Bellbrook singing duo following their dream

Holly Klepacz and Emily Taylor focus on music career duing gap year

Holly Klepacz and Emily Taylor got their start together at the BellHOP Cafe in Bellbrook in December 2014, singing as a duo while still in middle school.

There are videos of the performance. They admit they are embarrassing. The audience consisted mostly of their friends and family.

And yet, “People thought we were good enough to listen to,” Emily said.

They then launched a YouTube channel that now has almost 7,000 subscribers. Their cover of “Hooked” by “ the band Why Don’t We recorded in June 2018 has been viewed more than 100,000 times thanks in part to one of the group’s singers, Jonah Marais, sharing the video on Instagram.

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Klepacz and Taylor gained confidence and planned for the next step in a burgeoning musical career. They graduated from Bellbrook in 2019 and decided to take a gap year instead of going to college.

“My family was a little iffy at first,” Holly said, “but they wanted us to follow our dreams and do what we love and at least try.”

Klepacz and Taylor hoped a performance at the Sugar Maple Festival in Bellbrook would kick start a busy schedule this summer, but of course, the COVID-19 crisis canceled that festival, which would have been held this weekend, and has put everything on hold.

Even though they live next to each other with their families in Bellbrook — and have since they were in the sixth grade — they’ve maintained social distance except when they’re at work together at Freedom Family Chiropractic in Centerville.

“Obviously we can’t record with each other for our YouTube videos that we try to put out every week,” Emily said. “We’ve just been trying to like do an online collaboration, or she’ll send me a video and I’ll just like splice our songs together.”

The duo planned to do weekly performances at Ritter’s Frozen Custard in Beavercreek starting in mid-April, but that’s on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. They were fortunate they made the most of the months before the pandemic.

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Klepacz and Taylor performed at the TEDxDayton Youth event at the Dayton Masonic Center on March 5. They competed in a contest at the Health and Fitness Wellness Your Way Festival in Cincinnati in October and got feedback from the singer/songwriter Jewel, who told them they reminded her of herself at the same age.

“We’ve gotten a lot of cool experiences to come out of the gap year,” Emily said. “We’ve gotten to to go a lot to a lot of concerts and do some road trips.”

Klepacz and Taylor are unsure what genre in which they would place their music. They cover songs but also write their own music.

“We try to write songs together because I think we both feel that those end up being some of the best ones,” Emily said, “but there are a lot of times where we’ll just like write something, and then send it to the other person and be like, ‘What do you think?’”

That collaboration will continue even if the pandemic keeps them mostly apart. They d0n’t know if they’ll start college in the fall, but definitely want to keep the music going.

“We do want to make a career out of it,” Holly said.

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