Datebook: High School Musical
Category: Arts + Events Articles
Keira Verlee and Ellie Rose are two local 15-year-olds with one busy summer—and it bears little resemblance to the usual teen schedule (work, mall, party, repeat). Verlee, a spunky blonde with a huge grin, and Rose, a sweet, bubbly brunette, will be playing gigs around the state and promoting their acoustic-guitar-driven band, VerleeRose (myspace.com/verleerose). The pair of rising sophomores became friends after a meet-and-greet at Billings Middle School in 2005. Two years later, they wrote and played a song together for their eighth-grade graduation ceremony, and the band was born. Now at different Seattle-area high schools, the duo has released a CD, These Moments, and is booked to play at Fremont’s ToST (July 7; tostlounge.com) and Langley’s Choochokam Arts Festival (July 11–12; choochokamarts.org). With success this season, Verlee and Rose are well on their way to never having a normal teenage summer again.
How do you create your music?
Rose: I’ll write lyrics or a guitar part and then show them to Keira, and we’ll add in Keira’s part, like piano or more guitar.
Verlee: We also write songs together. We have similar song-writing tastes and goals.
How do you feel growing up in Seattle has influenced your music?
Verlee: There are so many all-ages shows here and so many musicians from here, and open mikes everywhere—it’s nice. It’s very musician friendly.
What one Seattle band would you most like to play with?
Rose: Death Cab for Cutie!
Verlee: Benjamin Gibbard’s lyrics are genius, just—wow—incredible.
Beyond your band, are you in any school music groups?
Verlee: Choir and musicals!
Rose: Both of our schools did Grease at the same time. I called Keira and said, “Guess what? Our school’s doing Grease!” And she was like, “Oh my god, we are, too!”
What are your musical goals?
Rose: We’d love to make it big. Right now we’re just trying to work our way up the food chain.
Verlee: It’s happening really fast. I didn’t really think we were going to go anywhere, but now we have [points at her dad, Guy Fusman, who’s also the band’s promoter], and he’s talking to people on Myspace, and we’re booking shows. So it’s really cool!
What advice would you give to other high school kids hoping to start a band?
Rose: Schedule band practice! Once a week—at least! You have to be committed.
Verlee: Make sure everyone is on the same page, and make sure everyone knows when practice is.