While most teenage girls are in attending middle and high school and involved in sports or other activities and dealing with the typical drama that comes with this age, fifteen-year-old Liv Haynes spends her time being homeschooled, songwriting, practicing guitar, and performing with the band NOT UR GIRLFRENZ. The Texas trio is made up of Liv Haynes (15) Guitar & Vocals, Gigi Haynes (13) Bass, and Maren Alford (15) Drums.
Drawing influences from classic rock bands like Joan Jett, U2, and Heart to current pop and rock bands like Paramore and Fall Out Boy, these young ladies are quickly gaining a solid fan base and even had the chance to perform with the Vans Warped Tour, where founder Kevin Lyman declared them ‘The future of women in rock or just rock in general.‘
Catching the attention of Paul Reed Smith, Liv is endorsed by the company and shares with us her love of PRS guitars, how she got involved with music, how the band was formed, and what’s next!
Lots of people start bands in high school, and most never go anywhere. What do you think separates you and your band from other bands in your age group?
I think what separates my band from other teen bands is that we see this as our careers. It isn’t just a fun hobby (although it is fun). Our families are super supportive, and we can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done to help support our dreams. We weren’t put together by a school; we joined together as friends and sisters, and it’s our favorite thing to do. We are very serious and constantly working to improve on ourselves and our craft.
How did you get involved in music?
I’ve been involved in music ever since I can remember—my sister, Gigi, and I grew up with our dad playing lullabies on guitar for us before we went to bed. But not your average lullabies, he would play songs from artists such as Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, etc. So ever since a young age, we both had a strong interest in music, and once we had realized we could start making it and performing on stage, we begged our parents every day until they took us to singing and guitar/piano lessons.
Outside of being the frontwoman for a successful rock band, do you consider yourself a fairly normal teenager?
Well, I don’t go to public school because I am homeschooled, so I have never really experienced any of the middle school/high school drama most kids go through. But, outside of performing on stage when the lights are on me and people are cheering, I am a regular gal. It depends on what defines being a “normal teenager” because everyone is going through their own problems in life, especially during troubling times like now. Also, even if I was as big as the biggest pop stars in the world, I don’t think I would change out of my pajamas to make a run to the grocery store. Some things will never change. *laughs*
Tell us about your band Not Ur Girlfrenz, and how the band was formed.
We all met at an acting school when we were six and seven, and the band didn’t form until we were ten, eleven, and twelve. When I was taking a class on directing, something struck in me that I wanted to form a band. I took the chance to make that dream happen with the short film that I wrote, directed, filmed, and starred in. I asked Maren if she wanted to play drums (knowing she was playing drums in another band at the time) and my sister Gigi if she wanted to play bass (she had never played bass in her whole life). But she learned a few notes quickly, and shortly after that, our acting coach saw what we were doing and asked if we wanted to play a small show for some industry guests from LA coming in town. Of course, we said yes and learned two songs—”Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin and “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett. Gigi learned the bass in two weeks, and we successfully played the show and booked our first gig for three weeks after. That was also a huge success, and we definitely saw this as something we wanted to do for a long time.
What guitars, amps, pedals, etc. are you currently playing, and what attracts you to a particular sound or brand?
Of course, I loveeeee my PRS guitars. They are my babies. I have a PRS S2 Custom 24 in Whale Blue, a PRS S2 Vela Frost Green Metallic, and a PRS Acoustic-Electric Angelus SE. I like a really easy setup since we mostly travel in a minivan for tours in the US with no guitar techs (except my dad). But for now, I love my Marshall Combo Amp and an instrument cable, and I’m set!
You were featured in a “Girl Power” advertising campaign for Reliant Energy, working alongside Matthew McConaughey. What was that like?
It was an honor, especially for how long we had been together as a band. Doing our two favorite things—playing music and working on set—it was so much fun! Plus, seeing it air during the Super Bowl was pretty insane!
You’re already astounding people with your success and talent at such a young age. Do you find yourself being put under a lot of pressure to continue wowing people and doing things you’ve never done before, or are you comfortable with where you are?
I feel like it’s just inborn in me that I always want to top the last thing we did or song I wrote. But, I don’t feel pressured to do this, it’s what makes me happy. I’m happy with where I am, but I know I could always be happier and make other people happier!
Do people make unfair judgments or assumptions about you based on your age?
100%. This is sadly expected for us as we see it happen at every show we play. It’s fun for us to change people’s opinions once we play and see their reactions when we hit the stage. Plus, I wrote a song about it called “No One Asked You Anyway,” so the jokes on them!
What do you do to make sure that other people don’t get in your head with their opinions or assumptions?
I’ve been lucky to have a supportive team that lets me make decisions for myself and my career, with songwriting, music video treatments, set design, merchandise, artwork, etc. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I completely ignored the haters, but I do my best, and it never really gets to me. If anything, I use it as fuel to write more songs. No one can stop me!!!
You’re from Texas, which isn’t exactly known for its pop-punk music scene. Do you think making your kind of music made it harder to break into the Texas music scene?
Texas has been so supportive of us. We have built such a strong fanbase here, and we also play with bands of all genres. We are so thankful to have so many loyal fans and friends who have spread the word. We are cowgirls at heart, and we love it here y’all!
“Texas will always have a special place in my heart . . .”
Could you ever see yourself relocating your music to another city, or would you prefer to continue making music in Texas?
Texas will always have a special place in my heart, but so does traveling for me. So I would love to take my music in many places, especially since writing songs in different places can give you different inspirations. I even got LED lights so I can create a different atmosphere or vibe for whatever song I’m writing at the moment. But besides the point, I love the music scene in LA and Nashville, so who knows where I might end up relocating someday!
What have you and the band been up to during quarantine, and might we expect to hear some new music?
Throughout this quarantine I have been trying to keep myself super busy, knowing I get bored easily, I saw it as the perfect time to write/produce tons of songs, practice guitar, and find new artists I love. If music didn’t exist, I don’t know what I would be doing. I would lose my mind! You can expect some new songs for sure! And they are sick.
“. . . I will find a way to be surrounded by music since it is my first love.”
What do you see yourself doing in the next few years, as you grow up? Will you keep doing this for as long as you can? Do you see yourself going on hiatus to pursue other things, for example, college?
We hope to keep building momentum and touring more and more, as we want to do this as a career long term. College doesn’t guarantee a job for our future these days sadly, and we are learning “on the job” in this business. As I stated before, I have been working a ton on writing and producing songs during quarantine and would love to learn more about the production side of the business. I am also really interested in fashion, makeup, and design, so really any way I can be surrounded by artwork and creativity is the path I want to take. Designing my own guitar would be fun! I know, in the end, I will find a way to be surrounded by music since it is my first love.