannos (Justin Bieber, Lupe Fiasco, Keyshia Cole, Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Young Jeezy, Trey Songz, Drake, Ciara and Rihanna)-- and Justin Bieber collaborator Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd (Usher, 112, Chris Brown, Big Boi). Look for it to be released later this winter.
The first two singles, both written by Poo Bear, include “Grateful,” a pop-soul anthem that speaks to family loyalty, overcoming hardships and being thankful for the lessons learned along the way, along with the upbeat dance-floor hit, “Together We Stand,” which offers a message of unity. Tihane has sole writing credit on both “Rise,” a piano-driven song about achieving your goals, while “Appreciate It” tells of the journey and sacrifices they’ve made to get to this point in their careers. “Only You,” co-written by both Tihane and Abraham, spotlights the pair’s impeccable harmonies.
The 13 Crowns story sounds like a made-for-TV movie. On hearing their background, Poo Bear exclaimed, “Where’s the camera crew? This is history in the making.”
The Polynesian-American offspring of professional musicians, their dad, Haini Wolfgramm, was the bassist in the ‘80s Minnesota family group The Jets, who had hits like “Crush on You” (#3 on the Billboard Hot 100), “You Got It All,” “Cross My Broken Heart” and the #1 dance smash, “Sendin’ All My Love,” and their mom, Sarah, was a singer-songwriter for the group Blush, who was signed to RCA in the early '90s.
The oldest members were determined to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Said Eve, “It means something to grow up in a home where platinum records hang on the walls. We were on the road as little kids seeing our dad play shows and travel, and that’s what we wanted to do, too.”
The journey began in 2006, when their dad purchased instruments and taught them how to play. Plenty of woodshedding, practice and live performances helped them hone their craft.
Reminiscent of the early days of the Jackson 5 – particularly the spirited vocal interplay between Abraham and Tihane – the band’s roots are solidly in soul, R&B, hip-hop and pop, citing such influences as groups like The Fugees, Arrested Development and The Roots, with positive messages and an infectious upbeat feel. Other touchstones include the high-energy performances of Bruno Mars, Beyonce’s larger-than-life persona, the island sounds of Bob Marley and Rihanna, the upbeat theatrics of Earth, Wind & Fire and the ska-influenced No Doubt.
Young veterans, 13 Crowns recently finished a tour of 83 high schools and junior highs in three months. “We really enjoy playing for people our own age,” says Tihane. “They can relate to our music and message.”
“We hope that everyone will recognize, under the surface, we are all royal in our own way and each of us wears a crown,” said Abraham about the band’s name.
With collaborators like The Audibles and Poo Bear, 13 Crowns are ready to assume the pop throne. Let the coronation begin.
# # #