When Ian Simpkins joined an orchestra class in middle school, he thought it would make him cool.
“I thought, ‘I want to be the cool kid that picks what no one else does.’ They asked, ‘What do you want to play?’ And as the last person in the room all that was left was bass,” Ian said. “As a 10-year-old boy, I thought, ‘That thing is huge. It looks awesome.’”
Flash forward 10 years, and you won’t find Ian standing in the back of an orchestra, though his bass skills have not diminished. He is half of the sibling synth-pop band, Charlotte’s Kings, that released its first EP, “Words You Say,” in early May.
Led by his older brother, Trey, on the mic, Charlotte’s Kings has taken the duo far from its days singing and playing classical music at choir and orchestra concerts.
Trey began singing by accident, when an error at Highland Park Middle School placed him in the school’s most advanced choir as an eighth-grader.
“It was a huge pain,” Trey said. “That year was really hard for me because I used to be just terrible at matching pitch. But by the end of the year, I had really developed a love for singing, and music in general.”
He went on to join the Lads & Lassies at Highland Park High School, the chamber choir at University of Texas at Dallas, and even added a performing arts minor to his biology and finance majors.
But the UTD graduate felt like he was missing something: a creative outlet to express his feelings in his own music. That’s where Charlotte’s Kings came in.
“That’s why we wanted to start this,” Ian said “We were stuck playing music other people had written for us.”
Now, the two write and compose their own music together, creating an original and fully acoustic sound.
While in the studio, Trey and Ian, who recorded their three-song EP in three days, added more instruments and sounds, transforming their music into a synthesized pop inspired by Chrvches and Daft Punk. But since the brothers are the only two members of the band, they are currently working on transferring their songs into stage-ready performances with just two performers.
While Trey thought he would be sitting behind a desk at a financial firm and Ian was planning on heading to medical school, the two are taking their musical career seriously. With Ian looking to transfer from SMU to a school with a more business-minded music program and Trey job-searching around those areas, the Simpkins brothers plan to ride out their musical careers together.
Though the siblings admit that working together as family in a two-member band isn’t always easy, they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“There are enough bands that break up because the argument is so significant enough that they can never recover, but with Ian and I, there is no argument we can’t come back from,” Trey said. “There’s no better time to do this venture than now.”
SMU student Meredith Carey is special contributor to Park Cities People. She can be reached at: [email protected]