Robyn and Ryleigh rise to the occasion at CBC Plaza

Duo performing tracks from new album in a free noon-hour concert

Robyn and Ryleigh, CBC Musical Nooner, CBC plaza on Hamilton Street (between West Georgia and Robson). Thursday, Aug. 15, Noon to 1 p.m. Free admission.

FOR sisters Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie it was an idea that was sparked around the campfire at their grandparent's place.

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"Robyn used to bring her ukulele or guitar to our family campfires at our grandparent's house and they would always ask us to sing together and we would," Ryleigh says.

Since then the country singers have harmonized their way to a record deal with MDM Records. They released their first fulllength album titled Robyn & Ryleigh on July 17.

The Langley natives say the main influences for their 10-track album were love and heartbreak.

"There is a song for every mood," Robyn says. "We tried to make it vary across the album. We have a pop country song, a rock country song, it's just all over the map.

"We try to make music so that everybody can connect with it," she adds.

The album includes six songs written by Robyn as well as writing contributions from Taylor Swift, Kathleen Higgins, and Steve Lee Olsen.

"('This Is Really Happening') fits with our album so well. We've made it our own but it is so Taylor Swift," Robyn says. "We hope she likes what we've done with it."

Robyn and Ryleigh have also been pushing their new single "Just Another Sundown," which has been released to iTunes and YouTube. The music video for the single was shot on the North Shore and offers spectacular views of the area. A large portion of the video was filmed on top of a high rise building in North Vancouver.

"It was such a cool experience," Ryleigh says. "We got to the elevator and we opened up the doors to go out there and it was such a cool vibe and experience."

The music video was directed by Gene Greenwood and produced by Paul Shatto. Robyn and Ryleigh spent plenty of time scouting out various locations around the Lower Mainland before settling on the North Shore.

"We actually took a really long time to figure out where we wanted to shoot the music video," Robyn says. "Our director came out with us and we looked at so many different places. We decided why not shoot it on top of a giant building."

Weather was a major factor during filming because they needed the perfect sunset for the background of the video.

"We actually lucked out," Ryleigh says. "I think a few days before it was pouring rain."

"We needed the sunset, so we had to wait for that perfect moment during that 20 minute time frame." Robyn adds.

The first stirrings of Robyn and Ryleigh's love for music were apparent long before that seminal night around the campfire. Robyn began song writing at the age of 12 after

receiving a guitar from her parents for her birthday, while Ryleigh was often singing in choirs and musicals.

"They bought me this cute little red guitar that was the perfect size for me at the time," Robyn says. "I learned on it. I wrote a song on it and I started writing songs right away on it and I just loved it."

Robyn and Ryleigh are currently signed with MDM Records and Raincoast Music.

"A long time ago we were playing in White Rock at the Spirit of the Sea Festival and David Wills introduced himself after and said that he and his partner Paul Shatto were interested in working with us," Robyn says. "We started working with them and just recently they started their own company, Raincoast Music under the umbrella of MDM Records."

Fellow British Columbian country artists Chad Brownlee and Hayley are also signed to MDM Records. While Raincoast Music works with AJ Woodworth, Champagne Republic, Cassandra Bangel, Jetty Road and The Higgins.

"It's a big network of people and we are really happy to be a part of it. I'm really excited to see where it all goes," Robyn says.

Although the duo are no longer independent artists they explain that having the full support of MDM Records and Raincoast Music has actually added pressure on them.

"It puts the pressure on because deadlines are deadlines," Robyn says.

"Now that we have people working for us and that we are working as a team, we want to make sure that we are not wasting their time. We have to make sure that we are on top of everything," Ryleigh adds.

Robyn and Ryleigh have travelled throughout the Pacific Northwest. They've previously performed at the BC Summer Games, BC Country Music Awards, Canadian Country Music Awards and the Evergreen State Fair in Washington State.

This summer they will be performing a handful of shows throughout the Lower Mainland. They will also make stops in Bellingham, Wash., and Salem, Ore.

"It's honestly the coolest thing in the world to go on road trips," Robyn says.

The country singers are already looking towards the future. They're planning on making their first trip to Nashville later this year.

"In September we are going down to Nashville," Ryleigh says. "We're going to make sure that people don't forget who we are."

For more information on Robyn and Ryleigh visit robynandryleigh.com or follow them on Twitter: @RobynAndRyleigh.

Robyn & Ryleigh perform a free concert on Thursday, Aug. 15 at CBC Plaza on Hamilton Street (between West Georgia and Robson) as part of the CBC Musical Nooner summer-long series. For more information on the shows visit cbc.ca/bc/community/blog/2013/06/cbc-musical-nooners-returnfor-their-fourth-year.html.

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