Alyson (left) and Amanda "AJ" Michalka performing a concert in July 2007.
|Also known as||Aly & AJ (2004–2009)|
|Genres||Pop rock, pop, teen pop|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitars, pianos|
|Labels||Hollywood Records (2004-2010)
|Associated acts||Miley Cyrus, Rivers Cuomo|
78violet (formerly Aly & AJ) is a pop rock band consisting of two sisters, Alyson Renae "Aly" Michalka and Amanda Joy "AJ" Michalka. They were born in Torrance, California, but spent part of their childhood in Seattle, Washington. They are both actresses, singer-songwriters, and guitarists. They signed a record deal with the Disney-owned label, Hollywood Records in 2004. They released their debut studio album Into the Rush on August 16, 2005. The album debuted at number thirty six in the United States, selling over 24,000 copies in its first week and was later certified Platinum by the RIAA. Into the Rush earned them the "Contemporary Inspirational Artists of the Year" nomination at the 2006 American Music Awards. Into the Rush later sold over one million records worldwide.
Their second studio album Insomniatic debuted at number fifteen in the United States, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week on the Billboard 200; this is their highest debut to date. Their second album's lead single "Potential Breakup Song" is their most successful single to date, it was certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales over 1,000,000 copies. The duo said that once they were done filming their separate movies, they plan to get back to working on their third studio album for a release in 2009. On September 30, 2009 78violet announced their third release date for the upcoming self-titled 78violet album is going to be in early 2010 instead. With many rumors going around of the band changing their name, the duo announced that they will be changing their name to 78violet. The duo have also launched a franchise line which includes a doll series and book series.
On February 19, 2010, they announced on their official newsletter they were no longer signed to Hollywood Records and plans to release their anticipated new album had been cancelled.
The band have had an immense interest in music ever since they were both young. "I think it started when we were three and five. Just singing in church together and in school plays," Aly said. That later moved onto just AJ as Aly started to act very early, when AJ was nine years old. The sisters both live in a gated community in Calabasas, California with their parents. Their mother, Carrie Michalka, used to sing in a Christian group called "J.C. Band", Alyson also had a starring role in the Disney Channel Original Series, Phil of the Future alongside Ricky Ullman.
Aly & AJ's debut studio album, Into the Rush, which was released on August 16, 2005. The album was certified Gold in March 2006 for selling over 500,000 copies by the RIAA. One of the album's singles, "No One" was featured in the Walt Disney Pictures feature film, Ice Princess and its soundtrack. The song "Do You Believe In Magic", written and originally recorded by The Lovin' Spoonful, added a rock edge. This cover was used in the soundtrack of the made-for-TV Disney Channel original movie, Now You See It..., in which Aly had a starring role as Allyson Henlen. "Do You Believe in Magic" became their first single to enter the top twenty of the Canadian Hot 100 chart, peaking at #23 and peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Singles Sales. Into the Rush had sold 808,000 copies by December 2007, and over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.
The album received mixed reviews from critics. Fran Grauman from About.com gave the album a 4 star rating, praising Aly and AJ's "ton of talent" and "experience." Allmusic gave the album a mixed review, saying it "doesn't venture further than offering a few empowering ballads", to hand them 2.5 stars after. AMG does praise them for having a real singing ability, citing "Aly & AJ can actually sing — their vocals have more way personality than prefab Disney hopefuls like Hayden Panettiere or Caleigh Peters — and the arrangements are slick without resorting to flashily empty pap". The review finishes with "Into the Rush is listenable, likeable, and more about being memorable than being Disney product." The album became the 112th best-selling album in the United States in 2006, earning it a place as #112 on the Billboard 200 end of year chart of 2006.
They have been involved in various Walt Disney Records projects. The "Aly & AJ Concert" took place on July 24, 2005 at the Henry Fonda theater in Hollywood, California. The aired concert was cut to five songs and interviews. The concert included songs from Into the Rush. The band has also opened for The Cheetah Girls in December 2005 on the girls' Cheetah-licious Christmas Tour. The album was re-released in August 2006 with three new songs, including the hit, "Chemicals React", and two new versions of "Collapsed" and "Something More"; it was also released in the UK. Their first Christmas themed album, Acoustic Hearts of Winter was released in September 26, 2006. On the album, Aly & AJ recorded traditional Christmas songs. In late 2007, the band had recorded three more Christmas originals. Acoustic Hearts of Winter debuted at #78 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over 19,000 copies in its first week. The album also topped the U.S. Billboard Top Holiday Albums debuting at #14. The holiday album later sold over 136,000 copies in the United States.
The duo's second studio album, Insomniatic was released on July 10, 2007. The album features a more electropop, electronic rock and dance-pop influenced sound different from their debut with the use of synthesizers, synth-rock guitars, vocoder, and electronic instruments. The album itself peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week and becoming Aly & AJ's highest debut to date. By early December 2007, the album had sold over 215,000 copies in the United States.
