Tegan and Sara

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Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara Hillside 2014.jpg
Tegan and Sara post-concert at 2014 Hillside Festival
Background information
Origin Calgary, Alberta
Genres Indie pop, indie folk, synthpop, indie rock, pop, pop punk[1]
Years active 1995 (1995)–present
Labels Vapor, Sire, Warner Bros.
Website teganandsara.com
  • Tegan Quin
  • Sara Quin

Tegan and Sara /ˈtɡən, ˈsɛərə/ are a Grammy-nominated Canadian indie pop singing duo formed in 1995 in Calgary, Alberta, composed of identical twin sisters Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin.[2] Both musicians are songwriters and multi-instrumentalists.[3][4][5][6][7] The pair have released eight studio albums and numerous EPs. Their eighth album, Love You to Death, was released on June 3, 2016.

They are prominent advocates for the LGBT community.


1997–2003: Backgrounds and early work[edit]

Tegan and Sara at Terminal 5, New York City, 10/6/08

Tegan and Sara began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15,[5] forming a band called Plunk without a drummer or bass player. In 1997, they used their school's recording studio to record two demo albums: Who's in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary's "Garage Warz" competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow tape, which was followed by Orange tape and Red tape.

In 1999, they released their debut album Under Feet Like Ours independently under the name "Sara and Tegan" with producer Jared Kuemper.[8] Two songs from Red tape appeared on the album, and two from Orange tape. They later changed their name to "Tegan and Sara" because it was more memorable and their first album was later reprinted under the name Tegan and Sara. In 1999 they signed with Neil Young's Vapor Records and released This Business of Art through the label in 2000. They have toured extensively since then. In 2002, the band released their third album If It Was You. Their fourth album, So Jealous, was released in 2004 and led to wider success and attention, both locally and internationally. This album was released through both Vapor and Sanctuary. One track off the album, "Walking with a Ghost", was covered by The White Stripes, who released it on their Walking with a Ghost EP.[9]

2007–2011: Mainstream success[edit]

Their 2007 album, The Con, was released by Vapor and Sire because Sanctuary chose to no longer release new music in the United States. The album was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and previously Weezer, Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King all appeared and collaborated on the album.[10]

On October 27, 2009, Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp. The duo also put out a three-volume book set titled ON, IN, AT, which is a collection of stories, essays, journals, and photos of the band on tour in America in the fall of 2008, writing together in New Orleans, and touring Australia. The photographs in the book are taken by Lindsey Byrnes and Ryan Russell. The album "Sainthood" debuted on the Billboard top 200 albums at number 21 selling 24,000 copies in its first week.[11] While recording Sainthood, Tegan and Sara spent a week writing songs together in New Orleans. The song "Paperback Head" was the only song written by the pair to appear on the album, making it the first song on any Tegan and Sara album that they wrote together.[12] Spin magazine gave Sainthood four out of five stars and wrote, "Tegan and Sara's music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking."[13]

Tegan and Sara performing at the Polaris Music Prize Gala 2010

In 2011, they launched "2011: A Merch Odyssey", which saw at least one new item in the official online stores every month, all year long. A live CD/DVD combination package titled Get Along was released on November 15 and contains three films titled "States", "India" and "For The Most Part". Get Along was nominated in the 2013 Grammy Awards for "Best Long Form Music Video".[14]

2012–2014: Heartthrob[edit]

Tegan and Sara started recording their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, on February 20, 2012. Eight songs were produced by Greg Kurstin. Joey Waronker contributed drums to these songs. Two songs were produced by Mike Elizondo, with Victor Indrizzo contributing drums, Josh Lopez contributing guitar and Dave Palmer contributing piano. The last two songs were produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen. The first single, "Closer", was released on September 25, 2012. The album was released on January 29, 2013 and debuted on the Billboard top 200 at number 3, the band's highest charting record to date, selling 49,000 copies in its first week.[15] Heartthrob debuted at number 2 on the Canadian chart, digital downloads chart and hit number 1 on the rock and alternative album charts.[16] In July 2013, the album was shortlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.[17] In March 2014 Tegan and Sara won three Juno Awards for Song of the Year, Pop Album of the Year and Group of the Year.

