Forget the haters, Halle Bailey is the perfect choice to play Ariel in Disney's upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. Halle has accomplished more at 19 years old than most of us will in our entire lives as one-half of the musical duo Chloe x Halle, Beyoncé's Grammy-nominated protégés, without losing a modicum of her youthful innocence and charm. Halle has done so much in so little time, it's hard to keep track of her long list of accomplishments, which have prepared her to take on this historic role of a lifetime.
Halle and her family moved out West from Atlanta, Georgia sometime around late-2012, when the singer was in her early teens. She told Time Magazine that the Baileys instantly fell in love with Los Angeles's shining sun, noting that the constant supply of Vitamin D makes you a happier person. Her parents made the decision to move Halle and her siblings to California because it was better for Chloe and Halle's careers in the music industry, which were just beginning to take off.
While her sister and collaborator Chloe Bailey chose to get her GED, Halle graduated from a real, brick and mortar high school in June 2018. Chloe praised her sister on their shared Twitter account for balancing school and her career, including their two EPs, their Grammy-nominated debut album, two opening slots on world tours, and a recurring role on Freeform's Grown-ish. Chloe also included a video of Halle celebrating set to their song "Grown" and a picture of Halle's cap decorated with a photo of Billie Holiday, her siblings, and her debut album cover. You know, normal high school stuff.
Contrary to popular belief, Chloe and Halle aren't twins. Solidly a member of Gen-Z, Halle was born in 2000 and is the youngest of three sisters. The oldest Bailey sister, Ski, stays out of the limelight and seems to be doing her own thing, but the girls told Rolling Stone that Ski filmed their very first YouTube cover way back when Halle was only eight years old. Halle isn't the youngest Bailey sibling, though. Their younger brother, Branson, was born in 2005.
Chloe and Halle began their careers when they were just eleven and eight years old, respectively, by posting covers on YouTube in 2008. Their cover of Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts" went viral five years later and became the inciting factor in their steep rise to fame, but the duo has never stopped releasing homemade covers, even taking a break during rehearsals for their opening slot in the On The Run II tour to make an ethereal version of Drake's "In My Feelings." It seems like they've never deleted a performance from their official YouTube account, with videos dating all the way back to the very beginning.
Speaking of their star-making "Pretty Hurts" YouTube cover, Beyoncé herself discovered the video, which now has over seventeen million views on the video sharing site. Chloe told People Magazine that Queen B's company, Parkwood Entertainment, sent them an email two weeks after they posted it. Two days later, on January 2, 2014, their father spoke with Parkwood and discovered that Beyoncé wanted to sign them to her record label. Instead of taking a hands-off approach to their development, Beyoncé became a friend and mentor to the young artists, allowing them to create their own sounds while providing advice.
Cosmo goes even further into these heroes' origin story, explaining that it was Beyoncé's manager who came across the girls' videos and passed them along to the mega-star. Their Parkwood Entertainment contract is worth one million dollars and allows for up to six albums over the course of five years. Those five years are almost up, but we have no doubt that the girls will be re-upping their deal with their longtime mentor. Earn The Necklace reported that this wasn't the first recording contract offered to Chloe x Halle, but that previous contracts had unfavorable terms and the girls worship at the altar of Queen Bey.
Chloe x Halle were there when their mentor made Black Girl Magic happen during her Lemonade visual album, becoming part of the iconic Louisiana tableau featuring Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, and the French recording duo Ibeyi, comprised of twins Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz. Chloe x Halle also appeared earlier during the "Resurrection" chapter for the "All Night" introduction. Just because they're tight with Queen B doesn't mean they weren't totally starstruck during the shoot, telling Revolt that they were crying and fangirling as they watched their mentor's vision come together.
Fans of Chloe x Halle's videos have probably noticed Halle accompanying their covers on guitar, but she's also provided the guitar instrumentals on their self-made EPs and debut album. Halle learned how to play by watching YouTube tutorials, and although Halle still considers herself an amateur guitar player, her always-supportive sister wasted no time praising Halle's"incredible guitar acrobatics" to Rolling Stone. Halle has been playing the instrument for nearly seven years and looks to Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix for inspiration.
A nice perk of having Beyoncé on your side is the unreal performance opportunities. The girls opened for Beyoncé during the European leg of her Formation World Tour in 2016, playing for up to 75,000 fans only three months after releasing their first EP for Beyoncé's Parkwood Entertainment label. Bey brought them back in 2018 for her On the Run II Tour, opening alongside DJ Khaled for the tour's entire North American leg. This time, their largest audience was a whopping 106,550 fans, again three months after the duo released their first album in March 2018.
Instagram/@chloexhalle via InStyle
Beyoncé isn't Chloe x Halle's only superstar fan. Former First Lady Michelle Obama found the duo through her daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, and has since worked with the pair for her charity single "This is For My Girls" alongside Missy Elliot, Kelly Rowland, and Janelle Monáe in support of the Let Girls Learn campaign. Chloe x Halle have also performed live for the FLOTUS twice, first as the opening act to her SXSW keynote. After meeting the girls at the festival, Michelle insisted that the White House Easter Egg Roll schedule be rearranged to include the sisters, who were the only act she personally introduced. Oh, and the girls were able to perform at Barack Obama's White House after a surprise visit from Beyoncé and Blue Ivy during Halle's sixteenth birthday weekend.
