We here at Young Hollywood absolutely love rock 'n’ roll, and what’s more rock than Gene Simmons, bassist and vocalist of KISS and star of television reality show "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels"?
The hit A&E series showcases the hugely famous rock star in a much more laidback and genuine lifestyle, away from the spotlight and more with the people that mean the most to him -- his family.
But that doesn’t keep Simmons away from his love of music, and, apparently, music runs through the family’s veins. Nick and Sophie Simmons, who also star in the show alongside their superstar father, are quickly making names for themselves in the music industry.
Tonight marks the season finale of "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels", and we were able to catch up with Nick and Sophie themselves to learn more about their music, their background, and -- most importantly -- what makes them unique. Check it out!
YH: How would you describe your musical style?
SS: Our style is very different from each other. Nick has perfected the classic rock style and has his own rat-pack deal as well. I think I am more pop but with a side that resembles the greats such as Etta James. Together, we sing the old standards. But we don't sing together all the time. It’s kind of a bonding experience.
NS: We're both pretty eclectic. I go from Tom Waits to Little Dragon and everywhere in between. In high school, I was much more of a straight-ahead classic rock fan, but lately it's all over the place. In terms of what we perform -- the shows we did together were for fun, so we did jazz and blues standards. If her and I decide to pursue music seriously, it'll be something completely different.
YH: What musicians/bands were your biggest influences on your musical style?
SS: My biggest influences are so random. Mostly it is Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald. Marilyn Monroe, more as a performer, but also ladies like Christina Aguilera. She has an amazing voice but also confidence.
NS: I'm the biggest Zeppelin-head I know. I'm late to the trip-hop game, but Massive Attack is one of my new favorite acts. Just stunning music; that Heligoland album is damn-near flawless.
YH: How do you find the right balance between things like school and your blossoming careers as vocalists?
NS: We do these things because the show has given us the opportunity to; we like doing it, and it's a good way to make some music and have some fun at the same time. I've graduated, so I have the time. Especially because of Soph, we've used the gig as an opportunity to benefit charity as well. Soph's really inspired the whole family to get in on that aspect. She's always been the activist of the family, even when she has school to take care of.
YH: So Sophie, what attracted you to all these different charitable and philanthropic organizations?
SS: My mother [actress Shannon Tweed
] has always had her hand in some sort of charity as I was growing up. I guess it rubbed off. Growing up, I took about a month out of each school year to travel to a different country and work in orphanages. And now I continue to work with children at Sophie's Place
, a center for abused children in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; we work with the Centre for Child Development there.
YH: With your father being such a powerhouse in the music industry, did you ever find yourself pressured to be in this business, or did you want to do this on your own accord?
SS: I never felt too pressured, but I did have an enthusiastic Dad who pushed me in the area. I really started doing this recently of my own accord.
NS: There's always pressure, of course. But we're in an interesting situation -- his group and his identity are very unique, it would be hard to try to literally follow his footsteps, so I'm not sure that this and that are necessarily comparable. I would require a bit of greasepaint and some very inappropriate spandex if it had something to do with his music. This was born out of what my sister and I do for fun in Los Angeles, from time to time, at places like the Sayers Club in Hollywood. It's a room full of our friends and family, and a lot of those people are musicians, and our good friend Jason Scoppa has provided a room and a venue for that energy.
Courtesy of Manfred Baumann
YH: How do you deal with any criticisms and comparisons to your father?
NS: I like that Andy Warhol quote -- I'm paraphrasing, but it's something about not reading what people write about you, just measuring it in inches. The writing, that is.
YH: What’s the best part about growing up as a member of the Simmons family?
SS: The best part is growing up with a Dad who is so driven and accomplished, but also there for his kids. I know most kids only see their dads before 8am and after 9pm. I am lucky I got to/get to travel with my parents and see the world in a way most kids don't get to.
Catch the season finale of "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels" tonight at 9/8c on A&E!
- Raffy Ermac, YH Staff