TAXI Members Kamille & Kelly Rudisill:

The Amazing Journey of Two Musical Sisters

By Kenny Kerner

In just a few months, the middle of May to be exact, Kamille and Kelly Rudisill will graduate from USC. In most cases, that wouldn't mean very much—except for the fact that Kamille and Kelly are 18 and 20 years old respectively. In that short time, they have had experience in musical theatre, learned how to play guitar, piano and sing, write songs, have a Universal Records development deal, are majoring in music business at USC, have released a CD entitled Voyage of a Thousand Dreams, and are currently putting together a summer tour on their own. Whew!

But what could these two young sisters possibly know about the mean, nasty music business at such a tender age? Boy, are you gonna be surprised. For the purposes of this interview, the answers below will simply say KR without specifying whether it's Kelly or Kamille.

When did you guys decide to get into the music business?

KR: We've been doing music our whole lives. We started in musical theatre when we were 7 and 9 and then we had classical training. We also did commercials and then got into a cover band when we were12 and 14. Then we started getting serious about songwriting. First we were doing classical composition writing concertos and symphonies.

Were your parents into music as well?

KR: A little bit. Our mom played the flute and our father played a little guitar but they weren't really serious musicians. It was more of a hobby with them.

So Kamille is 18 and Kelly is 20. Given that you've been writing and performing for years, what could you possibly know about the music industry at your ages?

KR: To be perfectly honest, we both go to USC and our major is Music Industry—we've been studying it for four years now. We study the Business of Music. [The girls had no idea that they were talking with the Director of the Music Business Program at Musicians Institute in Hollywood—Ed]. We study publishing and copyrights and read the Donald Passman book and the Brabec book.

Has the business scared you yet?

KR: Well what we figured out is that the objective is to get screwed as little as possible! Because it's kind of inevitable that you will get screwed. You're never gonna get a deal that will satisfy you 100%. It's about trying to have a career and getting out relatively unscathed!

Have you also been performing live?

KR: That's kinda how we started out—it was because of our love of performing. We've been through a couple of bands and during the last few months have played out at the Hard Rock Cafe, Knitting Factory and House of Blues. The name of the band is Karmina and it's a five piece group.

Are you really getting enough knowledge and experience given your ages?

KR: Believe it or not, we've been in the industry a lot longer than most people. We've also trying to be successful for a while. We're constantly learning along the way and picking new things up all the time. One thing we learned about the business is that it's not about doing things as quickly as possible. We've taken the slower path. We decided to go to college specifically to learn about the business we were getting into. And we wanted to learn it well. We did not want to be na´ve or unaware of how the business worked. College is also important as a learning tool for getting along with other people and learning how to collaborate with others. There are so many opportunities we've had in college. We made a music video in college because someone had a project to complete for class and we were chosen for the video. It's been an amazing experience overall.

You've already said that to you, success isn't about landing a recording deal. What then is success for both of you?

KR: The answer to that has changed a lot since we first started. Now, success is about playing music and touching a lot of people with it. I think it's when we've been able to distribute our music to a whole lot of people and having a lot of creative control. I don't want us to get signed to a label that tells us that maybe our music should be a little different than what it really is. I want people to hear our music. Our style.

And you've been able to do all of this without a manager or agent, right?

KR: Well, actually, our mother is our manager. She helps a lot with organizing things and marketing us. She has been the key ingredient for us. She's been an essential part of everything that's happened with our band. She's encouraged us to do so many things that were right. She has a very intuitive mind. When we disagree, we have to just separate the fact that it's our mother and think of her as a manager only. But she usually has great ideas.

So with all the success you've achieved on your own, why join TAXI?

KR: Oh, so many reasons! TAXI gets our music out there and it gets heard by a lot of people. Even if it doesn't get forwarded, people still hear it. Also, the Road Rally is so valuable. There's so much exposure in terms of possible collaborators. I look forward to it all year. They have great guest speakers and professionals. No other organization offers this. There's EAT'M and SXSW but they are so big and much less personal. You get lost in the crowd there.

Any final words for all of the independent artists reading this?

KR: I'd tell them to rock on! Keep it real and stick with the music you love. Don't let someone else tell you what kind of music to do. And try to be as music involved with it as you can. Be true and original. I think that's what people are looking for in music. And of course, join TAXI!

See How TAXI Works

"Your dedication and hard work never ceases to amaze me."
— Jimmy Clark,
TAXI Member

"I was cynical at first, but my wife convinced me to join and I'm very impressed."
— L.A. Van Fleet,
TAXI Member

"Thanks to you, I've recently signed a deal with a publisher in New York."
— Rene Gely,
TAXI Member

"Thanks for your constant support of my work — I'm running out of compliments for you guys!"
— James Day,
TAXI Member

"My only regret is that I didn't join TAXI years ago — but it's never too late to make up for lost time."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member

"In this competitive field you need all the help you can get and with TAXI, you've got a friend in the music business."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member