Wilson Phillips's Wendy Wilson: "We Are Who We Are"
In the early '90s, Wilson Phillips calmly came onto the music scene with their 1990 self-titled debut album and launched such hits as "Hold On," "Impulsive" and "You're in Love." They received Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1990 and 1991. Their second album, 1992's Shadows and Light, took on a different tone than their debut, dealing with issues like child abuse and other personal matters.
Photo by Jeremy Cowart L-R: Wendy Wilson, Carnie Wilson and Chynna Phillips
Shortly after Shadows and Light they parted ways, but returned in 2004 with the cover-song collection California. They made a cameo in the 2011 box-office smash Bridesmaids, which resulted in a major popularity surge and introduced Wilson Phillips to a new generation.
Rocks Off recently talked with Wendy Wilson via phone about their newfound popularity, what it was like to work with Kristen Wiig and their new reality show on the TV Guide Network, Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On.
Rocks Off: Since you made the cameo in Bridesmaids, I know that Wilson Phillips has seen a big surge in popularity. Tell me how the cameo came about?
Wendy Wilson: We had a manager at the time [Lizzy Grubman], and she got wind of the movie and that they wanted somebody to make a cameo in the movie. They asked us if we would be interested in appearing in this Judd Apatow production with Paul Feig directing and the girls from Saturday Night Live [Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph].
We went down to Arcadia, California, and filmed the movie for the better part of the morning, like all night long. It was a great experience and we got to hang out with the girls [Kristen, Maya, Melissa McCarthy, etc]. It was really cool. I had never been in a movie before, so it was a new experience.
It was so wonderful. We're glad we did it. We had no idea, absolutely no idea, that it was going to be such a big hit. The first time we actually saw it was when we went to the movie theater.
RO: So what was it like seeing yourself onscreen for the first time?
WW: It was a trip. I'm really self-conscious when I watch myself on anything, so I'm like, covering my face. It was great. We were just really proud that we were such a big part of the storyline. It was really an honor for us.
RO: What was it like working with Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph?
WW: We were only there for one day. We only filmed for one evening. It was a blast. We were laughing and they were very funny in person. We were treated really really graciously.
RO: How has this popularity surge affected Wilson Phillips overall? Also, have you seen your concert audiences get younger, demographic-wise, as a result of your newfound popularity?
WW: Actually we have. Our demographic, generally, is people that are our age [early forties]. Now we're seeing women in their twenties coming to the show. It's really exciting for us. We love it. We love that we have such a wide range of fans now. Even children come to the show.
It's funny because some of the mothers at my kids' school, their kids watch our reality show. It's hilarious. I think you were right when you said that Bridesmaids put us back on the map and also grew a new audience for us.
RO: In Bridesmaids you perform "Hold On," which is your best-known song. What do you think has made this particular song so popular even after 20 years?
WW: I think that a good song is never gonna go out of style. I think that it's gonna last forever. It's always going to be appropriate for any time and a good lyric if it's something that people can relate to, like something's very hopeful in "Hold On." I think it's the lyric, that's what carried it, as well as the sound of our voices that worked. I think people like positivity and to be inspired by music. It's very powerful.