2015–present: Love You to Death[edit]

Tegan and Sara finished their eighth studio album on November 30, 2015.[18] On March 10, 2016, the band announced via their Facebook account that the album's title would be Love You To Death, with the release date set for June 3. They released the lead single from the album, "Boyfriend", on April 8.[19][20] On April 25 tour dates were announced for their 2016 worldwide tour in support of the Love You To Death album.[21] The duo stated that they would be releasing a music video for each track on the album.[22]


Tegan and Sara have credited Green Day, Nirvana and Hole for "truly start[ing] to cement our desire to write and make our own music."[23] During their teenage years, the duo were influenced by The Smashing Pumpkins, Violent Femmes, Dinosaur Jr. and Teenage Fanclub.[24] Other artists who have influenced Tegan and Sara include Rihanna,[25] [26] Taylor Swift,[27] Madonna, Kate Bush, David Bowie,[28] Pink, Lily Allen,[29] Erasure, Ace of Base,[30] Tom Petty, Britney Spears, Katy Perry,[31] Ani DiFranco, The New Pornographers, Cyndi Lauper, Sinéad O'Connor, Against Me! and Bruce Springsteen.[23]

Personal lives[edit]

Tegan and Sara are identical twins born September 19, 1980, in Calgary. Both are openly gay[32] and live and travel between Vancouver and Los Angeles.[33] In 2013, the band partnered with Coolhaus, their "favourite ice cream sandwich truck",[34] to create an ice cream sandwich in favour of marriage equality. The sandwich featured Double Chocolate cookies and Salted Caramel ice cream, and was named "Til Death Do Us Part".[34][35]

Tegan and Sara are active politically and socially engaged. They are both advocates for LGBT equality as well as music education, literacy, and cancer research.[36] Despite being Canadian they are both actively involved in U.S. politics due to spending time living in the U.S. Both have used their fame to discuss issues important to them.

In 2012, they appeared on the cover of Under the Radar magazine’s "Protest" issue. Both were photographed holding a sign that read "The rights of the minority should never be subject to the whim of the majority."[37] Also in Canada, they were actively supporting Quebec students in their protest against that provincial government. They spoke out on behalf of Against Me!'s transgender punk rocker Laura Jane Grace. In the U.S. both were vocal during California's Prop 8 debates.[38]

Due to the expansion of their audience they had gained a higher profile in the gay community. They were awarded Outstanding Music Artist at the GLAAD Media Awards, beating out high-profile musicians including Lady Gaga and Elton John.[39] They have created a visible LGBT presence in the music scene. On June 2014, Tegan and Sara joined WorldPride to perform in the closing ceremonies at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.[40]

The duo partnered with Revel & Riot to create a T-shirt that would fund Revel & Riot’s mission for LGBT rights. The "Animals" T-shirt features Tegan and Sara, a turtle, fox, koala, penguin, and a dragonfly all labeled with their Latin names. The text at the bottom reads "Gay behaviour is found in over 1500 species. LGBTQ equality now." All proceeds of the sale go to benefit the work of Revel & Riot.[41]

As of April 2016, Sara Quin has been in a relationship with Stacy Reader for almost six years, while Tegan Quin has stated that she has been with someone for the past six months after two longer term relationships.[42]


Tegan at NIB Stadium in December 2010
Sara at NIB Stadium in December 2010

Tegan and Sara began touring after graduating from high school in 1998, travelling by car or Greyhound bus.[43] In 2000, they toured with Neil Young and The Pretenders. Other notable touring mates include Ryan Adams, Weezer, Bryan Adams, Jack Johnson, The Black Keys, Ben Folds, Gogol Bordello, Cake, City and Colour, Death Cab for Cutie, Hot Hot Heat, The Killers, New Found Glory, Paramore, Rufus Wainwright, Eugene Francis Jnr, The Jezabels, An Horse, Steel Train, Holly Miranda, and Speak.

The sisters are known to do a lot of onstage banter, which often includes stories and commentary about their childhood, politics, and life on the road; this has become an indispensable part of their live shows.[44]

They have performed at festivals including Mariposa Folk Festival 2001, Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair 1999, 2010, Coachella 2005, 2008, 2013 Lollapalooza, SXSW 2005, 2013, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Falls Festival, Sasquatch!, Osheaga, Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour 2008; Southbound 2009, Glastonbury 2010, Lilith Fair, Sasquatch! 2010, Australia's Groovin' the Moo 2010 and 2013, Winnipeg Folk Festival 2011,[45] Newport Folk Festival 2011, Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Fest 2011, Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest 2011 and 2015, and Outside Lands 2014. Firefly (2014)They performed at the ending ceremony in June at Toronto World Pride 2014 and also at Boston Calling in May 2014.

