Parkland's Own Country Music Duo
By Jan Engoren / August, September, October 2012
"I'm a girl who'd be perfectly fine ....first date, backroads on a Friday night --just a Chevy and a radio on... Talking 'til we see the sun... I'm a girl who is always here and there; can't stay very long anywhere... me and my guitar. Home is right here in my heart ...."
So begin the lyrics to My Kinda Life from Parkland's own country music sisters, Jenny & Ashley. Ashley, the younger of the two sisters, wrote My Kinda Life in Nashville. Released on iTunes in April, their next song, You Made My Yesterday, will debut this summer. The two teenagers, both bubbly, bright, energetic and engaging, one brunette, the other blonde, have found their passion and calling early in life. Respectively, ages sixteen and nearly fifteen, the sisters possess confidence beyond their years.
Says mom, Beth Cooke, a former technical salesperson at IBM; "I played Disney lullabies and classical music for them in the crib."
Their love of music was born.
Says Ashley, who loves Steak 'n Shake, horseback riding and Facebook, "I was shy and music helped me find myself. One day I said, ‘I'm writing a song,' started writing and never stopped."
Jenny, who describes herself as a "girly-girl, says, "My goal is to change the world and our generation, one song at a time.
We love pop country, and we want to give fans a positive influence -- to understand a guy should treat you right, follow your dreams, and other things. So, country is a good place to be, and we love the pop sound."
Their desire is to fill the vacuum left by Miley Cyrus with songs in the same vein as pop country artists Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, and Garth Brooks.
Ashley, who has been singing since she could speak, says, "Bridgette Tatum, (writer of Jason Aldean's She's Country), always says: ‘You guys have something to say.' And I think that's what's interesting about us."
The sisters, who were raised in Wisconsin and California, have moved sixteen times before coming to Parkland. They briefly attended Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jenny began her career as a print model in Wisconsin for Kohl's department stores in 2002 and worked on Disney and Nickelodeon commercials, while Ashley had a role in a TV commercial, alongside a chimpanzee.
Says Jenny, "Ever since, we've been onstage and love it. We sing wherever, whenever, and for whomever."
They split their time between Florida and Nashville and collaborate with artists such as Alissa Moreno, Bridgette Tatum, Emily Shackelton, Christy Sutherland and the Dancehall Doctors (Tim McGraw's Band).
While Jenny is systematic and organized, Ashley is "easy as it goes." Their dad, Dennis, an executive, says: "My oldest is organized and strategic. And my youngest? Well, she has a magical way of getting things done."
Ashley agrees, "I wing it. I taught myself to play piano and guitar and to sing." Says Jenny, "She's good at what she does and we balance ourselves out. We're best friends and, with our mom, we are the three musketeers."
Jenny, who devours fashion magazines and loves Juicy Couture, says, "I have a strong work ethic. When I was younger, I would come home from school, put on the karaoke machine, and master every song."
Are they ever intimidated meeting Nashville's pop country singing stars? Does the glitz and glamour go to their heads?
"No," says Jenny. "When we're with talented people, we're like sponges. We soak up talent. It's special that we can surround ourselves with the best of the best and learn from them."
Says Cooke, "We keep them grounded. We have two family rules -- they must get an education and we get together as a family every weekend for dinners, vacations and beach days. Jenny and Ashley do laundry, keep their rooms tidy and help around the house."
Their manager, Faithe Dillman, who worked with Lady Gaga, 50 Cent and the All American Rejects, met Jenny and Ashley in California when she worked at Universal Studios.
Says Dillman, "Jenny and Ashley have ‘it.' Young girls want to look at them, meet them and be like them...They can go the distance. They work hard. They are going for their dreams and inspiring others to come along with them."
To "like" Jenny & Ashley on Facebook, visit: www.facebook.com/jennyandashleyofficial.
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