Charlottetown teenage twins Ava and Lily Rashed are about to realize the dream of a lifetime.
The 16-year-old daughters of David and Sue Rashed will be featured on a new reality show from Nickelodeon called “America’s Most Musical Family’’ on Friday, Dec. 6, a program that is being broadcast in Canada on YTV.
The show features 30 family acts (producers looked at thousands of acts) performing in all genres in front of celebrity judges, including Grammy Award-winning artist Ciara, digital media star David Dobrik and 1980s pop star Debbie Gibson, all of them chasing the big prize – a recording contract with Republic Records and a chance to win $250,000 in cash.
The twins taped their spot in Los Angeles in August, but they’re not allowed to talk about how they did. Viewers will have to see for themselves on Dec. 6.
“It’s been so hard to keep it quiet because we get a bunch of people asking us how we did, and we can’t really say anything,’’ Lily said.
Regardless of whether they land a record contract, being exposed to a North American audience is going to change things.
“We don’t know where it’s going to lead,’’ David said in a recent interview, “(but) their fanbase is going to go through the roof. That we know right away.’’
Ava and Lily posted a video of a performance they gave this summer to their Instagram. An agent with Nickelodeon left a comment that she really liked the video.
The agent then reached out by phone, but the girls thought it was a prank at first. Then they looked up the show on the internet and realized things were about to get real. Ava said they “completely freaked out’’.
Lily said they were treated like royalty by Nickelodeon in L.A.
“The crew (with the show) was uplifting and very encouraging but also supportive,’’ added Ava. “It was awesome to have a whole bunch of people just backing you up and wanting the best for you.’’
It was hard coming back down to earth once they returned to Charlottetown.
“Coming back and just sitting in a classroom at school is pretty different,’’ Ava laughed.
But Ava and Lily continue to work hard. They’re writing new material and just completed production with their father on a video called “Pointless’’.
“You need to have stuff for people to look at,’’ said David, who knows a thing or two about the music industry.
As the keyboardist for Haywire, a P.E.I. recording band that captured a national audience in the 1980s and '90s, he now runs his own production company in Charlottetown.
“They’re very busy . . . they’re playing (live) all the time.’’
Ava said their ultimate dream is to make music a career.
“If it could get to that level where we’d have to leave (P.E.I.) to do something, we would love it. So it would be worth it,’’ Ava said.
“Totally,’’ Lily responds. “It doesn’t feel like work when you’re passionate about something. It’s just fun.’’
Did you know?
Ava and Lily Rashed list the following artists as favourites or influences:
- Noah Kahan
- Demi Lovato
- Taylor Swift
- Alison Krauss
- Tegan and Sarah
- Kacey Musgraves
- Little Mix
- Dolly Parton
Ava said songwriting for her is therapeutic, and being in a duet with her twin sister is special.
“The fact that we can do it together makes me and Lily closer because we both share what we love to do. It’s like a family band.’’
David said he and Sue never forced music on Ava and Lily. They also have have two other children, Hannah, 23, and Jaron, 18.
However, Sue said it was clear early on that music was going to be a big part of their lives.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that they are the way they are,’’ Sue said. “They were born with this music in them. We have pictures of them singing before they could talk. They were three years old and they were holding guitars. They spend hours every day on their music. I mean, we can’t get them to come eat supper.’’
Sue said the girls are lucky they had a musically-inclined father to guide them and teach them how to play instruments.
“It’s a passion that was inside them,’’ David added. “It was just really neat to see them develop that interest on their own, that makes me feel really good. They heard (kids at school talking) about (Haywire), so they’d come home and ask me questions. It was kind of neat (getting) questions about music and bands . . . that they were able to talk to me and we started having that conversation.’’
David said his biggest piece of advice was that they first develop their songwriting skills and practise their instrument playing.
“It’s pretty awesome to see them, at 16, doing fundraisers and some big shows. People are taking notice.’’