In 2013, Tegan and Sara opened for the band fun., on their Most Nights Summer Tour which started in Toronto, Ontario on July 6 and ended in Bridgeport, Connecticut on September 28.

In January 2014 Katy Perry announced that Tegan and Sara, along with Capital Cities and Kacey Musgraves would be the opening acts for the North American leg of her Prismatic World Tour. Tegan and Sara toured with Perry from September to October 2014.

On February 25, 2014, Tegan and Sara announced their Let's Make Things Physical Tour. The tour included a range of supporting acts for different cities, including Lucius, The Courtneys, Waters, and My Midnight Heart.[46] The tour kicked off on May 6 in Columbia, Missouri, ending in November 2014.

In July 2014, the pair opened for Lady Gaga's 2014 concert tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball Tour in Quebec, Canada in front of a crowd of 80,000.[47]

In 2015, the sisters weren't touring, taking time off to write and record their eighth studio album Love You To Death, which was officially released on June 3, 2016.[48]

On April 25, 2016, their worldwide 2016 tour in support of Love You To Death was announced. The tour will start on June 22 in London, UK, passing through Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan in July, and traveling across Canada and the United States starting September 9 in Saskatoon and wrapping up in Fort Lauderdale on November 16.[21]

Collaborations and other work[edit]

In 2009, Tegan and Sara worked as producers for the first time. Tegan worked with char2d2 on the 2009 Small Vampires EP, while Sara worked on 2010 debut albums for Fences and Hesta Prynn.

Tegan R. Quin[edit]

Tegan appeared on Against Me!'s song "Borne of the FM Waves of the Heart", and also appears in the music video. She also sang backing vocals on Rachael Cantu's "Saturday" from her Run All Night. In April 2008, Tegan wrote and recorded a song titled "His Love" at the request of Augusten Burroughs as a contribution to the audio version of his book A Wolf at the Table. The two headlined Spin's September 2008 Liner Notes benefit for Housing Works, a New York non-profit.[49] Tegan sang with Jim Ward on his track "Broken Songs" and on the song "Contrails" by rapper Astronautalis which appeared on his 2011 album This Is Our Science. She also appeared in the music video. Tegan was also featured in one of the songs off of Dan Mangan's new LP Unmake, titled Forgetery Redux.[50]

Sara K. Quin[edit]

Sara sings on The Reason's song "We're So Beyond This", and also appears in the music video. She was featured on rapper/songwriter/producer Theophilus London's track "Why Even Try" from his 2011 Lovers Holiday EP. Sara appears on Jonathan Coulton's 2011 album Artificial Heart, providing vocals for the album's remake of the song Coulton wrote for Valve's game Portal, "Still Alive". Sara covered Alicia Keys' "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" from Doveman's Burgundy Stain Sessions in 2011. In Kaki King's music video for "Pull Me Out Alive" Sara can be seen as well. Sara sang back-up vocals on two songs from former The Smashing Pumpkins member James Iha's 2012 album Look to the Sky: "To Who Knows Where" and "Dream Tonight".[51]

Tegan and Sara[edit]

Tegan and Sara performed with DJ Tiësto during the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2008. Tegan and Sara appeared as guests, providing live vocals for Tiësto's remix of "Back in Your Head", in addition to their own set that night. The duo also collaborated with Tiësto on the song "Feel It in My Bones" from his 2009 album Kaleidoscope and appeared in the music video for this song. They later called the song "the first time we’d co-written with somebody, so it was the first time someone was giving us feedback on what we’d written... Sara and I were both so obsessed with him liking the song enough to put it on his record that we both were writing on it. It was a true collaboration; there’s like two sections that Sara wrote, and three that I wrote."[52]

Tegan and Sara are featured on Margaret Cho's 2009 album Cho Dependent on the track "Intervention". They are also featured in the song's video.

An "Alligator" remix EP was released by the duo on iTunes in 2010. The EP consisted of remixes of their song "Alligator" by different artists. Contributors included Doveman, Four Tet, Passion Pit, Ra Ra Riot, and VHS or Beta.

In December 2010, Tegan and Sara collaborated with the Yellow Bird Project to produce a charity T-shirt. The shirt was designed by EE Storey with all profits benefiting FIERCE NYC, an organization that builds the leadership and power of LGBTQ communities in New York City.[53]

They both appear in Sara Bareilles' music video for her song "Uncharted". The video premiered in March 2011 and also features, amongst others, Josh Groban, Laura Jansen, Ingrid Michaelson, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, Ben Folds, Keenan Cahill, Jennifer Nettles, and Vanessa Carlton.

