The Rankin Twins - April and Amy - share a giggle and a song during a recent visit to the local radio station to promote their music. The Texas twins are carving out a music career writing and singing original songs. Photo by Phil Houseal
The Rankin Twins: Fresh and new, times two
by Phil Houseal
The Rankin Twins are just so... so... well, so darn adorable. But don’t let that fool you. They are tough, smart, funny, and talented musicians who know what they are doing on stage and off.
“It doesn’t matter what people think,” said Amy and April Rankin, the singing identical twins, of their bubbly personalities. “We know who we are. Sure we can get really excited. We can’t help our personalities. But we both have degrees.”
(Note: I am not going to attribute quotes between the sisters, mainly because I interviewed them on speakerphone, and their responses were so intertwined I could not distinguish which twin said what.)
Their natures are contagious, gregarious, delicious. Whether they are onstage singing, on the radio talking about their music, or posting on Facebook (“love yer guts”), they revel in their fans.
“Both of us are huge ‘people persons.’ We love meeting people, and want to have as many friends as possible.” Amy took a job at Starbucks just so she could be surrounded by people she hadn’t met yet.
This joy in life is balanced by a pragmatic side. Not only do they both hold degrees from Texas A&M (Amy in Marketing; April in Ag Development), they have worked in corporate America, and they run a successful business - Twinty Photography.
With all their savvy, they were probably the last to know they were going to be in the music business. The twins had always shared a big love for music, but were more into athletics than singing.
“Our mom was shy, so she put us on stage for everything. We would sing, but not professionally.” On Christmas Eve, they would perform for their family and neighbors, lip syncing to Madonna or the Judds. It wasn’t until they were in junior high that they “realized we could actually sing.”
They remember the first time they thought music might be a viable career choice. It was at a Barbara Mandrell concert.
“We were looking at the musicians on stage and suddenly had the gut feeling that we wanted to be up there doing that!”
In addition to their talent, they have an undefeatable sense of humor. They laugh at everything life throws at them. The biggest laugh was for the darkest moment.
After graduation, Amy underwent two surgeries to remove a brain tumor. How did they react? First, Amy coped with it by writing “Headaches & Heartbreaks.” Next, they made fun of it.
“We named the tumor ‘Wally’ because he was the size of a walnut,” they laughed. After that scare, doctors discovered she had a cyst. So they named it “Cid.”
“I joked that someday I would write a kids book called ‘The Adventures of Wally and Cid’ because of my attitude,” Amy said. “It would have a positive outlook, showing that if you think good things will happen, they will.”
The Portland, Texas, natives have built their personal and professional lives around this philosophy.
“We think that on a weekly basis, something good will happen to us.” It may be as simple as going to the mailbox. “We love getting mail. We say, oh my gosh, we got a FedEx package! This week we booked a show for November. That is our exciting thing for this week.”
Make no mistake: the Rankins are serious about their music. They are patient and focused in building their band and their brand.
“We know we probably could make more money as a cover band, but that is not ultimately what we want to do. That’s what has taken us so long. We know we can sing, but this scene is all about original music. We didn’t put a band together until we had written some original songs.”
So where are the Rankins headed?
“To the top,” they said together. “We want to be everywhere. We want to be touring all over the U.S., then in Europe, just to put our music out there for everyone to hear.” One of their goals this year is to book tour dates outside of the Lone Star State. “While we are fresh and new, why not be that way for other states, too?”
Whether taking pictures, talking on the radio, or performing on stage, the twins always are having fun.
“We love how you call our interaction with fans ‘delicious’ because that’s how we feel about it too. Besides, that’s just our personalities!”