The Kassab sisters — 21-year-old Kaylen, 19-year-old Kelsey and 17-year-old Kristen — started their ’70s-style rock group the K3 Sisters Band over a decade ago. The group cut its teeth recording several albums and performing at places like Six Flags Over Texas and Great Wolf Lodge Water Park. But in 2019, the sisters started making wildly creative, somewhat maniacal but infectious TikTok videos that mix their love of all things Harry Potter with current trends. The move paid off, and their videos have been viewed more than 300 million times.
We recently chatted with the North Texas sisters, who have millions of fans around the world.
I have sisters, and I love them, but I wouldn’t want to work with them. I’m just kidding. Why do interviewers immediately ask you about sibling rivalry?
K3 Sisters Band: (Laughs.)
Kaylen: Some people think it’s hard to work with family. But we are each other’s total best friends, and we love each other to death.
Kristen: There is a lot of sibling rivalry. Mainly with me because I’m the youngest and have to prove myself in this band. But there are so many sacrifices that go with being in a band. One of those sacrifices is not really having friends.
You don’t have any friends?
Kristen: If you look at the past greats, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, they say the same thing. This is a very treacherous path to walk, but if you are willing to put in the years of hard work and the sacrifices, it’s worth it.
Can the band function if you live in separate places and have families?
Kaylen: No, not yet. We really are married to the band. Our career comes first.
Kelsey: We grew up musically. It’s all we’ve ever known.
What was the name of the band your parents were in?
Kristen: [Gospel country act] Double Portion. We were born into the band. We grew up in the music industry. We’ve seen the good, ugly and the bad.
And your dad has a DIY film production company?
Kaylen: We have learned a lot of cool things with Bruce Ray Productions. Music videos, the livestream concerts we stream with four cameras.
Kelsey: We have been studying video editing and sound design for years. We wanted to take matters into our own hands and not have to rely on other video editors.
All of you play several instruments, write songs and sing. Why did your parents have each of you start playing fiddle when you were 4?
Kristen: One of the best ways to get children to learn to play instruments is to start them off with the fiddle at a very young age. We started with the Japanese Suzuki Method. They make these tiny little fiddles for children.
These TikTok videos are a massive shift after 10 years of being in a ’70s rock band.
Kelsey: We’ve been performing all over Texas and Oklahoma since 2009. We started TikTok in 2019 to show a different side of ourselves, more of a fun side that we usually don’t show at our concerts. We started posting Harry Potter content, and that immediately blew up. TikTok really became a catalyst to our creativity.
Tell me about the exhibit at the Smithsonian that included your song.
Kristen: 2020 was the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which is women’s right to vote. They wanted to see how modern-day women were doing in business. They reached out to us, three young, rising, powerful women. It was an honor, and they chose our song “My Time” to be featured in their exhibit, “Girlhood (It’s Complicated).” To be a part of a historical time capsule was huge for us.
There are people who are cynical about an approach to music through TikTok. But on the other hand, your account is a perfect example of something unique and creative that wouldn’t exist without it.
Kaylen: We’re a band first. We love TikTok, and it’s insane that we’ve garnered 2 million fans on there. We love using TikTok as a bridge and a tool to get to other people.
Kristen: Social media is going to fade away one day. Social media is the most unsocial thing of all; it’s degraded people’s people skills. It’s sad, but we wanted to take it and make something that transcends time. We’ve used TikTok and Harry Potter to bridge the gap into our world, which will last for generations. Music and songs last for over a lifetime.
There is kind of a silent-film quality about TikTok. The audio is usually music, and you only have a few seconds to convey something. You really have to exaggerate your facial expressions and body language.
Kelsey: TikTok viewers expect that crazy aspect and the lip-syncing. But it’s TikTok acting, almost like theater when it’s overly dramatic. We love it.
Why isn’t your music on Spotify or Apple Music?
Kristen: We want our fans to come straight to us. We don’t want a middleman. The only place you can listen to our music is our website. We’re not going to give this milk away to some dude who’s going to make money off of us.