Sister act: Katelin, Kaylee Sultan make social media magic

Katelin, left, and Kaylee Sultan have perfect chemistry as performers. - Photo by Sureash Cholai
Katelin, left, and Kaylee Sultan have perfect chemistry as performers. - Photo by Sureash Cholai

While most of their peers pass the time between online classes, watching television and playing video games, sisters Katelin, seven, and Kaylee Sultan, five, dedicate themselves to singing and dancing for a virtual audience.

Earlier this year, the sisters’ virtual concerts attracted thousands of viewers who were moved by their ability to sing traditional Indian music and bhajans.

Speaking with Newsday Kids, Katelin and Kaylee spoke about their journey as online performers, musical influences and plans.

The daughters of veteran chutney singer Neeshad Sultan and manager Kerryann Sultan, they received their training from their father while their mother offered guidance on their direction.

While the sisters’ popularity grew from social media performances, their experience singing began much earlier, starting for Katelin when she was five.

On a visit to relatives in New York in November, 2019, Katelin sang at their grandfather Rahamut Sultan’s show at the Starlight Pavilion, Queens, before a packed auditorium.

“First I was in New York and I performed with my Daddy and the second time was when I was six-years-old, I started to record songs.

“I don’t ever get nervous, I’m always brave and I love to sing so it’s just kind of natural for me. I just love everything about it.”

Impressed by her performance, several patrons, including a blind man, made donations to the family to help further her studies and singing career.

When the first cases of covid19 were recorded in TT early in 2020, the girls and their mother passed the time at home watching Indian films. Kerryann got the idea to record Katelin doing cover versions of some of the songs.

Katelin, left, and Kylee Sultan both want to be doctors but said they will still perform together. - Photo by Sureash Cholai

“I realised Katelin was singing a song in the movie Papa Mere Papa and she was singing it so well, so I asked if she wanted to record a cover version of it and we didn’t waste anytime we went and did it immediately. From that it was song after song.”

Being able to master the pronunciation and vocal range to sing in Hindi often requires years of experience but Katelin quickly developed a passion for the language, researching the meaning of words with her mother’s help.

Katelin said she is happy to sing on a modern platform and introduce a new generation of listeners to classical songs.

Outside of traditional Indian music, Katelin wants to explore new genres and has begun performing original soca and parang tunes. In December 2020, she debuted her single Christmas Dhalpourie, written by her mother, and then sang a cover of the soca, Pump it Up.

“Being able to perform Christmas Dhalpourie was a lot of fun for me. I really do enjoy going outside of the box and seeing what is fun especially as dhalpourie is my favourite kind of roti,” she joked.

Kerryann began recording livestream videos of her daughters singing at their home in Cunupia and Facebook users praised their natural ability as entertainers and chemistry as sisters.

This led her to create an official Facebook account – Katelin & Kaylee Sultan – which has amassed a following of more than 17,000 people since last June.

Their presence on social media also led to more opportunities as they appeared on several programmes and shows over the Divali season, this year, boosting their popularity.

Katelin said she and her sister are not fazed by audiences and credit their confidence to the support of their family and practice.

“My sister Kaylee likes to dance and I would be her partner and dance with her while I’m singing too. I love it when she performs with me. I love her dance moves too.

“We practice a lot to get it out the way we want it to be done.”

For Kaylee the joy in being able to bring smiles to people online is what she enjoys the most.

While her sister has sharpened her skills as a singer, Kaylee prefers to keep the audience engaged with her dancing and comedy skills creating a blend of their talents.

“She could sing really good at times, if she is singing I would go on the stage and dance to back her up,” said Kaylee.

“I have so much fun dancing it’s so much fun.

“It’s really cool being able to express yourself. Whenever I do my dancing I like to do funny antics and gestures too.”

Their mother said there is no specific schedule for their shows as they also have online schooling. Katelin and Kaylee attend Warrenville TIA Primary School and both dream of becoming doctors, pursuing their entertainment careers part-time.

They plan to record a virtual Christmas concert collaborating with other artistes including one of Katelin’s favourites, Neval Chatelal.

The concert – Christmas in Paris – will be recorded at KYN Photography Studios in Fyzabad and aired in the first week of December.


"Sister act: Katelin, Kaylee Sultan make social media magic"

More in this section