by Kristin L.Wolfe
“I’m so ready. Get me back out on that stage!”
Sara Keden and fellow Kid Sistr bandmates Becca Webster and Isabella aka “Sabel” Englert shared this sentiment, eager to perform again. This year has been tough for any band wherein that raison d’etre, performing their music, has literally come to a halt. Despite missing it, and admitting they can’t wait to get their “yayas out,” they’ve taken the opportunity to write extensively, and create a lot of social content. Having a presence online is definitely something that keeps this young group growing and connected to the world of music from their communities in Connecticut, New York, and beyond.
They seemed to be a bit shy when I mentioned their fan base, even having fans, but they indeed have an enthusiastic following. At last check, over 3.1 million likes on TikTok, but who’s counting? Becca, who is a student at USC in California, says, it’s cool to see which fans follow them on both TikTok and Instagram, where she says their “real homies” are. TikTok, however, has definitely given them a platform, and where, Sara admits, “many of our recent opportunities have come from.”
“Things seem to happen in waves and we feel lucky to have ridden the first wave, “ Sabel adds. For example, they were recently featured as one of four female rock bands highlighted in a summer issue of Variety magazine (July 2, 2020). The writer reached out to them via TikTok; and similarly, Counting Crows frontman, Adam Duritz, stayed in one of their Instagram lives, then personally invited them to be a part of his relatively new effort which focuses on independent music: the Underwater Sunshine Fest. They took part in the festival, at Rockwood Music Hall, in November 2019 and it sounds like it was truly an unforgettable moment. Not only was that a real coup for exposure as a new band, but one of the first times Kid Sistr had the crowd they did. Things seemed to align–there was a definite vibe– and they knew it was a moment; it was the start to a new chapter.
We spoke a few minutes about the music at the Super Bowl, and they beamed a bit when I mentioned the lady rocker line up that lit up the pre-game show, including Miley Cyrus with Joan Jett, then later H.E.R. performing a smash version of “America, The Beautiful.” Sabel added that the rock category for the Grammys this year is all, or mostly, women. And they really did sweep the show!
Kid Sistr is so much more than a girl band, a moniker that can strike both pride and frustration. On the one hand, making the distinction is key because their genre is still dominated by men, and yet, there’s so much more to Kid Sistr than being young women. True, their name comes from the fact they all have younger sisters, but have a smile about it, and move onto their music. All incredibly talented solo musicians, predominantly guitar, bass, drums and vocals, the three of them really gel together to create lively, soulful performances. Sara (bass) and Becca (drums) have known each other for years, as they came together amidst the School of Rock program in Fairfield as two of just a few young women there at the time. Later, Sara and Sabel met at University of Miami. But four years ago (a fact that actually surprised them when we spoke about dates), they joined forces, and as Sara puts it, “We found our missing link, and it was magic.”
Happy Anniversary, Ladies.
They are all very aware of each other’s strengths, and, as we hope to see with young women, they are really great about expressing what they bring individually to the band or how each other’s strengths raise each other up. Sara, who has the most touring experience, and a self-described Type A personality, keeps a tight calendar and is laser focussed on the band’s overall vision; Sabel, the singer/songwriter, who did a lot of solo gigs before Kid Sistr, tends to narrow in on “special moments,” when making a connection between the band and the fans; And the youngest of the bunch, Becca, has a really melodic sensibility and has become a serious arranger. Sara recalls Becca admitting once as they just started a new project, “I already have all the parts.”
They are quite proud of the fact that they all really get along and enjoy each other’s company. Despite being together for four years, they admit it has just been this last year, a strange plus of the pandemic, where they’ve bonded and have learned so much about each other beyond their musical tie. They believe that that has become a positive effect of not gigging as much. This realization and time together makes them all the more excited to tour together when the world finally opens up again. Sara has had the most touring experience, but has done so with male groups. She’s particularly excited to tour with Kid Sistr. “Women are naturally ’self-carey…nurturing.” Sabel added how they are really great about protecting themselves, being able to have fun without that part overtaking their health, or especially the health of the band. I was impressed with how insightful and mature they were in expressing that crucial element. This came on the heels of a conversation about how some great musicians burn out or get too caught up in “the scene.”
When talking about the young Connecticut music scene and some of the places where they used to congregate and perform, Becca admits, although “those places really helped with our development, we’re evolving now outside the jam band, bar band scene.”
So, if you haven’t yet gotten wind of this immensely talented band, check them out. Watch that evolution Becca alluded to. There doesn’t seem to be a genre Kid Sistr can’t tackle and execute. Until we can see them live, spend some time on their social channels. In addition to sharing some of their incredible music, their content is fun, spirited, and a bit addicting. They are the epitome of talent, camaraderie, and support; Indeed, ladies who rock!