NOFX's controversial song "Creeping Out Sara" is about the two sisters. It's based on an encounter between Fat Mike of NOFX and Sara while backstage at a music festival. During a live Q&A when asked what they thought of the song Sara answered, "The song is called 'Creeping Out Sara'; I am Sara, and I was creeped out."

The sisters collaborated with Morgan Page on his songs "Body Work" and "Video", which were both on his 2012 album In the Air. They also appeared in the music video for "Body Work".

Another collaboration with a dance artist was on a song with David Guetta and Alesso for Guetta's re-release album Nothing But the Beat 2.0. The song, "Every Chance We Get We Run", was released on September 10, 2012.

Tegan and Sara have both ventured into songwriting for other artists. This includes two songs "A Hot Minute" and "The Worst" featured in Lisa Loeb's 2013 release No Fairy Tale.[54] Sara also co-wrote "Sweetie" which was included in the deluxe edition of Carly Rae Jepsen's album Kiss.

In 2012, the sisters covered Cyndi Lauper's hit "Time After Time".

In 2012, Tegan and Sara covered The Rolling Stones' "Fool to Cry" for the HBO show Girls soundtrack vol. 1.

In 2013, Tegan and Sara released a "Closer" remix EP containing contributions from artists such as Sultan & Ned Shepard, The Knocks, and Yeasayer.

In 2013, Tegan and Sara released "Shudder to Think" for the Dallas Buyers Club movie soundtrack.

In 2013, Tegan and Sara were featured on Matthew Dear's Tears for Fears cover of "Pale Shelter".

In 2013, the Canadian duo covered P!nk's "Just Like a Pill" for Billboard's Women in Music 2013.

In 2014, Tegan and Sara released "Find Another Love" for the Endless Love movie soundtrack.

In 2014, Tegan and Sara sang the jingle "Dare to Wonder" for the Oreo Wonderfilled cookies TV commercial.[55]

The same year, they sang "Everything Is Awesome", the theme song for The Lego Movie, with The Lonely Island. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In 2014, Tegan and Sara co-wrote and sang the song "Hard to Hold" on the RAC album Strangers pt. 1[56]

The duo also were featured on "When You Were Mine" by Night Terrors of 1927.

In September 2014 they released a remix EP of "I Was a Fool".

In 2015 they performed with The Lonely Island at the Oscars, representing their collaboration for the Lego Movie in "Everything is Awesome".

In March 2015 the duo collaborated with Sultan and Ned Shepard on the song "Make Things Right".

Television, film and video games[edit]

Tegan and Sara have appeared on American, Canadian, and European television shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2013), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2005, 2013), Jonovision, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (2004), Late Night with Conan O'Brien (2005, 2007, 2009, 2012), Late Show with David Letterman (2000, 2008, 2012), The NewMusic, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2008, 2013), C à vous (2013), "Comedy Bang! Bang!" (2016), and ZeD.[45][59]

Tegan and Sara songs have been featured in the films Dallas Buyers Club, The Lego Movie, G.B.F., Monster-in-Law, Sweet November, and These Girls, and in the television shows Degrassi: The Next Generation, 90210, Being Erica, Ghost Whisperer, Grey's Anatomy, The Hills, Hollyoaks, jPod, The L Word, Life Unexpected, Melrose Place (2009 series), One Tree Hill, Parenthood, Rookie Blue, Vampire Diaries, Veronica Mars, Waterloo Road (2011), What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Awkward, and BoJack Horseman. Their song "Closer" was covered by Glee on the episode "Feud" which aired March 14, 2013 at 9pm EST on Global for Canada and Fox for USA. The song is also used in the teaser trailer for the 2013 independent comedy film, "Exes".[60] The songs "Closer" and "Back in Your Head" were featured in the 2016 video game "LOUD on Planet X".

