If you missed it, last year three siblings from Oregon blew away America’s Got Talent seat of judges and audience with their emotionally-packed performance of an original song called “Heaven’s Not Too Far.” Calling themselves We Three — made up of Bethany, Joshua, and Manny — the song is a tribute to their late mother. The sibling trio and their stunning harmonic performances won the hearts of many on and off the stage, and at the end of last year, the pop group released their 13-track debut album. What’s more, is that they’re officially on their Lifeline tour, so be sure to catch them at a venue near you!
The Orchard: You are siblings and musicians. Would you say that is fun but sometimes difficult?
We Three: A little bit of both for sure. That’s actually the main question people ask, especially now that we are going on tour. You’re going to be the tour bus for two months with your siblings? The biggest thing we’ve learned is to give each other space when possible.
How do you get your alone time when you’re all recording and performing all the time?
There are times where we don’t have a choice, but we know each other very well (probably better than anyone else) so we can usually tell when this is needed. But what really makes everything possible are the moments on stage. When we have frustrating moments we just push through them because the moments on stage are so worth it. We have such a blast making music and performing together. We really want to make this work, so those silly moments are so small in comparison to the big picture.
On your website you describe the group as an unfinished songbook. Can you go into what that is and how your current album fits into this unfinished songbook?
Songwriting is like a journal. It shows the progression through life. Like a diary, someone writes in it to express what they’re feeling — happy, sad, and everything in between. For us, songwriting comes from a very honest place. We write about personal experiences because that’s where the most powerful stuff comes from. The thing about a songbook is that even when you think it’s done another idea will come to you. That’s the way it is supposed to be — you have to keep pushing yourself forward to sharpen your abilities.
As to our album and where it fits into our story, it signifies a closing of a chapter in our lives and the beginning of another. Most of the album was written while we were on America’s Got Talent, so that major experience influenced most of the songs. Now that we released the album, we are ready to start a new chapter. The album also helped us dial in on our sound and what we were trying to say. Although we grew up in the same household listening to the same music, we are very different people. So there was this healthy challenge of trying to reach a sound that combined all of our influences into one.
What initially made you want to come together and perform as a group?
I think our song “Fairytale” was the turning point. It was the only song that made it from our first record into our actual debut album. Our producer at the time asked us when we released the song what our plans were for the future. We had never really thought about that; it was the first song that really gave us the confidence to continue writing and show people our songbook. We actually had a meeting one day discussing if we were going to keep doing this as a hobby or pursue it as a career and pour everything we had into it. Before that, we were just a cover band playing songs we grew up listening to and arranging them for three people. Once we had played for a while we started arranging songs to the way we wanted them and ultimately ended up writing “Fairytale.”
Now that you’re going on your Lifeline tour, what piece of advice will you be taking on the road?
We’ve never played more than one show in a row and for a while now we have been starting to get more and more hungry for that constant line of shows. Even if it’s the best show we’ve ever done, we look at it as a learning opportunity to better our performances. And it’s the same if the show is the worst, we just want to get out there again and do it again and again. People always ask us “how are you guys not tired?” We are tired but the excitement of the tour definitely overpowers it. Probably some of the best advice we’ve ever received is that you can only push your voice so hard. A vocal coach told us that if our voices were feeling sore to take the B route of the song, as in, the alternate voice part.
What would you say are your favorite songs on the album?
Oh that changes from day to day! Today it’s definitely “Sweater Weather,” “Testify,” and “Lifeline.”
What was the feeling before getting on stage at America’s Got Talent for the first time?
It was nerve-wracking and weird. We had never done anything like it before! At one point each of us was looking around asking “Is your mouth dry?!” We started chugging water when we were done. We had performed for big audiences before but the fact that celebrities were about to judge us made it so much more stressful. When we walked out on stage the judges were lit up like gods so that made them so much more intimidating than normal. However, the moment we played the first note everything including the audience and judges just melted away. Overall it was a great experience. Everyone was really nice and getting a position reaction from the judges was incredible.
What was going through your head when you stepped off stage?
Not much other than Wow, did we do okay? The moment that really solidified our performance was what someone from the show had told us after a whole day of working with him. He told us his friend passed away that day and that our song really hit him, so at that point we knew that we had done our job. Our song sent the message we were trying to send.