Tuesday August 12, 2008
The Clique Girlz are poised for tween stardom
By PETER LARSEN
The three young blondes walked down the orange carpet at Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards almost hesitantly, dressed in the hip fashions of a band, though none of the reporters they passed seemed to know who they were.
"It was kind of funny," says Paris Monroe, at 12 years old, the youngest member of the Clique Girlz pop-rock trio.
"We felt really awkward because people thought they knew us, but they really didn't. It was at that kind of stage where you're still developing, so we were just kind of walk, walk, walk!"
Three months later, though, the young group - in addition to Paris, there's sister Destinee Monroe, 14, and best friend Ariel Moore, 14 - is on the verge of breaking big in the world of tween entertainment.
They've been featured as rising stars on Radio Disney and the "Today Show." They sang the national anthem in front of 50,000 people at the Tokyo Dome for the opening of the baseball season. They've opened concerts for big acts such as the Backstreet Boys and the Jonas Brothers.
The girls are from New Jersey originally, where Destinee and Ariel met at the water fountain at school one day, and soon the three of them were inseparable, Paris says, having karaoke sleepovers and accompanying one another to auditions in New York.
"We were all singing separately, and actually Ariel asked me and Destinee if we could sing together with her on stage," she says. "So went into the bathroom - kind of awkward! - and put a little routine together."
They did the song - Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone - "and everyone was freaking out," Paris says of that moment five years ago that the trio was formed.
"Almost two years ago, we had a meeting in Los Angeles and we actually ended up staying and never going home," she says.
Steve Berman, head of marketing for Interscope Records, said the girls "immediately captivated the building, and we literally grabbed them on the spot, because it was so exciting, the talent so immense for such young girls."
The label started making plans for the Clique Girlz, matching them up with songwriters and producers, getting them spots on TV and opening for other bands, even arranging to get one song placed in the Princess Bride video game, Berman says.
They also spent a lot of time in the studio, where Paris says the girls have recorded 90 songs so far.
"We were actually experimenting, because we wanted to tune into our musical side, and really find what kind of songs we wanted to do," she says. "And it actually worked, because we found our sound was pop-rock, kind of edgy."
An album is slated for a fall release, they've done shot "Web-isodes" for fans to watch at www.cliquegirlz.com, and everyone around them sees the potential for a TV show or movie down the line.
All of which suggests that if they show up at the Kids Choice Awards next spring, they'll get a lot more attention and spend a lot more time on the carpet.
"Oh, yeah, we'll definitely go to the Kids Choice Awards next year," Paris says. "And we want to perform so bad, perform or present.
"We just think it would be pretty cool to be up on stage there."
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