Their second studio album's electropop lead single, "Potential Breakup Song" preceded their second studio album Insomniatic which was written by them, was released on July 10, 2007. "Potential Breakup Song" peaked at number 17 at Billboard's Hot 100, becoming their first top 20 single in the United States. The single was later also certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales surpassing 1,000,000 copies. The United States publication USA Today wrote "for Insomniatic, the sisters had a hand in writing every song. The single Potential Breakup Song sounds somewhat like Del Shannon's Runaway run through a processor, but there's a lot more going musically than on your average teen-pop album." Hollywood Records general manager Abbey Konowitch said, "they write their material; they play their instruments. They aren't in any way manufactured. That's very important." USA Today also claimed that the duo have gotten "most of its exposure through Radio Disney airplay and Disney Channel showings of their videos."
In October 2007, both of the singles and the album were released in the United Kingdom; "Potential Breakup Song" reached a peak position of #22 in the UK Singles Chart, and #16 in the Irish Singles Chart. The girls toured for a short while in the UK, opening for McFly twice and performing at several television shows and nightclubs. Time magazine named "Potential Breakup Song" one of the 10 Best Songs of 2007, ranking it at #9. Writer Josh Tyrangiel singled out the lyrics in the bridge: "This is our Potential Breakup Song/ Our album needs just one/ Oh baby please", and praised the authenticity of its having been written by the teenage sisters who sing it. "Potential Breakup Song" also topped the ten twenty of numerous countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Ireland.
Subsequently after the success of the album's first single, Insomniatic was praised by numerous music critics. Fraser McAlpine of BBC Radio stated, "Aly and AJ's previous album was rock-pop, some of it light and bubbly, some of it bordering on heaviness. Staccato, often angry pop but still definitely pop. Their second offering, 'Insomniatic,' with this as the lead single seems to have kept the staccato and the venom but added more layers of pop, to create something that sounds like My Chemical Romance going through a blender with some soft-hearted Angry Girl Music." adding, "Don't let the tango at the start fool you, even as the synths and the vocoder cut in, this is a rock song playing with electronics. Chirpy keyboards flag up the growl of their voices as they deliver self-conscious lines like 'it took too long, it took too long, it took too long for you to call back and normally I would just forget that, except for the fact it was my birthday, my stupid birthday', kicking a guy to the curb for being a forgetful loser amid a glorious barrage of seething rhythms, clicky noises and general madness, as the Michalka sisters swing between honeyed murmurs and psychosis, making for the most danceable mental breakdown I've heard in quite some time."
In December 2007, the news revealed that the band would be replacing the Jonas Brothers as the opening act for the extension of the Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Tour from January 11-January 24. The band also confirmed their second single "Like Whoa", which reached number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. In early January 2008, Aly & AJ performed a cover of KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Yahoo's Pepsi Smash video site. The cover is also featured on the Japanese re-release of Insomniatic, recorded at Abbey Road. Also, the girls covered the song "We're an American Band" for Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1, serving as a bonus track.
In early 2008, Billboard confirmed that the girls are working on a third studio album which was due to be released in late 2009. They mentioned in an interview on Radio Disney on April 23, 2008 that they are going for a rockier sound, and this time they want to sing separately, not harmonizing their voices as they did on their previous albums, to let fans identify who is singing. On October 7, 2008, the up-to-then-yet-untitled album had been confirmed for a April 2009 release by a Hollywood Records representative, however, a month later, the duo revealed in an interview that the album had been delayed until the summer of 2009. In later interviews though, the duo mentioned a release date of fall 2009, and lastly, on September 30, 2009, the duo claims an early 2010 release of the record.
The duo wrote a song (later confirmed to be titled "The Next Worst Thing") with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. On January 15, 2009, a song called "Places" was added to the database of BMI, written by Aly & AJ, and co-written with Daniel James and Leah Haywood. The girls have also worked with Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, AFI, Sum 41) and Rob Cavallo (Green Day, the Goo Goo Dolls, Paramore), both producers in the rock genre. On June 10, 2009, three extra song titles were announced from the upcoming album; being "Lovesick", "Bullet", and "The Edge". On June 28, 2009, the duo revealed and confirmed four song titles via their official twitter account; being "Say Hello," "Damaged" (co-written with Nancy Wilson of Heart), "Civilian" and "The Next Worst Thing", which they previewed on Loveline on August 17, 2009. Other songtitles that surfaced throughout the year include: "The Good, the Bad and the Boring", "Insane", "Freak", "Silly Boy" and "Mine."
Rumors of Aly & AJ touring in the summer of 2009 surfaced the internet, but were later denied by Aly Michalka on their official website. They stated that they were finalizing the record and wanted to focus on that at the moment. They also revealed that they will be planning to tour in early 2010 to promote the new album.
On July 8, 2009, the duo announced that they changed their name to 78violet. A week later, on July 16, 78violet announced that their third album will be self-titled.
On February 19, 2010, an e-mail was sent to all members of the band's website. The message detailed how the band had officially left Hollywood Records, and the new self-titled album, 78violet, that was set to be released early 2010, will not be released. However, the duo stated how they had begun writing and recording for a new album. They said they left their label so that they could "take 78violet in the direction they wanted."
