For the last few years, New Jersey’s music critics have predicted big things for Nalani and Sarina Bolton, identical twins from Flemington who perform together under the name, Nalani & Sarina. And now, the pop/rock/soul duo is finalizing a new record deal that will give them international distribution for the first time. Though not ready to announce details, they say their first album under this deal will likely come out either in late fall or early next year.
Nalani & Sarina — who are in their mid-20s and both sing, play several instruments and are accomplished songwriters as well as dynamic performers — will contribute a relatively early (12:45 p.m.) set to the free Hub City Sounds: ROCK New Brunswick concert at Boyd Park, Sunday. Each of the the event’s media partners were asked to nominate one particularly notable New Jersey act to perform. NJArts.net is one of the partners, and Nalani & Sarina were my pick.
Even though Flemington is not that far from New Brunswick, they’ve only played there a few times, and this will be their first show there with a full backing band.
“We didn’t really grow up visiting New Brunswick and that sort of thing, but we’ve become more aware of the music scene,” says Nalani.
“Just this past year, we’ve done some college shows, and gotten to know some of the vibes and the people in the area,” says Sarina. “But we’d definitely like to break into it more.”
Nalani and Sarina are prolific writers, and have no shortage of material for the new album.
“Thematically, we’ve found that we’ve been writing songs about people our age,” says Nalani. “We’ve been writing very observationally (about) a lot of our friends who are coming back from college, or have been living at home. We can’t help but notice these things. So we almost feel like it’s our duty as songwriters to talk about some of the issues that are going on, that’s not really talked about.”
“There’s a couple of songs that just deal with finding a job, or being in a job that you hate,” says Sarina. “We find the topics are almost that step in your life where you’re kind of going into the real world, and all the things that come with that, good and bad. And in a way, we’re seeing ourselves going through that as well, in the music business.”
Many people, of course, experience some degree of confusion about the direction their life is going in, when they’re in their 20s. But Nalani and Sarina have embarked on their career as musicians without hesitation.
“Early on, we knew what we wanted to do, right out of high school,” says Nalani. “So we were lucky, in that sense. But we go through some of the similar struggles that some of these people do, and we’re just trying to give them a voice.”
“What it ultimately comes down to is, everyone at our age is trying to make their dream a reality,” says Sarina. “And that’s a huge way of how we relate to what these people are going through. One of the songs off the album was inspired by someone who had come out to our shows, and told us that after watching us play, he quit his day job, to pursue music full-time. And watching someone get that effect through us, and just through music, was super-inspiring.”
Here is the schedule for Sunday’s ROCK New Brunswick concert at Boyd Park. For information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Noon: Killer Shrimp
12:30 p.m.: Vertical Fixation (aerial acrobats)
12:45 p.m.: Nalani & Sarina
1:15 p.m.: DJ Don Dazzo
1:30 p.m.: Cook Thugless
2:10 p.m.: Vertical Fixation (aerial acrobats)
2:25 p.m.: The Anderson Council
3:05 p.m.: DJ Don Dazzo
3:20 p.m.: Silent Knight & The Band Called FUSE
4 p.m.: Vertical Fixation (aerial acrobats)
4:15 p.m.: Sharief in Burgundy, featuring Sharief Hobley
4:55 p.m.: DJ Don Dazzo
5:10 p.m.: Hub City Stompers