“They say lightning never strikes the same place twice…” unless, of course, you are We Are The Northern Lights, the self-proclaimed “accidental passion project” of indie pop-folk duo Hadar Orshalimy and Sheldon Low. With tight harmonies, melodic hooks and personal lyrics that draw comparisons to The Lumineers and The Civil Wars, as well as two placements in film and television less than a year after WATNL’s creation, it’s hard to imagine anything about the project being “accidental.”
But consider that they grew up 6,000 miles apart and met in a place called Oconomowoc, WI when Hadar was serving in the Israeli Defense Force training soldiers to clean up a nuclear, biological or chemical attack, and Sheldon was on his way to becoming a Jewish rock musician after a short career in engineering. The couple moved to NYC together and began pursuing completely independent solo music careers. “We lived and wrote together, but most weekends I’d be in one city performing Jewish rock, and she’d be in another city, singing secular pop,” recalls Sheldon.
It wasn’t until their song “Take Me Home” (produced by Robopop) was placed in the feature film “Beneath” (directed by Ben Ketai), that the two ever considered a joint project.
“We had been ghost writing for years at that point but people heard our voices on that song and told us they wanted more. So for the first time, we tried writing music for us and about us and a full album came pouring out,” explains Sheldon. Within a few days, the unnamed duo debuted some of the songs at one of Sheldon’s gigs in Anchorage, AK and the band settled on their name.
Upon returning to New York, WATNL began performing in local NYC venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, Arlene’s Grocery, and Sidewalk Café. In August of 2016, the duo retreated to a cabin in the forest near Ithaca, NY, where they recorded “I’m Still Here” for an end credit in the Crackle series “Startup” starring Adam Brody and Martin Freeman.
The following year found the duo recording their debut EP “Now Or Never,” playing a 7-week summer tour across the country in support of the EP, and getting a third placement for “Sunshine” in the second season of “Startup.” In January of 2018, WATNL went back into the studio with co-producers Jack DeBoe and Matt Cusson to record their sophomore EP “Where Your Heart Is" which is tentatively set to be released as a series of singles starting in the second half of 2018. WATNL recently finished their second annual national summer tour.
“Sometimes it’s hardest to see what’s right under your nose,” shrugs Hadar. “But the best part of this whole accident is that what we found there, is just us.”