6 Mormon sisters share uplifting music with millions on YouTube

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 2 2014 2:00 p.m. MDT

The Gardiner family

Gardiner family photo

The Gardiner family has a motto: If you work hard and put the Lord first, you can do anything you set your mind to.

That's what the father of Hailey, 21, Allie, 20, and Mandi, 19, taught his daughters years ago and continues to tell them today. And the women from North Carolina, known as the Gardiner Sisters, have taken it to heart. It motivates them to pursue their dream of making music that inspires and uplifts.

"We dedicate ourselves to trying to be the best people we can first, the best sisters that we can first, and then hopefully that will translate over into our music," Hailey told the Deseret News.

During the past year, the Gardiner Sisters have acquired millions of views on YouTube and thousands of Facebook followers, and on Aug. 29, they sold out their first ticketed concert in Los Angeles.

Mandi, Allie and Hailey's journey began at ages 6, 7 and 8, respectively. Music had always been a part of their lives, but it was then that their mother taught them three-part harmony.

"I think it was from that time on that we realized it was something that we really liked to do, and then we started singing at church, and then it turned into little festivals, and then it turned into concerts, and then it warped into what it is now," Allie said.

After setting up a YouTube channel in 2007 and posting covers of popular songs in 2009, the Gardiner family moved their eight children to Los Angeles to support the sisters' dream.

"Our whole family up and moved from North Carolina for a year, and actually we did that twice in high school," Hailey said. "Our parents have always believed in us and were so supportive of us pursuing our dreams."

Although the family moved back to North Carolina after a record deal didn't come through, the Gardiner Sisters continued to pursue their goal.

As their younger siblings grew older and became interested in their music, Hailey, Allie and Mandi added sisters Lindsay, 15, Abby, 12, and Lucy, 6, to their group.

Week after week, the Gardiner Sisters uploaded videos of themselves singing acoustic covers of popular songs. In 2012, a cover of the One Direction song "Kiss You," which now has more than 5 million views, struck a chord with viewers and became the Gardiner Sisters' first viral video.

"It's funny because we've been posting videos for fun for years and it was totally random. ... It was just kind of lucky the way ('Kiss You') exploded, and our channel has been growing pretty consistently since then," Allie said.

Today, the Gardiner Sisters continue to make videos with all six sisters, covering music from Disney love songs to Colbie Caillat and One Republic.

The Gardiner family also has two boys, Ben, 11, and Tim, 8, who don't enjoy singing as much as their sisters but are still involved.

"We gauge how funny our content is by if we can get our brothers to laugh or not because they're pretty hard critics," Hailey said. "But if we can get our brother Ben, especially, if we can get him to laugh at our videos, or if he asks to watch our videos, we're like, 'Yes!' That's our goal."

While the sisters admit they don't always get along, performing together is something they cherish.

"Ever since we were little, our dad always told us after we had fights, 'You guys are best friends,' and we'd be like, 'No we're not!’ ” Allie said.

"But as we've gotten older, we've gotten so much closer, and it's so much fun to work with your best friends in the world. … It's also a great support system. You can trust your sisters with anything. They're great people to have alongside you through ups and downs of the industry."

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