In 2006, Tegan and Sara appeared in The L Word episode "Last Dance" (season 3, episode 11); they had a small role in which they played themselves performing their song "Love Type Thing" and exchanged a few lines with main character Dana Fairbanks. In 2008, they appeared on the kids music television show Pancake Mountain where they acted in a skit and performed their songs "Back in Your Head", "Hop a Plane", and an acoustic version of "Walking with a Ghost".[61] In 2010, they appeared on CBC's Mamma Yamma, revising their single "Alligator" into a children's song. In 2012, Tegan and Sara appeared in the 90210 episode "The Things We Do for Love" performing "Closer" and "Now I'm All Messed Up" from their album Heartthrob.[62]

In 2011, Sara was a panellist on the CBC Radio 1 program Canada Reads, defending Jeff Lemire's graphic novel Essex County. The book, the first graphic novel to be featured as part of Canada Reads, was voted off after the first round but then later placed #1 in a "People's Choice" poll with more votes than all other books combined.

In March 2013 during the SXSW festival Tegan and Sara co-hosted the mtvU Woodie awards with rapper Machine Gun Kelly. They also performed their single "Closer". The Woodie Awards aired on MTV on March 17, 2013.[63] On September 30, 2013, Tegan and Sara performed "Closer" on Today.[64]

In early 2014 Tegan and Sara collaborated with The Lonely Island on a song called "Everything Is Awesome!!!" for The Lego Movie soundtrack. The movie opened in theatres on February 7, 2014. The song debuted at number 62[65] on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 24[66] on the Official UK Singles chart. Chief songwriter/producer Shawn Patterson received an Oscar nomination for best original song at the 87th annual Academy Awards, losing to "Glory" by John "John Legend" Stephens and Lonnie "Common" Lynn, from the movie Selma.

Band members[edit]

  • Tegan Quin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Sara Quin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Backing musicians
Former backing musicians
  • Ted Gowans – guitar, keyboards (2004–2014)
  • Jasper Leak – bass (2012–2014)
  • John Spence – keyboards (2012–2014)
  • Adam Christgau – drums (2013–2014)
  • Johnny Andrews – drums (2006–2010)
  • Shaun Huberts – bass (2007–2010)
  • Chris Carlson – bass (2001–2006)
  • Rob Chursinoff – drums (2001–2005)
  • Jason McGerr – drums (2012)


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2000 Tegan and Sara YTV Band/Musical Group Achievement Award Won
2003 If It Was You Western Canadian Music Awards, Outstanding Pop Recording Won
2006 So Jealous Juno Awards, Alternative Album of the Year Nominated
2007 It's Not Fun Don't Do It Juno Awards, Music DVD of the Year Nominated
2008 The Con Juno Awards, Alternative Album of the Year Nominated
2008 The Con Polaris Music Prize Longlist Nominated
2009 "The Con" Studio8 Song of August 2009 Won
2010 Sainthood Juno Awards, Alternative Album of the Year Nominated
2010 Sainthood Polaris Music Prize Shortlist Nominated
2010 Tegan and Sara Western Canadian Music Awards, International Achievement Award Won
2011 Tegan and Sara Indie Awards, Group or Duo of the Year Nominated
2012 Get Along Juno Awards, Music DVD of the Year Nominated
2013 Get Along Grammy Awards, Best Long Form Music Video Nominated
2013 "Body Work" MTV Woodie Awards, Tag Team Woodie Nominated
2013 "Closer" NewNowNext Awards, That's My Jam Nominated
2013 "Closer" Canadian Radio Music Awards, Best New Group - Dance/Urban/Rhythmic Won
2013 "Closer" Much Music Video Awards, International Video of the Year by a Canadian Nominated
2013 Heartthrob 2013 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist Nominated
2013 Tegan and Sara 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Canadian Act Nominated
2014 Tegan and Sara GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Music Artist Won
2014 Heartthrob Juno Awards, Pop Album of the Year Won
2014 Tegan and Sara Juno Awards, Group of the Year Won
2014 Closer Juno Awards, Single of the Year Won
2014 Tegan and Sara Juno Awards, Songwriter of the Year Nominated
2014 Tegan and Sara Canadian Radio Music Awards, Best New Group/Solo Artist - Mainstream AC Won
2014 Closer Canadian Radio Music Awards, SOCAN Song of the Year Nominated
2014 Tegan and Sara Canadian Radio Music Awards, Fans' Choice Nominated
2014 Goodbye, Goodbye MuchMusic Video Awards, Pop Video of the Year Nominated

See also[edit]


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  34. ^ a b McNeil, Jason (October 8, 2013). "Tegan and Sara Create 'Marriage Equality' Ice Cream Sandwich". Huffpost Music. Canada. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
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  54. ^ "Allmusic.com No Fairy Tale". Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
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