Sisters Lauran and Jenna Wittmann initially met Emily Sinclair through a mutual friend, but they didn’t immediately hit it off.
“Every one of us is just so shy,” says Emily. “It was so hard to start a conversation—it takes a lot of effort to be someone’s friend.”
The three eventually got together via social media. “I would post videos of me singing, and they would like and comment, and Jenna would request songs,” says Emily. “Eventually Jenna DMed me and asked if I wanted to be in a project.”
That project, it turns out, was a band. Initially jamming at the Wittmann family home, a friendship slowly developed, along with their sound. “We used to be more folky,” says Lauren. “Then we all matured as artists,” says Emily.
“We played a ukulele, quiet and little. But now we’re rough and tough,” says Lauren. “We sing more about bigger feelings.” The addition of a drummer for their live shows was another step away from folk. Says Emily, “Of course it makes it sound bigger. We’re more rock and roll now.” And Jenna agrees, “We’re definitely getting grittier.”
Their earliest gigs at a local market led to more regular performances, and their first headlining set was such an overwhelming success (including being named one of the best live shows in Winnipeg that year) that they sought out Adam Fuhr of House of Wonder Records. “He signed us onto his label, and after that we focused on making an EP,” says Emily.
They recorded that EP, Sixteenth Sapphire, in 2020 (“while wearing masks In a hot, stuffy studio,” remembers Emily) and released it on cassette tape and digitally in early 2021. The release was a critical success and they’re riding on that wave as they look toward their next recording.
Virgo Rising heads back to the studio in a few weeks to record their second EP. About that upcoming project Emily says, “I think the new songs themselves reflect more the type of artist we are now. But in terms of how it’s going to sound, we aren’t sure yet. Our last EP was our first one, so we were trying things out a bit. With this new one, maybe there will be room for more experimentation—maybe it will be gritter, or maybe it will feel more organic.”
As Lauren says, “A lot of it is decided in the studio.”
Emily: “Ya, we’re just kind of going wherever our creativity takes us. We’re all very sure of ourselves, and always very open to trying new things.
For three young women whose bashfulness kept them from initiating a friendship, their cohesion as a band is a remarkable sign of growth. “We’re all very sure of ourselves, and we’re all very open with each other, very in tune with each other. That’s why it’s so easy for us to write and why our sessions in the studio go so smoothly,” says Emily.
Virgo Rising has a new single coming out very soon. Follow them on social media (@virgorisingmusic) and watch their Bandcamp (virgorisingband.bandcamp.com) for new releases and upcoming shows.