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Meet ATLYS

Today we’d like to introduce you to ATLYS.

ATLYS, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We’re a string quartet that is classically trained but is breaking out of the binds of classical music. We met in Chicago while finishing up grad school in music performance, and after a workshop with cellist Yo-yo Ma, we were inspired to use music to inspire in a way that all of our training and education hadn’t really set us up to do. If the path we decided to take weren’t unbeaten enough, the first job we landed was to represent New York’s Lincoln Center in their at-sea classical music performances. Over the course of 2 years, we spent a total of 13 months at sea, performing up to three shows a night–that’s over 1,000 performances together. All the while at sea, we used every opportunity to get out into the incredible ports and film epic music videos. Fast forward to now and we tour the country (on land) performing anywhere and everywhere–concert halls, coffee shops, clubs, schools, on the sidewalk, wherever! And one of our favorite ways to make music is with others. Collaboration is and always has been a huge part of our foundation.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
IS ANYTHING EVER?! Of course not! Living in close quarters, playing together every single day…on a cruise ship …for 13 months…no escape! OH BOY! In a group of 4 strong-minded women, we had to do our best to communicate kindly and thoughtfully. Lucky for us, we’ve always found the way to make it to the other side. We’ve grown to be incredibly supportive and respectful of each other! If you can live through that, you just might about be able to live through anything!

As pure-bred classical musicians, we had such a deficit of experience when it came to writing our own music or using anything electronic. No, we perform with looping and distortion pedals and write our own repertoire. We know how to run a fully sufficient recording session and film our own music videos and hold our own photoshoots (it’s miraculous what you can do with just a tripod! None of this could have been possible without our incredible network of friends and mentors.

ATLYS – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a string quartet–2 violins, viola, and cello, but we don’t perform Mozart and Beethoven. We play Beyoncé, Imagine Dragons, Celtic jigs, the Beatles, Lizzo, etc. Without overdoing the trope about how classical music is dead (it is not), we couldn’t help but notice the disconnect with audiences. Our music seeks to bridge this gap taking music that is already familiar and well-loved and putting our own spin on it. We’re pretty proud that the single we released in January of this year, a cover of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’, is closing in on 1.5 million streams on Spotify.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Besides the 1.5 Million streams, some other highlights include performing for a ceremony featuring Oprah Winfrey, and being invited to Oslo, Norway to perform our music for the annual Oslo Freedom Forum, presented by the Human Rights Foundation.

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Image Credit:

Kenneth B. Edwards

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