An interview with musicians, married couple Us The Duo

Us The Duo Facebook/Courtesy

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Starting off as online musicians (from social media platforms Vine and YouTube), to online sensations and now live performers, Us The Duo is an open book. Whether it’s through social media or music, it’s always been open to share things with its fans.

The band, consisting of husband and wife Michael and Carissa Alvarado, recently released its new album Just Love, which showcases 11 original tracks that embody the band’s authenticity. Us The Duo is currently touring and performing in venues across the world, with its next stop being The Fillmore in San Francisco on Aug. 19. Just Love captures upbeat pop vibes that sonically convey the duo’s past through romantic and heartfelt themes.

Considering the recent release of Just Love, the moments and emotions that are shared through their songs are still very fresh to both Michael and Carissa, making their live performances an experience of their own. Married since 2014, Michael and Carissa have been expressive about their love towards one another, and find love to play a significant trait in their lives.

“As we’re singing the songs, there’s points where we’re getting tears in our eyes and still feel that moment in our heart as we’re seeing it,” said Michael in an interview with the Daily Californian. “So it’s really fun to relive that experience every night on stage, at least with this particular tour.”

An increasing international fanbase (referred to as #UsTheFamily) has become the main motive for Us The Duo. At shows, seeing fans sing along, jump, express their visible joy and sometimes even cry are some of Us The Duo’s favorite highlights while performing live. “It’s really great to know that we’ve inspired them and impacted them in some way, shape, or form.” Carissa said, reflecting upon her personal experience.

As a result, a major goal in creating Just Love was establishing that despite its massive success, the duo is no greater than its fans. “We might have over ten million fans but that doesn’t make us unattainable,” said Michael. Instead, Us The Duo remains humble and grounded in its career and always credit the support of its fans.

Michael and Carissa wanted to create Just Love with only traditional instruments and a simplistic recording style. The album contains zero synthesizers, beats, overdubs or essentially anything that takes the place of a real instrument. “We wanted to bring this album back to the basics of recording, so it’s all real instruments,” said Michael. “I felt like I was starving to hear a real instrument again.”

Other than considering how eliminating engineered sounds would affect Just Love’s quality in the studio, Us The Duo also recognized their influence while performing live. “There’s something beautiful in the imperfections of live music and instruments because no piano will sound exactly like it did the night before. That was kind of the idea of using real instruments and highlighting those imperfections,” said Michael.

Beyond its musical authenticity, Us The Duo uses its platform to be present role models for its audience. With the chaos that ensues around the world, Us The Duo wants its music to become a place where people can feel free to feel happy and active. It wants to consistently provide a positive narrative and be able to inspire people particularly in that way.

Most importantly, the duo’s main objective at its shows is creating an upbeat and fun atmosphere. Taking the time to connect with its audiences through a real, direct dialogue is an intent as well. In contrast to viewing it on the screen, fans get to experience Us The Duo as people offline and in the flesh; seeing it speak and sing from the heart and goof around a little as well. “We just want them to feel like they’re in our living room with us. Just chilling and talking and we kind of go back and forth with our fans on stage, and it’s just a fun time,” said Carissa.

While the time and effort spent preparing for shows can be tedious, there is no doubt that Us The Duo is nothing but grateful for the opportunities it’s been given. “It’s been tiring to say the least but I think it’s definitely one of the most rewarding things we get to be able to do. Just being able to meet #UsTheFamily members and new fans from all over the world is pretty incredible,” said Carissa. “We’re lucky to be able to do what we love and just be there and be supported by just such amazing people in the audience.

Contact Maybelle Caro at [email protected].