Robyn (left) and Ryleigh Gillespie have been paying their dues on the B.C. music scene for the past couple of years. The sisters are working to break into acting as well.

Robyn (left) and Ryleigh Gillespie have been paying their dues on the B.C. music scene for the past couple of years. The sisters are working to break into acting as well.

Sister act Robyn & Ryleigh

Langley pop country duo Robyn & Ryleigh
have released their first CD, a five-song EP titled Love, Always



Ah, love. Is there anything more wonderful?

More frustrating?

Hopeful?

Discouraging?

Fulfilling?

Deflating?

And when you’re a teenager, well, you might as well just take all that and multiply it by 100.

But a pair of Langley teens — sisters, in fact — have found an outlet for the joy and pain, anticipation and disappointment —  all the intense emotions inextricably linked with young love.

They get up on a stage and sing about it, in beautiful two-part harmony.

Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie have been popping up around the Lower Mainland for the past couple of years, now. The duo performed in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics, have played the famed Merritt Mountain Music festival and competed in the recent Langley Has Talent competition.

And now, Robyn, 19, and Ryleigh, 16, have released their first disc, an EP titled Love, Always — five songs on the theme of love, all penned by Robyn.

Drawing from her own day-to-day experiences — thinking about boyfriends and ex-boyfriends, where she’s been and her aspirations in life — Robyn writes the songs she’d like to hear, she says.

Telling personal stories set to music, Robyn is inspired by another young female singer-guitarist, known for just that.

“I really love Taylor Swift’s writing — the honesty, description, detail and the love aspect of it,” says Robyn.

You never know when creativity will strike — the muse is as unpredictable as teenagers themselves.

It’s certainly hit Robyn at unusual times in unexpected places.

“She’ll write on a napkin — ‘Nobody talk to me. I have a song in my head,’ says Ryleigh, imitating her older sister, with a laugh.

“She’ll pull over to the side of the road (to write),” adds her mom, Kathy.

“I’ve written while I was at the gas station — pumping gas with one hand and writing with the other,” says Robyn.

That particular song — titled Exit 119 — is named for the Vedder Road freeway exit — the one she takes when she visits her boyfriend.

“It will be the middle of the night or early in the morning and you’ll hear the guitar,” says Ryleigh, slapping her forehead in mock frustration.

Eventually, the girls had to sit down and narrow their repertoire — choosing just  five songs for their debut album.

“I remember sitting in this room, waiting to record (the disc) and trying to decide,” said Ryleigh.

In the end, they settled on such titles as I Believe in Love, Our Own Way of Loving, and Perfect Date.

The sisters’ personal taste in music may not mesh, exactly — Robyn is a country fan while Ryleigh’s more into pop and rock — but each has influenced the other, and the result is a style that combines the two.

Were all such disagreements so easily resolved.

Performing with your sister is good and bad, the girls agree. After all, it’s easy to schedule practice when you live in the same house.

But, like any siblings, they do butt heads from time to time.

“As soon as we hit the stage, there’s no more fighting,” says Ryleigh.

“We’re having too much fun.”

Theirs is a love of music and performing that stems back to days spent playing and singing around a campfire.

Like many elementary students in Langley, Robyn started out playing the ukulele before switching instruments.

It’s just easier to write music on a guitar, she explains. Recently, though, the singer-songwriter returned briefly to her roots for a TV spot.

“I had to pull the ukulele out the other day because Telus wanted something (with that sound) for their commercial,” she says.

Both teens see television and movies roles on the horizon and hope their singing will serve as a springboard.

Though, for her part, Ryleigh has no plans to choose between the two.

“I love acting and I love singing, I’d like to do both.”

Already, they’ve found work in the industry, playing extras in Dancing Ninja, a 2010 film starring David Hasselhoff, parts of which were shot in a south Aldergrove barn.

Robyn was also an extra in Twilight: Eclipse, and even had a small encounter with one of its wolfish stars.

“Taylor Lautner kicked a pine cone at me,” she giggled.

“It (appearing in a major Hollywood production) was an incredible experience.”

Ryleigh, meanwhile has been auditioning for roles in television and movies, coming close on a few occasions to landing a big role, she says.

They’ve also just shot a trailer for Heart of Dance, an independent film about a young dancer who is battling an eating disorder. In the film, they have a cameo as high school students/musicians who perform at their prom.

“Hopefully we’ll get enough attention (from Heart of Dance) to lift us off the ground,” said Robyn.

Meanwhile, the pair will continue to work at catching the public’s eye through what have become — in recent years — all the usual channels.

“Social media — it’s painful to say, but it means a lot in the music industry,” said Robyn.

That means having a presence on YouTube, iTunes, Facebook and Twitter in particular, is crucial for artists’ success.

And they’ll carry on performing around the Lower Mainland, the Interior and Vancouver Island, building a fan base and looking for that big break.

“I can feel it,” says Ryleigh. “It’s coming soon.”

Visit robynandryleigh.com and see video of Robyn & Ryleigh performing at langleytimes.com.

Langley Times