- Words Stella Marbles
From the studio to outer space, Millie and Hope are The KTNA's R&B duo on a musical trajectory set for the stars.
From acting as bubbly school kids on BBC’s ‘Waterloo Road’ to fully-fledged recording artists, it’s pretty clear there’s is nothing that Mancunian sisters The KTNA can’t do.
While the limelight of Waterloo Road gained the identical twins their initial fame, their music talent has been rooted in their souls from the beginning. Among the youngest ever performers to grace the stage of BBC’s Introducing Stage, they have moved in leaps and bounds within just a year from releasing their first single Hope to their highly anticipated debut EP ‘Life Under Siege’.
It isn’t hard to see why The KTNA are so rapidly making a name for themselves. Beautifully honest and raw, their unique brand of R&B soul speaks to the emotional and financial struggles that are so prevalent among this young generation. As so evident in their latest single “One Way Ticket” the sisters deftly balance relatable songwriting with an empowering, upbeat grit that radiates through everything that they do.
Their upcoming EP is just the tip of the iceberg though, Hope and Millie have their sights set on music superstardom, space travel, and bringing power to the people. We’re at the edge of our seats waiting to see what they do next, but until then, we’ll let them tell you in their own words what’s in store for this dynamic duo.
What does it mean to be a misfit for you, and why are you proud to be misfits?
Misfits to us are people who dance to the beat of their own drum. 9/10 of our favourite people are usually labelled as ‘crazy’…but to be honest aren’t the best of them? It took us 23 years but we’re proud to say we are who we are and we’re CERTAINLY NOT dancing to the beat of anyone else’s drum.
You’ve said that you have a bucket list including writing the next James Bond theme and being the first black Maria in The Sound of Music, what are some other things on your bucket list?
Working with Hans Zimmer on a movie score would be a dream come true for us, got to make that happen. Going to space (preferably to meet aliens!). We’d also like to make music with underprivileged kids and start a programme that’s free, like the ones we used to go to. We’d LOVE to track down Frank Ocean one day and work with him… if only we could find him! Of course, play our music around the world, but eventually own an animal sanctuary.
How does being sisters influence your creative process when making music?
Okay, the best way to describe it is… if you’ve ever seen Avatar you’ll know that the Avatar’s tails can connect together and become one, so that’s basically what happens when we make music together, “when two become one” (although we don’t turn blue or have glow-up connecting tails).
The visuals for your latest release OWT was very inspired by retro space aesthetics, where does this fascination with space come from and could you explain the meaning behind the track?
We’ve always been fascinated by life outside the dome. The stars have always had a magical and calming power over us. We look to the sky for signs as silly as it sounds. When we wrote the song about wanting to escape, it felt only right that we’d escape upwards and away from it all, to the skies.
What stories are you telling in your upcoming EP Life Under Siege?
In a crazy way, we’re telling the stories of our lives. Mostly the trials to be honest, because there are not enough people being frank about how it is to exist in 2019. It’s not meant to be weary, that’s not our message. Our message is that you’re not alone in this fast-changing, social media-driven, money-hungry world. At first, when we started we didn’t know how people would take it but after our first couple of shows we realised we weren’t the only ones struggling. Life Under Siege is the freeing of our true selves. Love it or hate it.
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
In everything! No, but seriously, life is happening all around us all the time and we try to keep it simple and admire something simple every day. Talking to people is one of the greatest inspirations in our lives. We’re Mancunians after all!
What are your goals and ambitions for the coming year?
First of all, we both are actively trying to be better people that’s a big one! We’re currently in ‘better yourself’ training. We want to be able to play the music we’ve worked so tirelessly and obsessively over to THE PEOPLE!
What qualities do you admire most in each other?
Millie: I honestly admire Hope in so many ways it’s hard to list. She’s a titan at heart, Hope never gives up and always picks me up and dusts me off whenever she senses I’m low. The girl is as funny as they come, absolute comedy gold honestly, the things she comes out with! Also, personality aside I admire her as an artist, Hope has the most excellent musical mind and her voice is just…soul food.
Hope: I feel the same about Mill. It’s hard to choose. However, what has always been the most admirable thing about Mill too me is that she’s BRAVE. Not just in the way she approaches making music and using her magical voice but throughout her entire life. Mill can power through anything. In fact, under pressure Millie thrives. Also, she will do anything for anyone, and she’s always had my back. Besides those things she’s HILARIOUS she tickles me pink every single day. We’re the real-life Chuckle Brothers it’s beautiful.
Other than yourselves, which musicians are you obsessed with right now?
We live in a musical time machine so it can vary from minute to minute. Today we’ve been living for Anderson Paak, Thundercat and Frank Ocean. Tomorrow is another story!
You have a lot of love for your home town Manchester, how does the city inspire you?
EVE-RY-THING. The spirit, the accent, the tales, the wonders! We live in London but every few weeks we say “we need to return to the mounts of Manchunia to recharge our northern souls” and we do. It’s much needed. Manchunia is God’s country!