Cool siblings: Echosmith bring family ties to Shelter

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Echosmith weren't always the cool kids, but they were able to watch themselves become them through every step of the process.

The sibling band — singer Sydney Sierota and her brothers, Jamie (guitar), Noah (bass) and Graham (drums) — began playing in 2009 and worked for five years before exploding last year with their smash single "Cool Kids." The band plays the Shelter Saturday night.

"It definitely was gradual," says Sydney, on the phone last month from a tour stop in Orlando. "'Cool Kids' has been out for two years, so it was not in any way an overnight success. It was a slow burn, but it was a good one. We got to see every stage of the song, because it went so slow and we were there for it."

Sydney, 17, says the band was able to watch the transition from one person in the crowd singing along to 'Cool Kids' to five to 10 to 100 to now thousands. "That's pretty crazy, and I have it on video too, so it's all documented," she says.

"Cool Kids" peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart last summer, while racking up a staggering 132 million Spotify plays and 29 million YouTube views. The band's debut album, "Talking Dreams," was released in October 2013.

The young band — their ages range from 21 to 16 — is now pushing its second single, "Bright," and because of the inroads made with "Cool Kids," things are easier this time around.

"All the touring and constantly staying relevant really helped us, and radio was a big push for us," Sydney says. "Radio made the biggest difference for us. We've done multiple radio visits in almost every city in the country to tell them thank you, basically, and that goes a long way to show somebody you appreciate them."

The Sierotas were raised in Chino, California, 30 miles east of Los Angeles, and later moved to Toluca Lake in the San Fernando Valley. They grew up in a musical household, and Coldplay was an early influence.

"They were my first concert," says Sydney, who was home schooled and finished high school last year. "They have a song ("A Message") that says their message is love, and I just think that's so cool. What other band has the guts to say that?"

Echosmith isn't ready to dive into album No. 2 just yet; "Talking Dreams" is still on the front burner and the group is spending the rest of the year supporting it on tour. "Shows, shows and more shows," Sydney says of the band's plans for the year.

Blood relations within a group can make for choppy waters — just ask Oasis, or the Black Crowes, or Kings of Leon — but Echosmith is looking to be one of the ones to make it work.

"We know each other really well," Sydney says. "It's helpful to understand each other, and I think so many bands break up because they don't understand each other, and they just give up. We already have gone through the whole getting-to-know-each-other phase a long time ago, so it's nice to have that out of the way. And we can be super honest with each other, too, which is really helpful for when someone brings an idea that sounds good. We have plenty of ideas that are bad; you're bound to have some bad ideas if you have some good ones. So we're able to say, 'hey, I don't like that, let's do something else,' without getting too offended."


8 p.m. Saturday

The Shelter

431 E. Congress, Detroit

Tickets $15

(313) 645-6358