Prior to acting in films separately, the duo were featured in two Made for Television films; the Disney Channel original movie Cow Belles (2006) and the MTV special Super Sweet 16: The Movie (2007). Before this, Aly Michalka also fulfilled a main role in the 2005 Disney Channel original movie Now You See It..., alongide Johnny Pacar.
Being nominated in Best Performance in a TV Series (for a Leading Young Actress) for her role in Phil of the Future, Aly Michalka pursued her acting career, by taking up a lead role in family feature film, Bandslam, alongside Vanessa Hudgens. The film premiered on August 14, 2009. Aside from this, Alyson took on two more acting projects, The Roommate, due February 4, 2011, and Easy A, due September 17, 2010, both films starring Cam Gigandet too. Amanda captured a role in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones and, as of September 28, filming Secretariat, fulfilling the role of Penny Chenery's daughter. The film has a tentative release date of October 8, 2010.
On June 26, 2008, an Ohio man named Rex Mettler was arrested for stalking the duo. The Lancaster man "obtained contact information for the acting and singing duo and made threats online, by phone and handwritten notes" as stated by the police. The duo was scheduled to perform June 27, 2008 in Cincinnati, where the man was present, after which the police couldn't confirm that any of the threats involved the Ohio show. The police later stated that "the charge against Mettler stems from incidents that began Dec. 15 " and that "Rex displayed a pattern of activity over that time that reflected multiple attempts, if not numerous attempts, at stalking these females."
Along with making music for the mainstream audience, Aly & AJ, who are both very open about their faith, have become significant in the Christian music rock scene. "Never Far Behind" was only released on Christian rock radio. It went to #1 on Radio & Records (R&R) Christian CHR. Although Aly and AJ are both very open about their Christian faith, they do not want to be labeled as Christian music artists. In an interview with Blender magazine in June 2006, the girls said that their music comes from a Christian perspective. "We don't ever wanna preach or shove anything down people's throats, but we want our music to be inspiring." AJ added, “If we have a Muslim fan or an atheist fan, that’s their thing — I’m gonna love them no matter what.”
In an interview with Blender magazine, the two expressed their disbelief in the theory of evolution, with the interviewer asking what their thoughts were. When asked if they accepted evolution, AJ responded, "No," and Aly responded, "Are they teaching that in schools now?" When told that it had been taught for the better part of a century, she replied, "I think that's kind of disrespectful, anything that has to do with anybody's beliefs on religion, that should stay out of the classroom. I mean, I think people should be able to pray in school, if people were into that. Everybody should just do their own gig", and AJ added "Evolution is silly. Monkeys? Um, no."
Huckleberry Toys released Limited Edition Hello Kitty Aly & AJ dolls to selected Target stores. Toys R Us is currently selling a line of the dolls which have been available since November 15, 2007. On November 20, 2007, The Aly & AJ Adventure game was brought out, for use on the Nintendo DS. In the game, the player plays their assistant, helping them record songs, direct music video etc.
As of June 12, 2008, the duo started releasing their own paperback adventure books, called Aly & AJ's Rock 'n' Roll Mysteries, each part describing Aly & AJ on tour, every book describing a mystery in a different city. The drawings in the books were done by Aly. The first two (First Stop, New York and Mayhem in Miami) were released on June 12, the third installment (Singing in Seattle) on September 2, and the last (Nashville Nights) went to stores on October 4, 2008.
Performance Designed Products released Aly & AJ-designed guitars on November 10, 2008. Aly's guitar features a heart-and-crossbones print in pink (PlayStation 2) and AJ's guitar is in the shape of the Aly & AJ heart logo featuring bright pink and purple zebra print (Wii, PS2). The duo launched the guitars on October 11, 2008 during event at Universal Studios CityWalk in California. The duo also have clothing, accessories, jewelry and cosmetics lines. According to Forbes and AOL, they are one of Hollywood's highest earning singers under the age of 30.
The duo are the spokeswomen for Samsung's Hope for Education, which provides technology products to needy schools, and are the co-chairpersons for the Children's Advisory Board of the AmberWatch Foundation, and have performed at a benefit concert to raise money for the charity. The song "I Am One of Them", which was featured the in the debut album Into the Rush is dedicated to work with AmberWatch. The duo also walked a fashion show for the Race to Erase MS show in early May 2008, showing their support.
|78violet (a.k.a Aly & AJ)|
|2006||American Music Awards||Contemporary Inspirational Artists of the Year||Into the Rush||Nominated|
| File:Alyson and AJ|
Aly & AJ performing in 2007.
|Origin||Torrance, California, United States|
|Genres|| Teen pop|
|Years active||2004 – present|
| Alyson Michalka|
= Alyson (nicknamed Aly) is twenty years old. She helps writing the music and songs. She is one of the two guitarists.
Amanda (nicknamed AJ) is eighteen years old. She helps writing the songs and constructing the music.
Aly & AJ lived in Seattle,Wa in the early 90's, then moved back to Southern California. They learned to play the piano at the age of six. They both were featured in the movieMy Super Sweet 16 The Movie.