YouTube’s rising starsPublished 5:03pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009
By KATIE JOHNSON
Liz and Megan Mace have big dreams, bigger than most people dare to dream. And at 16, they are on their way to achieving those dreams faster than they ever would have imagined.
The fraternal twins share the same talent, one that was fostered at home, where they sang as a family. With no formal training or choir experience, the girls were self-taught naturals.
“Eventually, we would sing around the house all the time,” Megan said.
They will never forget the song that started it all for them at age 10 – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” by Diana Ross.
“We started doing that song at contests,” Liz said. “We eventually put it on YouTube.”
The video sharing Web site helped the girls reach an audience difficult to reach from the small town of Edwardsburg.
Videos of the Maces – juniors at Edwardsburg High School – singing spread across the Internet, where they gained fans from across the globe. In addition to singing at concerts and other engagements in their spare time, the girls’ smiling faces and sweet voices were moving them closer to their ultimate aspiration: to record an album.
A fan sent a video of them singing “White Horse,” by Taylor Swift, to the Oprah show after learning of a future broadcast featuring YouTube stars. The show called the Maces and interviewed them.
“They said, ‘You may never hear from us again,’” Megan said.
Later that week, the producers called and asked them to appear on the show via Skype – software that allows users to conduct video conferencing over the Internet. They were sent a Skype kit.
“They told us we were auditioning for a producer,” Megan said.
What they were actually doing is appearing on the Oprah show in front of an audience. When they turned on their equipment, Oprah herself appeared on the screen.
“We had no idea,” Liz said.
The girls discussed their singing career and were awarded a free trip to a Taylor Swift concert in Chicago, where they had a private meet-and-greet with Swift and received a personal backstage tour from her mother as an Oprah camera crew followed them around.
Their video was taped Oct. 9 and aired Oct. 14.
Now, the Maces have a fan mailbox – receiving mail from fans as far away as Hong Kong and Bolivia – and have their own fan pages on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and of course update their YouTube site, where many of their songs have more than a million views.
They even won a talent contest to open in Cincinnati for Savannah Outen, a teen sensation who gained popularity on YouTube, and have given interviews to a radio show in Sacramento, Calif. and a Parisian newspaper.
Liz and Megan are now establishing connections in the music industry, but they know it’s a long, tough road.
“It’s not like you just get signed like that,” Megan said.
Their mother, Mary, is also serving as a sort of manager, or “watchdog,” as she refers to herself with a laugh.
“It takes quite a bit to weed out (imitators) … I would caution parents,” she said. “I’m the watchdog is what I am.”
The girls’ mother, however, is thrilled about her daughters’ thriving potential.
“If they can make a living doing what they love, that’s great,” she said.
Megan and Liz believe their dream to become singer-songwriters is becoming a reality.
“I’d love to make an album with our originals and go on tour,” Megan said.
They say that they are doing what they love, and others can too.
“Dream big,” Liz said.
“Use the Internet – that’s the way to get out there,” Megan said.