Halle has always been interested in the classics, specifically when it comes to jazz music. She told Time Magazine that the great Billie Holiday has been one of her biggest vocal influences since she was five years old because of her ability to emit pure love, joy, and relaxation. While Chloe brings 808s, modern trills, and alternative influences to their music, Halle contributes classic melodies inspired by Billie, which leads to the duo's dichotomous, different sound on their debut album, The Kids Are Alright.
Rolling Stone put the fledgling artists' first mixtape The Two of Us on their list of the top twenty R&B albums of 2017, citing their "spectral harmonies" and sisterly instincts in tracks like "Tra Ta Ta" and "Poppy Flower" as an exciting new direction for soul music on the stylistically unbound piece. In an amusing bit of foreshadowing, Halle is rocking a mermaid tale on The Two of Us's cover, an unexpected harbinger of things yet to come.
Instagram/@chloexhalle via Net-a-Porter
Halle hasn't only been wildly successful in music and television, she's also thrived as a model for Rodarte's FW18 lookbook alongside Ava Phillipe, Grimes, and close friend Rowan Blanchard. The sister act told Net-A-Porter their foray into fashion hit close to home as they modeled for a fashion label run by sibling Kate and Laura Mulleavy, whose on-set interactions reminded Halle of her experiences working with Chloe in male-dominated rooms, as they simultaneously gas each other up while needing to communicate about their shared creative visions.
Chloe x Halle wrote and recorded the theme song for fellow Gen-Z trailblazer Yara Shahidi's Freeform series Grown-ish, a spin-off of her hit family sitcom Black-ish, before joining the cast as recurring guest stars. They were promoted to series regulars by the second season, which seemed like a no-brainer considering they've appeared on every episode of the series, which was already renewed for a third season before even concluding its second. Funnily enough, it's Chloe who's had more acting experience out of the two sisters, appearing in three movies with Halle and three without her, including a role in The Fighting Temptations where she appeared as a younger version of Beyoncé's character nearly a decade before the singer discovered her videos on YouTube.
Despite a handful of bit parts alongside her sister, this will be Halle's first solo film (although, not her film debut, as Variety erroneously reported). She appeared as a choir member in Let It Shine and Joyful Noise in 2012 and was briefly seen in The Last Holiday in 2006, but Halle hasn't been in a feature film for nearly seven years, let alone as a leading role. The Little Mermaid will be Halle's second acting role without her sister, following one episode on House of Payne in 2007.
As Entertainment Weekly noted, Chloe x Halle's debut album, The Kids Are Alright, was entirely written and executive produced by the duo, a feat only accomplished by a handful of artists during their careers. The girls record their music from a home studio and churned out so many songs for the album that some had to be repurposed as their The Two of Us mixtape, which was also exclusively written and produced by the sisters. Even their album rejects ended up being critically lauded.
Chloe x Halle opened 2019's Super Bowl LIII alongside seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight, who sang the National Anthem. Our girls performed "America The Beautiful" during the Super Bowl kickoff, which was viewed by 98.2 million people based on Nielson estimates in addition to the 70,000 fans in attendance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the nearly 975,000 people who have watched their performance on YouTube. After having to perform live for an audience larger than the populations of 218 countries, her Little Mermaid role should be a breeze.
As part of Chloe x Halle, Halle's music has been featured on five soundtracks, beginning with "Bougie Party" for Netflix's Dear White People. They also contributed to the soundtrack for A Wrinkle in Time after being approached by director Ava DuVernay, according to NPR. After deciding none of their previously recorded songs were right for the film, the girls put together "Warrior" in an hour and sent it over to Ava, who included it in the film after asking the duo to make it more cinematic. The girls have also contributed to the soundtracks for Trolls, Little, and the Game of Thrones Season Eight album For The Throne.
A shining example of Gen-Z excellence, Halle is close friends with many of her peers including Rowan Blanchard, Willow Smith, and co-star Yara Shahidi, all of whom have made waves as outspoken young advocates for change and gifted artists. Rowan appeared in Chloe x Halle's music video for "Warrior," their first movie placement which also happened to be in ~her~ film, A Wrinkle In Time, while Chloe and Halle have done tons of press with Yara for their series, Grown-ish. As for Willow, all you need to do is peep the girls' Instagram comments to see plenty of love shared between the young black icons.
Halle has become a topic of national conversation after her historic casting as the first woman of color to play Ariel, a fictional mermaid who could be portrayed by anyone regardless of their race because she is a fictional mermaid. Why people are ~surprised~ that a film with Lin Manuel-Miranda on its creative team would feature diverse casting is beyond us, but Halle spoke with Time about the recent wave of roles for young women of color in Hollywood long before she knew she'd become one of its biggest triumphs. Halle commented that she thinks the trend is beautiful because when young girls of color see themselves represented, they feel empowered to create their own art and be confident in themselves.