Singing toward success

By Posted on Jul 18 2018 | By

Fauquier’s Katie and Kelly Hagarty launch music career 

The music industry is a labor of love…coupled with extraordinary work. The odds of reaching stardom is a formidable challenge. But if talent and commitment are soulmates to success, keep an eye on two local young ladies as they begin their climb up the ladder.

On July 4, Katie and Kelly Hagarty released their first song, titled Indecisive. It’s available on popular music apps iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon and is receiving positive reviews. The music genre the duo focuses on is country-rock.

Katie & Kelly Hagarty

The talented twosome has been making music together since their preteens but in the last year have taken dead aim at a professional career. Typical of many emerging young stars it’s been a family affair with mom and dad guiding and encouraging their youthful charges.

The family connection further extends to this writer who is the grandfather of the ladies. But a familial relationship in no way leads to embellishing the gifts of these two singers.

Their talent is real.

Parents Brian and Diane Hagarty live just outside Warrenton. Brian Hagarty is a local real estate agent assisted by his wife.

In addition to Katie, 17, and Kelly, 20, they have two sons, Preston and Peyton. Preston, 23, is a former Marine who operates a successful physical fitness business in Wilmington, N.C. Their youngest child, Peyton, 13, lives at home and works as videographer on his sisters’ videos.

In the beginning
Singers often begin to warble as youngsters and so it was with the Hagarty twosome. It started over a decade ago when Kelly Hagarty first sang at church. From there they entered local talent competitions taking first place in three of the events.

With many activities to engage them at the early teen level, the music was set aside and occasionally employed at family get togethers; all fun with no expectations.

Then in 2017, Diane Hagarty spotted her daughters sitting on a gently sloping roof of their home singing. Mom’s cell phone recorded one of the impromptu performances for posterity.

Fast forward one month and Brian Hagarty, along with his newly minted real estate agent daughter, Kelly, were in Hoboken, N.J attending a real estate seminar. A restaurant conversation commenced with two West Coast diners who were, ironically, in the music business. Kelly Hagarty showed the men the video her mother had taken.

“Hey, hand me that phone. Is that really you guys singing?” asked one of the incredulous men. Indeed, it was. “Can we call you tomorrow? We hear something different in your voices. We think you have something special. We’d like to help develop it.”

The other music guru was also a professional bus driver. He had a colorful past that included driving for Johnny Cash, BB King and other notables, including a short stint wheeling for Bob Dylan when the legendary singer was having a new engine installed in his own highway behemoth.

As the fortuitous dinner encounter concluded, the ace driver turned to Kelly Hagarty and said, “Keep in touch. When you girls make it to the top I’ll come back and drive for you.”

Heady stuff for the young lass.

“That evening is where it all started,” said Diane Hagarty. The men were successful music entrepreneurs on the scout for new talent. A short time later one of the men flew in from Calif. for a three-day stay at the Hagarty home.

The long weekend was spent discussing the singers’ goals, and more importantly, teaching them how to write songs. After a few months of collaborative work the young talent decided the style of music the men were seeking did not match theirs and the two parties parted amicably.

Getting serious
Brian Hagarty then set in motion a series of actions to accelerate his daughters’ goals. One involved a trip to Nashville to meet with a leading entertainment lawyer.

In researching the industry, he learned, “If you have any potential talent and start making money, hire an entertainment attorney and a business manager. I wanted the best and found such a lawyer in Nashville.” For now, Brian Hagarty acts as the business manager.

Next came outlays for future artistic growth. Purchases included a piano, acoustic guitars, microphones, video software programs and other assorted equipment.

One microphone alone ran $5,000. To date, $30,000 has been invested in his daughters burgeoning careers; expenditures that are a given in firing up a professional career.

The next move was building live performance skills. Open mic performances at local venues such a Molly’s Pub, Denim and Pearls, Old Bust Head Brewery and others acted as an incubation environment for building a repertoire, learning stage presence and honing entertainer skills.

One upcoming volunteer performance that the pair are proud to perform at is a September 8 fundraiser at Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane. The event is called BeLEIGHve Fest that will raise funds to help cover medical costs for the Leigh family of Marshall whose two sons, Noah and Kaleb, suffer from cancer.

After that performance a shift will be made to focus on paid performances as they advance their career. It will also include performing at private parties and corporate events.

In the interim, Katie Hagarty will finish her final year of high school by home schooling.

Further to their aspirations, Katie and Kelly have been accepted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International, the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters trade association. They will travel to Nashville on August 2 to sharpen their song crafting skills under the guidance of the country’s top songwriters.

They are also members of BMI, an organization that collects license fees on behalf of songwriters. Each time one of their songs is aired a percent of the money is paid back to the them; a critical function for artists writing their own material.

The Future
So what thoughts swirl through the minds of these young singers as they hit the career pedal?

“When we started out we didn’t have anybody helping us. There was no set plan or detailed map. We had to learn a lot by ourselves. It was hard to research and learn; especially Logic Pro X, the software for recording our videos,” said Kelly Hagarty.

Because of her inherent technical skills, however, she was soon navigating the intricacies of producing demos and videos.

She also differed with Katie on an important function: stage presence. “In the beginning I suffered from anxiety on stage. Katie never did. Soon it became fun to perform. I also enjoy talking with members of the audience after a show is over.”

Individual skill sets are now established with Kelly handling the mixing board, sound equipment, guitar work, harmonies and other aspects of both videos and live shows. Katie is the lead singer and co-writes all of their material with Kelly.

Katie Hagarty said, “The most satisfying part of the career so far is to go back and listen to the first songs we recorded on our phones. It’s amazing to see how much work and layers go into the final product. It’s really amazing to see the progress.

“When we go back and listen to our early cover songs on YouTube we kinda cringe. We definitely got better the more we did it.”

Soon the team will begin designing and creating their own line of merchandise, including shirts, jackets and other clothing items for sale at their performances and online. The intent is to start slowly and see what sells and then expand the product line based on sales success.

In the short term, they will continue as a sister act but will likely expand to include a band within a year. “We want to play bigger venues. We plan on having a drummer, electric guitarist and bass player but we’d still be writing the songs,” said Katie Hagarty.

Katie Hagarty closes with an assessment of their hectic existence: “We are very blessed to be where we are at this point in our life. It’s been hard to get here, what with school and other work that we’re involved in. But it’s been an amazing experience; very humbling, because it’s satisfying to make music for a living and meet with some success.”

Kelly Hagarty said, “I find it enlightening to now have a job where I get to create music, putting emotions into my guitar and creating emotions for others.”

Visitors can reach the singers on their website KatieandKellyMusic.com.  Interested listeners can purchase music and view videos while enjoying the sound of a blossoming career.

Published in the  June 18, 2018  edition of the Fauquier Times.


Categories : HAGARTY TALES