Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie are a sister country duo from Langley, British Columbia who have been looking to make a career in the music industry for almost as long as they can remember. What advice do they have for other young professionals? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
We are a sister duo and country singing act from Langley, British Columbia. Our group name is Robyn & Ryleigh. Singing, writing, playing and performing are our passions in life!

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
Robyn: We have always had a love for music. If we weren’t singing it, we were listening or dancing to it! We were lucky enough to attend an elementary school that offered a ukulele program. After spending five of my elementary school years playing the uke, I picked up the guitar and taught myself the chords using music books and YouTube. I also started writing songs at that time and sharing them with family and friends. Ryleigh soon joined in to add harmonies and the songs really took shape.

Ryleigh: People really liked our sister sound and encouraged us to continue with our little duo act. Soon we were entering contests and playing at local coffee shops and festivals. This is how we met our now-managers/producers David Wills and Paul Shatto of Raincoast Music. They attended one of the festivals that we were singing at and introduced themselves after our set. They ended up offering us a development deal. They have been so helpful and encouraging to us and have really guided us along the way.  We’ve really learned a lot. Here we are today with a single on the radio – “Just Another Sundown” – and a music video to go along with it that we are so proud of, and an album release on July 17th! We’ve come a long way and we really couldn’t be happier.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Robyn: I think the best part is that we found something we love to do so much and we are lucky enough to be able to share what we love with each other. It’s great being able to do this with my sister. 

Ryleigh: The most challenging part would have to be time management! Being in a musical duo is basically running our own business. We have to work really hard and spend a lot of time and money to give our business a chance to flourish. Like in any other business, we have to have customers. In our case our customers are our fans. 

Where do you see your business going in five years?
Robyn: We will still be making music five years from now. I have many more songs in my head that I have yet to write. It’s what I love and I will never stop doing what I love.

Ryleigh: We’ll be older and wiser! Of course we’ll still be singing. I think we’ll have a place in Nashville that we can stay at while we’re there writing. It’ll be our home away from home. We’ll have another album out by then – or two!

What does success look like to you?
Robyn: We work hard every day to become successful in this business. The music industry is difficult and there is a lot to learn but we’re determined to keep moving forward and getting our music out there for people to hear.

Ryleigh: At the end of the day, it’s all about the fans – the people who buy the music and come out to hear our shows and support us. If they like our music, that’s success to us.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Robyn: Recording our new album was really one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. It was a great feeling because all the songs we’d been working on for so long finally came to life. It was recorded in two parts; the first being our five-song EP that we called Love, Always. We recorded the second part earlier this year, which made our 10-track album complete. It was quite the process. After picking which songs we wanted to include, we went to work recording vocals, musical arrangements, hiring some amazing players, and designing album artwork. It was lots of work but we had an amazing team of people working with us. It was a true learning experience. 

Ryleigh: There was also the making of our music video for our first single release, “Just Another Sundown,” that was shot in and around Vancouver by Gene Greenwood and produced by Paul Shatto. Being involved in every aspect from storyline to helping with set design to acting was so much fun. It was an incredible experience that we’ll never forget. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Robyn: Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Watch and learn as much as you can. To any aspiring singers: learn an instrument. You’ll regret it if you don’t.  

Ryleigh: You are always going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Learning from them is the key because I really feel it makes you smarter.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Robyn and Ryleigh: We always try to support charities and their related events whenever we can. We recently played at the Amazing Journey event for Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. They are raising money for a new house for the families of sick children who are being treated at the Children’s Hospital.   

What is Notable to you?
Robyn: People who are real and true to their beliefs, who aren’t fake and stick to their guns. 
Ryleigh: Hardworking people who say what they mean and mean what they say!

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Robyn and Ryleigh: It’s a toss-up. We both currently are iPhone users but some of the Androids that are popping up now are giving iPhones a run for their money! It’s hard to make the switch from something that you know but those Androids look pretty interesting. 

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
Robyn and Ryleigh: We both enjoy going to the gym, running, and eating healthy… and singing of course!