Sister, brother from Fort Plain put musical efforts on fast track

FORT PLAIN – Two teenage village siblings are flirting with musical stardom.

Capital Region music industry officials say 18-year-old vocalist and piano player Jocelyn Arndt’s vocals, and the guitar work by her 16-year-old brother, Christian, have put them on the fast track to what may turn into something big.

The pair earlier this year signed a two-year agreement with Latham’s Bridge Road Entertainment to tour and record in hopes of gaining fame and fortune.

The deal involves putting out two albums a year, with 11 songs per album, and music videos.

White Lake Music/Bridge Road Entertainment President & Creative Director David Bourgeois said he’s impressed with the brother and sister team.

“She’s an unmanageably gifted singer,” he said of Jocelyn. “They are exceptionally talented.”

Bourgeois said the two have a “development agreement,” which is a little different from a record deal, but it could lead to a record deal. He said the Arndts are developing their skill levels, recording, doing publicity and playing live performances with a goal toward going to the “next level.”

The Fort Plain Central High School students – the son and daughter of Ted and Elizabeth Arndt of Wagner Street – were discovered by Bourgeois at last year’s Fonda Fair. Also playing there was Chelsea Cavanaugh, who Bourgeois represents and will be opening on tour with Sheryl Crow.

The Arndts previously played in a local band, The Dependents, which put out a CD, “Dry Cereal,” last May.

Now, high school senior Jocelyn has been accepted to Harvard University and plans to attend in the fall as a pre-med student. But she and her brother plan to continue to collaborate by sharing music online while she’s studying in Boston.

“It’s been pretty fun,” high school junior Christian said of their musical journey. “The ultimate goal would be to get a regular record contract and get airplay.”

Jocelyn says she and her brother are not sure how to classify their music by genre.

“We haven’t quite figured it out,” she said with a laugh.

She said the arrangement they’re in now is immersing her and Christian in the music industry.

“It’s a 360 deal. It covers every aspect of it,” Jocelyn said.

Among the Arndts’ songs is lost-love ballad “More Than I Say I Do” and “One Kiss.” Their music can be found on You Tube. The pair encourages the public to visit www.jocelynarndt.com and like their fan page on Facebook.

Warren Garling, director of marketing for Voice Coaches in Albany, said the Fort Plain Central School District has been understanding of the potential stars in their midst.

“The kids are so well known they are given time off to do publicity,” he said.

Garling said Jocelyn’s voice has gained the attention of music professionals across the country with inquiries from as far away as California and Canada. The Arndts are recording with musicians from New York City to Los Angeles.

Bourgeois said the Arndts’ music “bridges blues and soul with alternative sophistication” and Jocelyn’s powerful and sultry vocals and songs can be thought of as Janis Joplin meets Adele.

The Arndts are young but enjoy music from all generations.

Jocelyn said her influences include Adele, as well as Norah Jones and other female soloists.

“I try to listen to a little of everything,” she said.

Christian’s guitar playing and writing were influenced by people such as the late Texas bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan and Dutch rocker Mark Knopfler, he said.

The Arndt siblings have co-written about 15 of their own songs and will perform at the Second Annual Move Music Festival that showcases independent artists throughout the Capital Region this weekend in Albany.

They will perform with other backup musicians such as a bass player, trumpet player, violinist and another guitar player at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Bayou Cafe in Albany.

Jocelyn and Christian Arndt like to think of themselves as ordinary American kids who work as instructors at Gore Mountain during the winter, study hard and make music in their free time.

They recollect the excitement the time they played live at a talent show in Canajoharie when she was in sixth grade and he was in fifth. They said their parents have been supportive, with father Theodore suggesting his son take up guitar after Jocelyn had gained some expertise by taking lessons from town of Florida instructor Beth Olsen. Christian learned guitar initially by taking lessons at Vishnu Music in Gloversville and went on to learn from Pat Clark of St. Johnsville.

The Arndts are waiting to see where this all takes them.

“I’ve never actually thought of music as a full-time career,” said Christian, who likes to snowboard.

Jocelyn added, “It’s going to be a challenge.”

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.