May 2015

The Cool Kids: Echosmith

Getting to know the influences, relationships, and background of the siblings behind indie pop group Echosmith.

National Standards: 1, 2, 7, 10

Prepare: Have the class read The Cool Kids (page 36 of the student edition). The article provides a background on the four siblings that make up Echosmith, and explores their musical direction as well as how they got their start.

Key points in the article:

  • The band came together after the siblings performed a few covers in a benefit concert, and father and producer Jeffery Davids realized their natural chemistry.
  • The group is guided and comforted by having their father as manager, and trusts his direction though he works to fulfill, not control their vision.
  • Echosmith played a variety of musical styles before settling into their sound, which has been described by critics as an update on ’80s pop.
  • Having stopped attending regular school, the Sierota kids began homeschooling three years ago, but are now constantly on the road promoting their new single “Bright” and appearing at festivals like the Governors Ball and Firefly.

Begin: Compare and contrast Echosmith with family pop group the Jackson Five:

  • Both had father management (Joe Jackson & Jeffery David)
  • The Jackson Five’s soul/bubblegum pop sound v. Echosmith’s indie pop
  • performance styles: Jackson Five’s pop coordinated dances v. Echosmith’s band style performance

Develop: Play the official music video for Echosmith’s new single “Bright”:

What elements add to the appeal of the song?

  • simple instrumentation that allows you to appreciate each part
  • vocal harmonies that add to the melody
  • group chemistry: appear to play and respond naturally

Expand: Share the following video of the Jackson Five performing “I Want You Back”:

How does the Jackson Five’s performance and chemistry compare to Echosmith’s?

  • Lead vocalist Michael Jackson, the youngest, leads his brothers in formation
  • More pop style, appealing to all audiences v. Echosmith’s appeal to fellow young adults
  • Chemistry appears more in group energy and synchronicity as opposed to Echosmith’s natural responsiveness to one another

Apply: Have students apply what they learned from the article with this short quiz.

Answer Key
Note: Correct answers are bolded below. Answers appear randomized for students.