The irresistible, magnetic vocal harmonies of The Pierces – Alabama-bred, New York-based sisters Allison and Catherine -take a giant step forward as the two singer-songwriters become the newest members of the Mercury Records artist roster, a division of Island Def Jam Music Group. Mercury will introduce The Pierces this month at special shows at the Mercury Lounge in New York City on January 11-12th; and the Hotel Café in Los Angeles on January 17th.
The Pierces’ fourth album, YOU & I, set for U.S. release on March 27, 2012, is also their first with production duo the Darktones, aka Grammy Award®-winning Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman and Grammy®-winning Coldplay producer Rik Simpson. In the UK, the Guardian hailed The Pierces as “heart stopping and extraordinary”; Q magazine called them “a life affirming delight”; and the Times praised their “honeyed harmonies and huge pop hooks.”
Currently at triple-A radio in the U.S. is the advance single “You’ll Be Mine,” which had the distinction of besting Adele in the UK as the Most-Played song in the first quarter of 2011 at BBC Radio 2. YOU & I, released May 2011 in the UK, entered the national chart at #4 and was certified gold. Three subsequent singles, “Glorious,” “Kissing You Goodbye,” and “It Will Not Be Forgotten” all received Top 10 airplay and were A-listed on national BBC Radio.
The Pierces’ distinctive vocals, percolating under the mainstream over the course of their first three albums and a dozen haunting videos, were indelibly etched in the tv public’s imagination back in 2008, when “Secret” (“two can keep a secret/ if one of them is dead,” a song from their third album, Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge) was heard on the CW’s Gossip Girl. The on-screen performance of “Secret” (at the infamous cotillion ball) solidified the song, which was heard in promos for Dexter, and in European tv promos as well. In 2010, “Secret” was heard as the theme song for the series Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family). “Drag You Down” (from YOU & I) has been featured in promos for ABC’s newest hit, Revenge.
Nurturing their UK support, The Pierces played their first tour of small venues there in the summer of 2011. The tour segued into various key festival dates through the summer including a slot at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in June; Magic Summer Live with Elton John, two V Festival appearances and a date at the iTunes Festival in July, with Coldplay headlining. The Pierces returned for a full-scale 12-city headlining tour in October, which included a sold out show at London’s classic venue The Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama to self-described hippie parents, Allison and two years younger sister Catherine Pierce were home-schooled, with an emphasis on arts that exposed them to folk music and dance at a very early age. While attending Auburn University, a tape of their music wound up at Sony Music in Nashville, which eventually led to the release of their modern alt-folk-flavored self-titled debut album in 2000. Lost in the shuffle, the two relocated to New York City, worked day jobs, concentrated on their music, and were signed to Universal for their second album, Light Of the Moon (2005), with producer Brian Sperber.
The Pierces’ third album, Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge on New York-London indie label Lizard King, could have been their “last chance,” as they told Rolling Stone, who described the pair as “preternaturally gorgeous Southern sisters… who love dancing to the perfectly cheesy Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton hit ‘Islands in the Stream’.” Instead, their third album won them a strong following in the UK, and several of its songs – “Boring,” “Secret,” “Three Wishes,” and so on – proved perfect choices for tv syncing in the U.S. and abroad.
Things heated up in 2010, when Guy Berryman phoned them out of the blue, to ask if they wanted to join Coldplay on tour in South America. The tour did not happen, but it paved the way for Berryman and Simpson to produce YOU & I. Sessions began at Electric Lady Studios in New York, and moved to Coldplay’s studio in London. The musicians comprised Allison on acoustic guitar, Guy on electric guitar, bass and percussion, and a round of drummers including Coldplay band mate Will Champion, Glenn Moule from Howling Bells, and Matt Romano from Little Joy. The album was recorded over the course of nine months, “in Coldplay’s spare time,” Allison says, “and there’s not a lot of that.” The result is an album as sweepingly, dramatically melodic as it is true to the sisters’ innately cool, singer-songwriter roots, and an exciting new chapter in the Pierces’ story.