Also known as: 78Violet (2009-2015)Genre: Pop teen, pop pop, rock folk, popOrigin: Torrance, California, USALabels: Hollywood (2005-2010), 78violet Music LLC (2013-present)Members: Alyson “Aly” Michalka, Amanda “AJ” Michalka
Aly & AJ is an American pop rock duo that consists of sisters Alyson “Aly” and Amanda Joy “AJ” Michalka. They signed a recording contract with Hollywood Records in 2004. Their debut album, Into the Rush, debuted at number 36 on the US Billboard 200, and was later certified gold by the RIAA. It has sold 839,000 copies domestically and 1 million worldwide. Their second album, Insomniatic, peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week and becoming Aly & AJ’s highest debut to date.
Aly & AJ’s debut studio album, Into the Rush, was released on August 16, 2005 and certified Gold by the RIAA in March 2006. One of the album’s singles, “No One”, was featured in the Walt Disney Pictures feature film Ice Princess and its soundtrack. The song “Do You Believe in Magic”, written, composed and originally recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful under John Sebastian, added a rock edge to the album.
This cover was used in the soundtrack of the made-for-TV Disney Channel original movie, Now You See It… “Do You Believe in Magic” became their first single to enter the top 20 of the Canadian Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 23 and at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Singles Sales. Into the Rush has sold 839,000 copies in the United States and 1 million worldwide.
The sisters have been involved in various Walt Disney Records projects. The “Aly & AJ Concert” took place on July 24, 2005 at the Henry Fonda theater in Hollywood, California. The aired concert was cut to five songs and interviews, and included songs from Into the Rush. The sisters opened for The Cheetah Girls in December 2005, on the girls’ Cheetah-licious Christmas Tour.
The album was re-released in August 2006 with three new songs, including the chart selection “Chemicals React” and two new versions of “Collapsed” and “Something More”. It was also released in the United Kingdom. The sisters released their second studio album, the Christmas-themed Acoustic Hearts of Winter, on September 26, 2006.
On the album, Aly & AJ recorded traditional Christmas songs. In late 2007, the sisters recorded three more original Christmas-themed selections.
The duo’s third studio album, Insomniatic, was released on July 10, 2007. The album features a more electropop, electronic rock and dance-pop influenced sound different from their debut, with the use of synthesizers, synth-rock guitars, vocoder and electronic instruments. The album peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week alone, and becoming Aly & AJ’s highest debut to date.
The album sold 700,000 copies in the United States. The album’s electropop lead single, “Potential Breakup Song”, had actually preceded their second studio album. Insomniatic, whose selections the Michalka sisters had written and composed themselves, was released on June 25, 2007.
In early January 2008, Aly & AJ performed a cover of KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Yahoo’s Pepsi Smash video site. The cover is also featured on the Japanese re-release of Insomniatic, recorded at the Abbey Road Studios. Also, the girls covered the song “We’re an American Band” for Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Vol. 1; their interpretation of the Grand Funk Railroad rock classic served as a bonus track.
In early 2008, Billboard confirmed that the girls were working on a third studio album which was due to be released in late 2009. They mentioned in an interview with Radio Disney on April 23, 2008 that they were going for a “rockier” sound, and that this time they wanted to sing separately, not harmonizing their voices as they had on their previous albums, to let fans identify which Michalka sister was singing.
On October 7, 2008, the up-to-then-yet-untitled album had been confirmed for a release in April 2009 by a Hollywood Records representative; however, a month later, the duo revealed in an interview that the album had been delayed until the summer of 2009. In later interviews though, the duo mentioned a release date of fall 2009, and lastly, on September 30, 2009, the duo claimed an early 2010 release of the record.
The duo wrote a song (later confirmed to be titled “The Next Worst Thing”) with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. The girls also worked with Chris Lord-Alge and Rob Cavallo, both producers in the rock genre. Throughout 2009, various songtitles were added to the database of Broadcast Music Incorporated, written and composed by the duo, and jointly written and composed in collaborations with Daniel James and Leah Haywood.
Rumors of Aly & AJ touring in the summer of 2009 surfaced the internet, but Aly Michalka later denied them on the sisters’ official website. They stated that they were finalizing the record and wanted to focus on that at the moment. They also revealed that they wanted to tour in early 2010 to promote the new album.
On July 8, 2009, the duo announced that they changed the team’s name to 78violet. A week later, on July 16, 78violet announced that their third album will be self-titled. On February 19, 2010, 78violet announced on their official Facebook page that they had officially parted ways with Hollywood Records, and their new self-titled album, 78violet, probably would not be released. However, the duo stated that they were continuing to write and record for a new album.
On December 1, 2010, 78violet’s first song under the name of 78violet was released with the Hellcats soundtrack EP. 78violet recorded the theme song to Hellcats, titled “Belong Here”. On January 24, 2011, a video of 78violet in the studio was released where a clip of a new song, titled “Suspended”, was played. Some of the titles being considered for 78violet’s fourth album were 8 Hours and 53rd floor. Aly mentioned that they had joined forces with a new production company.
On June 18, 2012, 78violet announced that they were “Off to NY to start cutting instrumentals for the record.” On June 19, 2012, they announced that they had started the first day of production for the album. On June 22, they announced that the “Album track list is officially set:)”, calling it “not what you expect”. On October 15, 2012, the girls tweeted that their album is complete and expected sometime 2013, with the possibility of a single in summer of the same year. The girls later confirmed that the lead single would be “Hothouse”.
On May 2, 2013, the girls signed to Red Light Management which will be the music management company of all their future music. The single would be released on July 8, with an album to follow. New original songs performed on their first show include: “Hothouse”, “Boy”, “53rd Floor”, “Heart”, “Hole in the Earth”, and “8 Hours”. The group announced that they would be releasing an EP in early 2014, however, this never materialized.
On December 9, 2015, the girls came back to music and changed their name back to Aly & AJ. On April 5, 2016, the girls had a Q&A on their official Twitter page where they confirmed they start working on the new album in April. The new album will be written and recorded with Mike Elizondo and Ryan Spraker.