WATCH: Tegan and Sara talk about giving back, new music (and gay cats)
ABOVE: Watch Tegan and Sara talk to Global News before their TD Music Cafe performance in Toronto on May 26.
TORONTO — Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara said Monday they still believe it’s important to talk about their sexuality.
The 33-year-old gay twins from Calgary, whose latest album Heartthrob earned them three Juno Awards this year, admitted at one time the focus on who they are overshadowed their music.
“I don’t think that it’s like that anymore,” said Tegan. “Our music is definitely at the top of the pile and that’s what people are mainly focused on.
“But over the last 15 years we’ve seen ourselves go from regular kids who graduated from high school and started playing music to role models for a lot of young people.”
Tegan said they take these roles seriously.
“Although I do believe there will be a time in history where we don’t have to talk about being gay all the time, there are still so many millions of people all over the world who are living in countries and cultures that don’t accept gay people,” she said.
“We’re plagued by reading about these issues worldwide so for Sara and I, I think it will always remain a focus. We’ve accepted that that’s going to be a big part of what our band is — hopefully bringing hope and change to people everywhere.”
The politically-minded musicians are also keen to support causes that benefit the gay community.
“We have to be very careful about who we support,” Sara explained. “Youth stuff and LGBTQ stuff because that’s what we know. We’re gay so it’s easier for us to vet and understand the cause and what’s going to be seen as helpful and supportive to the community.”
Tegan added: “And we like cats.”
“We do like cats,” Sara agreed. “Although we haven’t done a lot of stuff with cats. We’re really into gay cats right now.”
Tegan spoke of a program in Los Angeles that spays and neuters stray cats and releases them. “Ultimately they can survive. they’re totally fine.”
“Especially the gay ones,” said Sara. “They’re very resourceful.”
The sisters are anxious to perform in Toronto’s bustling Yonge-Dundas Square next month to close out World Pride.
“We’re very excited and honoured to be a part of the festivities,” said Tegan. “Toronto Pride was the first Pride we ever went to when we were 18 years old. It was really important to Sara and I, especially when we were coming out. We’re thrilled to be here and really excited to celebrate with everybody.
“We’re just going to bring a ton of gay cats on stage which is going to be pretty cool.”
It has been 15 years since their debut but last year’s Heartthrob — with hit singles like “Closer — has made Tegan and Sara more successful than ever. Sara said they were prepared.
“Our trajectory has been really slow and steady and each record there is a deliberate and strategic move up, shift upwards,” she explained. “We’re ready for this kind of success right now. It’s been fun for us and it’s not overwhelming.
“I don’t think we’ve had that response that a lot of people who have sort of unexpected success have. We’ve sort of moved in slow enough and small enough increments that this feels very natural to us right now.”
Tegan and Sara were in Toronto to perform a free outdoor show at a pop-up TD Music Cafe in support of music education charity MusiCounts.
The siblings said it’s a cause that is close to their hearts.
“We did have music in school but our parents were also incredibly active in getting us into outside school activities that were related to music,” recalled Sara. “So we were in bands, we took piano lessons… and that just sort of complimented what was also happening in school. We did choir. We had music class every day up until seventh grade.”
Tegan added: “We have done lots of work with organizations that help raise money for kids who come from single-parent families or low-income families and don’t have the access to piano lessons. Thankfully, our parents prioritized piano lessons for us on the list of things they would spend their money on.”
Fans of the duo will have to wait until 2016 for a new album.
“Our plan is to continue to tour throughout this year and take a lot of next year off to write and record,” said Tegan.
“We have a lot of collaborations in our back pockets [that are] going to be coming out over this year and next year so they’re still going to be getting a lot of Tegan and Sara — just not a whole new record yet.”
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