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Press Photo by April Baumgarten Hazen singers Kendra, left, and Krista Slaubaugh, also known as Tigirlily, are shown Thursday in Dickinson before performing for Alive@5.

‘Victory’ is theirs: North Dakota duo Tigirlily taking state, life by storm

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The Dickinson Press
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Most teenage girls focus on chasing boys, shopping and getting ready for a date.

Not Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh. With one heading off to college as a freshman and the other entering her junior year of high school, the Hazen sisters have their sights on writing songs, performing at concerts and, hopefully, snagging a record deal.

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“I think today (Thursday), or was it yesterday, I said to Mom as I looked at the CD, ‘Is it weird that I just graduated (from high school) and Krista has two years left and we have three CDs?’” Kendra said while laughing. “We look back and see how far we have come and think ‘We could actually have a shot at this. We’ve got to just keep going.’”

The cross-genre duo known as Tigirlily has taken North Dakota by storm in the last two years. Kendra and Krista have traveled across the state to perform at concerts almost every weekend in the summer.

And somehow they still manage to write their own songs. On Monday, the girls will release six songs on iTunes, including Krista’s “Victory.”

The song is about persevering, Krista said, adding that while some — as the song says — do it for the money or fame, they do it because they love to sing.

“You can’t let people get you down in this life,” Krista said. “It’s all about pushing through. If you are knocked down, you feel like you are going to fail in life. You just gotta get back up and do it for the victory.”

While Krista writes the fast-paced, feel-good songs, Kendra sticks to the deeper, emotional songs. Even “Happy Song,” which a was challenge by Krista to Kendra to write a happy song, has a sad turn to it.

But it give the girls variety, Kendra said.

“Together, we definitely mesh well,” Kendra said.

Kendra first kicked off her career about four years ago by posting videos on YouTube and singing at events like Hazen’s Music in the Park. Soon after, Krista joined in.

The girls started doing what they call “kitchen covers.” The sessions consisted of them sitting in their kitchen at home as they recorded themselves singing their favorite songs, like “Home” by Phillip Phillips.

Then, a year and a half ago, the girls recorded their first video, “Just Another Pretty Face,” with their friends and music teacher, Chris Harvey. The video was the official kickoff to their first record, “Good Place to Start.”

The girls didn’t stop there. They kept recording songs, filming videos and performing. They went to Nashville, Tenn., with Hebron country singer Gwen Sebastian, where they recorded several songs and honed in their skills.

“We have been so blessed with so many opportunities, just being able to represent North Dakota,” Krista said. “We are so thankful for the support from North Dakota.”

The video that put the girls on the map was “North Dakota.” With a professional team behind the camera and scenes from the Peace Garden State, the video from Tigirlily got responses from countries across the world. “North Dakota” has been viewed more than 213,000 times. Tigirlily has 20,000 likes on their Facebook page and 1.5 million views on YouTube.

A year later the girls are going strong, performing at events that draw thousands of fans. Tigirlily will perform Friday and Saturday to a nearly sold-out Medora show headlined by “The Voice” star and Scranton native Kat Perkins. The rock artist said the girls came to her about four years ago, asking for advice. Kat wanted to return the favor and give them their moment in the spotlight.

“There was no other choice in my mind,” Kat said. “I wanted them to be a part of this experience.”

Tigirlily’s motto has always been to dream out loud. The girls would love to move to Nashville and pursue a record label, and they will keep pushing for it.

“It doesn’t matter what your age is; you can go after your dreams,” Kendra said. “We definitely encourage people to dream on and dream hard because that is what life is about — be passionate about what you love.”

Baumgarten is the assistant editor for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-456-1210. Follow her on Facebook at april.baumgarten.

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April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.   
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