Studio City Sherman Oaks News




The Wheeler Sisters - Country’s Newest


When it comes to country music, there are so many stories of how hits happen, and sometimes the sheer randomness of finding that elusive road to success. Books could be written on all the long shots that sometimes come true. At the essence of each one, of course, is the talent it takes to seize the moment. For the Wheeler Sisters, what started as a love of singing by Cristina and Dani Wheeler has become an amazing series of events that have them poised on the edge of musical success. It’s best to start the beginning, when the young girls first began listening to music and trying out their own voices by early favorites like Heart and Garth Brooks. Their mother Anna was the first to spot their talent, and took them to county fairs and would tell anyone within earshot about her daughters abilities. From there, performing in school plays and choirs and making music CDs as Christmas presents took up their young years. They lived in Lancaster and would spend weekends traveling to wherever they could find a stage to sing on, all the time gaining experience and making new fans. Finally it was time to take the plunge and move to Nashville, which is just what the Wheeler sisters did in 2010. It’s a time honored tradition of young country singers gambling on themselves. Considering th number of those who make that move and find a following, it’s somewhat akin to winning the lottery to actually land a recording contract, but that’s exactly what this pair did. Not only that, it was with industry veteran’s Michael Borchetta’s Ocala Records as the first act on his newly formed label. Here’s where the Alice in Wonderland story really moves into high gear, because the girls’ first single, “This Is Gonna Get Ugly,” was penned by award-winning songwriter Jim McCormick, and it’s the kind of song with enough high-energy hooks and down-home appeal that it already has strong interest at radio stations around America.. McCormick has worked with other successful artists like Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Trace Adkins and Jamey Johnson, and he produced the Wheeler Sisters’ song, "This Is Gonna Get Ugly", which was released nationally last month. For now there are enough photo sessions, radio interviews and other promotional appearances to keep Cristina and Dani Wheeler busy for the rest of the year and beyond. There is no way to predict how new artists eventually fare in the topsy-turvy world of the music business, but with all the right first steps it seems like the two young women from Lancaster have made all the right moves to take them to the next level.

Both are still working as servers at the Tavern in Nashville, and have met their fair share of music stars on the job. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched that they’ll be signing their own autographs there someday, and it won’t be as employees. When two sisters with voices this strong get together with songwriters like McCormick, history is just a hit away.


by August West     August West travels about the country and writes about Country music  



Antelope Valley Press

AV’s country sweethearts head to Nashville 


Country singers have come from all over the globe, but Nashville is where they shot to fame as country superstars. The Wheeler Sisters, Cristina and Dani, are well on their way to joining the ranks of some of today’s hottest country acts as they prepare to make the move from California to the country music capital. “The first time we went there in November, I fell in love with it,” Dani said. “Once I stepped off the plane, it was like, ‘This is where I belong.’ After six months of my persistency, Cristina hopped on the bandwagon.” 

The two sisters first traveled to Nashville to record a few songs for their EP with Jim McCormick, an award-winning writer-producer with Chrysalis Music, USA, whose tunes have been recorded by Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood and countless other stars. “We had a really great opportunity to work with (McCormick), who our mom met six years ago,” Dani said. The sisters said they will make the permanent move to Nashville on Sunday, April 24, and plan to co-write new material with McCormick and take part in a radio tour with stations around the area.

Though they are on their way to a successful recording career, The Wheeler Sisters got their first start while growing up in Lancaster. “I started singing when I was 5,” Cristina said. “I remember playing in my room and I just remember singing ... and thinking, ‘This is what I’m going to do (when I grow up).’ ” When they were kids, their mother allowed them to record in a studio to make CDs for loved ones’ Christmas presents, Dani said. They started singing as a duo in 2003. “We’ve been doing stuff separately since we were very little,” Cristina said. “We always would sing together, but professionally (it started when) we sang at the (Antelope Valley Fair) in 2003.” 

The sisters are inspired by a variety artists.“I’m kind of eccentric,” Cristina said. “I love Alicia Keyes, Elton John, and as far as country, I love Carrie Underwood’s music and Johnny Cash.” “(I like) Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson,” Dani added. “Some of our music is kind of similar to Gretchen Wilson. I’d love to do a duet with Jason Aldean — that’s my dream.” The duo also enjoys writing their own songs and finds inspiration through everyday life and their upbringing in the Antelope Valley. “Heartbreak,” Dani said of her biggest inspiration. “Just everything — heartbreak, loneliness, but happiness as well. We got a lot of inspiration from Lancaster, too. Since we grew up there, the desert has shaped us into who we are today.” Cristina’s style is a little different from her sister’s. “I like to write letters first,” she said. “If I’m writing about a person — you can say things you could never say to the person in a letter — and then I go from there.” 

While the girls have developed a collection of original songs, they have not yet recorded any of their material. Once they move to Nashville, they will continue writing more original songs with McCormick, which they hope to record in the future. The sisters’ debut EP, “This is Gonna Get Ugly,” was released in December on iTunes, featuring songs “Whiskey Please,” “Naughty” and “Goodbye Lonely.” The title track has been gaining popularity with radio stations in England, Cristina said. For their last performance before the big move, Cristina and Dani will sing the National Anthem for sports fans at 7 p.m. Friday, April 22, at a JetHawks game. 

The sisters are looking forward to a bright future for their career and hope their move will lead to great things. “Once we’re out in Nashville, we’re pretty much just going to be working with vocal coaches out there, starting on our writing and demoing our library (of original songs),” Dani said. “Once we get those recorded, we definitely (hope to start making music videos and touring).” No matter where their career takes them, the Wheeler Sisters said they will never forget where they come from. “We’re going to miss California, but we’re so excited to see what Nashville has to offer,” Cristina said. “We’re so honored and privileged to have grown up in Lancaster. We’ll definitely be going back and forth.” 

While Friday is their final performance before they depart, the duo will return for the Antelope Valley Fair, where they will perform Saturday, Aug. 20, on the Cantina Stage. As for their ultimate dreams, Cristina and Dani plan to aim high. “Win a Grammy,” Cristina said. “No,” Dani said. “Two Grammys. And to be Entertainer of the Year at the American Country Music Awards.” 

Lisa Wolfe Antelope Valley Press

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