In love with Singapore

Michael Alvarado and his wife Carissa Rae Alvarado are a hit on social media with their videos.
Michael Alvarado and his wife Carissa Rae Alvarado are a hit on social media with their videos.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE

Singing act Us The Duo enjoy eating local food and shopping in the malls

American husband-and-wife singing act and social media stars Us The Duo are very much into Singapore's favourite twin pastimes of eating and shopping.

Speaking to Life in a telephone interview ahead of their set at the A Rooftop Affair gig in Serangoon mall myVillage tomorrow, Michael Alvarado says: "It's impossible to ignore how great chilli crab is. And the chicken rice, it's like so cheap, it's crazy how cheap it is.

"If we wanted to get chicken rice right here in the US that was that good, it would be like $10."

The 27-year-old and his wife, Carissa Rae Alvarado, 24, are also looking forward to hitting the malls here.

Michael adds: "You have so many malls which are so big and great and ours are so small and not great. There's something about the Singapore malls we love."

The rooftop show tomorrow, which also features home-grown acts Gentle Bones and ShiGGa Shay, will be the pair's third performance in Singapore.

They were last here in December for a gig at Kallang Theatre and, before that, at the opening ceremony of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore in October.

Their fans, who call themselves Us The Family, are a highly dedicated bunch. The duo both recall being inundated with doughnuts from their Singapore fans, just because they tweeted that they love the sweet dessert.

Says Michael: "A lot of Us The Family members came to the show with boxes of doughnuts. Later, back on our little tour bus, a lot more members gathered with more doughnuts."

Carissa adds with a laugh: "I'm pretty sure we ate them all."

The Southern Californian pop/ folk pair, who met in 2011 and married the next year, are social media darlings who have built up a massive following through their videos of popular covers as well as original songs. On YouTube, they have more than one million subscribers and their videos have chalked up 61.3 million views.

They are even more popular on short-form video sharing service Vine, where their six-second clips of songs have garnered 714 million views and 4.7 million followers.

The online buzz led to a major label deal with Republic Records last year, earning them the distinction of being the first Vine stars to achieve the feat. The signing led to an album, No Matter Where You Are, which peaked at No. 9 on the iTunes Pop Albums Chart.

Michael says they are working on new songs for a follow-up album and that fans can expect to hear their music evolve over time.

"We're trying to dive into more of the pop realm and just like anybody, your music changes over time and you create art based on what's pouring into your ears.

"Right now, we're really inspired by a lot of things on the radio, which is this EDM, pop movement and also great singers."

While they both started out as solo singers, the pair are now inseparable and cannot imagine making music without the other.

Says Carissa: "The best thing about working with your best friend is that you get to experience amazing moments together. It would be so lonely on the road if I were to be by myself or if Michael was by himself.

"When really big moments happen in our career, we get to experience it with each other and we get to look at each other and just live in the moment."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'In love with Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe