With Ernie, 70, and Ronald Isley, 81, being the last living members of their iconic group, the legendary pair spoke with Chlöe and Halle Bailey about working with your sibling and shared the stories behind some of their biggest hits.
Ernie posed the question, “How do you all navigate [the music business as siblings]?” To which The Little Mermaid star answered first. “I don’t think I could have done this without her. She’s the brave one and kind of charges into the world. I’m a bit more shy,” said Halle, 22.
Chlöe, 24, added, “I think if it was just the creative process—creating music, performing, rehearsing—it would be easy-peasy. No stress. But then when you [add] social media and everyone’s opinions are right in front of your face, it makes it a little more difficult.”
Ronald Isley credited their faith for keeping him and his brothers together.
In terms of the hits, The Isleys admitted they didn’t always set out to make a hit. For example, the idea for “Fight The Power” came to Ernie in the shower before a family trip to Disneyland.
When Ronald wrote, “It’s Your Thing,” he revealed that the record was an answered prayer. The 1969 funk record wound up being their first No. 1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart, won the group a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, and became a commercial success.
The men did offer the thriving songbirds a word of advice on making timeless music.
“Be inspired and do what you believe in,” said Ronald. His younger brother added, “And if there’s a little melody or lyric that comes to you, follow it.”
Watch the full conversation above.