Lately it seems that we’re bombarded with all kinds of stress and negative news. As we continuously become inundated with this information, it’s hard to see the fun in certain things. However, one band is looking to change this by taking a lighthearted approach to what they’re providing the public.
Sparkle Party is an all-girl band based out of Chicago who brings glitter galore to put a glamorous face on their talent. Their debut single, a cover of “That Thing You Do!” launched earlier this month and I had the pleasure of catching up with the leading ladies, Kate Catalina and Sayre Gee (who perform as Melodee Mercury and Stella Starship, respectively,) about what we can look forward to from Sparkle Party.
What was the inspiration to start Sparkle Party?
Kate: In the 40s , Hollywood was booming because its purpose was to distract the world from the war with entertainment. Fast forward to today, and people are consumed with themselves and buying things. They hate one another for their beliefs, they hate the government, they gotta get their daily selfies in… I wanted to create something fun and colorful online that would distract people from all of that and remind the world that happiness is a matter of embracing imperfections. In a way, I feel like my character as Melodee Mercury is not particularly pretty by public standards, and I feel that I sacrificed getting to be a bombshell showgirl by taking this role as the carefree spitfire. Showing people you don’t need to be a streamlined, cookie-cutter mime of your typical glitzy pop star.
Sparkle Party mocks the entertainment industry in the same way Spinal Tap does to further remind folks to have more fun in life. It’s OK to laugh at yourself. And stop taking everything so seriously.
Sayre: Yah, when Kate came to me with the idea I was really excited. I had a love for vintage Hollywood when I was growing up, loved old Broadway show tunes. I’ve been looking to be a part of something like Sparkle Party my whole life. Who doesn’t want to be covered in glitter and dance around and sing your favorite songs for others to enjoy? I’m happy that we get to make people happy. I mean, anything goes. Like our video! Let’s smash a piñata and roll around in the grass, maybe? Ok. No idea is really off the table.
What motivated the personas of Melodee Mercury and Stella Starship?
Kate: When we were in the very beginning stages of creating this, I knew that I wanted every member of the band to portray something different, have a look, have a stage name, etc. The working title of the project at the time was Voodoo Sparkle, and nothing else was in place until Sayre came up with her character name, Stella Starship. It was perfect, and obvious then that Stella’s theme would be starry and cosmic. Figured that the best way to even out the look and concept would be for Melodee to represent a darker cosmic side, but not necessarily a mean one. Like fire and ice, light and dark. Our makeup artist Graci came up with my character’s stage makeup. It’s actually funny to us how visually we are a play on Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but that was not intended at all.
As for the colors involved, I wanted Stella and Melodee to embrace their own color scheme. It evens out. And now with the addition of Lexii, who is our featured guitarist, she will embrace blues, yellows, and greens.
Sayre: Yah, we call her our “Cherry Girl” because while Kate and I are a great duo and front the band, there’s something to be said about the power of three. She’s the cherry on our sundae. We’ll be sure to give Lexii the spotlight in the near future. We love her so much!
What musical backgrounds do you each have?
Sayre: I come from a classic theater and choir background, although I spent a few years as a punk rock drummer and singer. I’ve always felt most comfortable on stage or in any kind of performance setting. Sparkle Party gives me the opportunity to be center stage and express my full personality, act with my vocal delivery, and embrace my range. I’m not trying to be Mariah Carey, I’m totally and completely myself.
Kate: I come from an artistic family and grew up with a hefty influence from all different outlets of artistic expression. In regard to music specifically, I remember taking piano lessons when I was a kid, but quitting because I didn’t like theory. I could always play by ear and felt that translating how my soul felt without the technical understanding meant a lot more. It gave my musical abilities more character. I first went into a recording studio when I was 11 to lay down 7 solo piano songs I had written. I caught the songwriting bug from there on out. I started adding lyrics to my songs when I was 16 and have since then released an EP through my solo project Whirlbone.
What does each member contribute to Sparkle Party?
Sayre: Yin and yang. We play off each other and truly have fun bringing out the best in who each of us is.
Kate: Totally! While I act as creative director and have the ultimate idea of where I want to take this, great things can’t take place on your own. Sayre has been there to hear every idea and give her feedback. I think I am the serious one who can joyfully man the business side of things ,while Sayre is always the one with the encouraging attitude. I can channel the same, but I like playing director. But I hate handling money.
Sayre: She does, but I handle the math. (laughs)
You debuted your first track, covering “That Thing You Do!” any clues as to what’s next?
Sayre: Nope! We’re gonna leave you in the dark. (laughs)
Kate: I can tell you that we have someone really special featured on lead vocals for the next track. Sayre and I will be singing the hook, and we already have a fun concept planned for the video, which we’d like to film in New York.
What is the one thing you would like people to know about Sparkle Party?
Kate: You don’t have to take us seriously, but considering the concept is “Rocky Horror meets Spice Girls meets Spinal Tap,” if you do, the joke is on you. We have a really professional and talented team working with us 24/7, so the quality of everything from the music to the makeup is ace. If you hate it, you’re probably an unhappy person.
Sayre: Our message is lighthearted and positive. Embrace your inner light. Don’t lose your childhood enthusiasm.
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