Tegan and Sara are a Canadian indie rock duo formed in 1995 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, composed of identical twin sisters Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin (both born September 19, 1980). Both musicians are songwriters and play the guitar and keyboards.
Background and early work: 1997–2003
Tegan and Sara Quin were born September 19, 1980 in Calgary, Alberta. They began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15, forming a band called Plunk without a drummer or bass player. In 1997, they used their school’s recording studio to record two demo albums: Who’s in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary’s Garage Warz competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow tape, which was followed by Orange tape and Red tape.
In 1999, they released their debut album Under Feet Like Ours independently under the name “Sara and Tegan”. Two songs from Red tape appeared on the album, and two from Orange tape. They later changed their name to “Tegan and Sara” because it was easier to pronounce and because they wanted their name to stand out amongst the other “Sara” musicians at the time such as Sarah McLachlan and Sarah Slean. They reprinted their first album under the name Tegan and Sara. Neil Young’s manager signed them to Young’s Vapor Records label and they released This Business of Art through Vapor in 2000. They have toured extensively since then. In 2002, the band released their third album If It Was You. Their fourth album, So Jealous, was released in 2004 and led to wider success. This album was released through both Vapor and Sanctuary. One track on the album, “Walking with a Ghost”, was covered by The White Stripes, who released it on their Walking with a Ghost EP.
Mainstream success: 2007–2011
Sara at NIB Stadium in December 2010
Their 2007 album, The Con, was released by Vapor and Sire because Sanctuary chose to no longer release new music in the United States. The album was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and previously Weezer, Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King all appear on the album.
Tegan at NIB Stadium in December 2010
On October 27, 2009, Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp, as well as a three-volume book set titled ON, IN, AT, which is a collection of stories, essays, journals, and photos of the band on tour in America in the fall of 2008, writing together in New Orleans, and touring Australia. The photographs in the book are by Lindsey Byrnes and Ryan Russell. Sainthood debuted on the Billboard top 200 albums at number 21 selling, 24,000 copies in its first week. While recording Sainthood, Tegan and Sara spent a week writing songs together in New Orleans. The song “Paperback Head” appeared on the album, making it the first song on any Tegan and Sara album that they wrote together. Spin magazine gave Sainthood four out of five stars and wrote, “Tegan and Sara’s music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking.”
In 2011, they launched 2011: A Merch Odyssey, which saw at least one new item in the official online stores every month, all year long. A live CD/DVD combination package titled Get Along was released on November 15 and contains three films titled “States”, “India” and “For The Most Part”. Get Along was nominated in the 2013 Grammy Awards for “Best Long Form Music Video”.
Tegan and Sara started recording their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, on February 20, 2012. Eight songs were produced by Greg Kurstin. Joey Waronker contributed drums to these songs. Two songs were produced by Mike Elizondo, with Victor Indrizzo contributing drums, Josh Lopez contributing guitar and Dave Palmer contributing piano. The last two songs were produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen. The first single, “Closer”, was released on September 25, 2012. The album was released on January 29, 2013 and debuted on the Billboard top 200 at number 3, the bands highest charting record to date, selling 49,000 copies in its first week. Heartthrob debuted at number 2 on the Canadian chart, digital downloads chart and hit number 1 on the rock and alternative album charts. In July 2013, the album was shortlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.In March 2014 Tegan and Sara won three Juno Awards for Song of the Year, Pop Album of the Year and Group of the Year.
Both twins are openly gay. Tegan lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sara lives in Montreal, Quebec, and also in New York City with her girlfriend; they have been dating since 2011.
Tegan and Sara began touring after graduating from high school in 1998, travelling by car or Greyhound bus. In 2000, they toured with Neil Young and The Pretenders. Other notable touring mates include Ryan Adams, Weezer, Bryan Adams, Jack Johnson, The Black Keys, Ben Folds, Gogol Bordello, Cake, City and Colour, Death Cab for Cutie, Hot Hot Heat, The Killers, New Found Glory, Paramore, Rufus Wainwright, Eugene Francis Jnr, The Jezabels, An Horse, Steel Train, Holly Miranda, Speak and Diana.
Their onstage banter, including stories and commentary about their childhood, politics, and life on the road, has become an indispensable part of their live shows.
They have performed at festivals including Mariposa Folk Festival 2001, Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair 1999, 2010, Coachella 2005, 2008, 2013 Lollapalooza, SXSW 2005, 2013, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Falls Festival, Sasquatch!, Osheaga, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour 2008; Southbound 2009, Glastonbury, Lilith Fair, Sasquatch! 2010, Winnipeg Folk Festival 2011, Newport Folk Festival 2011,Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Fest 2011, Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest 2011 and Australia’s Groovin’ the Moo 2013. They will be performing at Boston Calling in May 2014.
In 2013, Tegan and Sara opened for the band fun., on their Most Nights Summer Tour which started in Toronto, Ontario on July 6 and ended in Bridgeport, Connecticut on September 28.
In January 2014 Katy Perry announced that Tegan and Sara, along with Capital Cities and Kacey Musgraves will be the opening acts for the North American leg of her Prismatic World Tour. Tegan and Sara will tour with Perry from September to October 2014.
On February 25, 2014, Tegan and Sara announced their Let’s Make Things Physical Tour happening Spring and Summer in the US. The tour will include a range of supporting acts for different cities; Lucius, The Courtneys and My Midnight Heart. The tour kicks off on May 6, 2014 in Columbia, MO.
In 2009, Tegan and Sara worked as producers for the first time. Tegan worked with char2d2 on the 2009 Small Vampires EP, while Sara worked on 2010 debut albums for Fences and Hesta Prynn.
Tegan appears on Against Me!’s song “Borne of the FM Waves of the Heart”, and also appears in the music video.
Sara appears in The Reason’s song “We’re So Beyond This”, as well as appearing in the music video.
Tegan sings backing vocals on Rachael Cantu’s “Saturday” from her Run All Night.
In April 2008, Tegan wrote and recorded a song titled “His Love” at the request of Augusten Burroughs as a contribution to the audio version of his book A Wolf at the Table. The two headlined Spin’s September 2008 Liner Notes benefit for Housing Works, a New York non-profit.
In addition to their own set, Tegan and Sara performed with DJ Tiësto during the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2008. Tegan and Sara appeared as guests, providing live vocals for Tiësto’s remix of “Back in Your Head”. Tegan and Sara also collaborated with Tiësto on the song “Feel It in My Bones” from his 2009 album Kaleidoscope and appeared in the music video for this song.
Tegan and Sara are featured on Margaret Cho’s 2009 album Cho Dependent on the track “Intervention”. They are also featured in Margaret’s video for the song.
Tegan and Sara released an “Alligator” remix album on iTunes in 2010. Contributors included Doveman, Four Tet, Passion Pit, Ra Ra Riot, and VHS or Beta.
In December 2010, Tegan and Sara collaborated with the Yellow Bird Project to produce a charity t-shirt. The shirt was designed by EE Storey with all profits benefiting FIERCE NYC, an organization that builds the leadership and power of LGBTQ communities in New York City.
Sara is featured on rapper/songwriter/producer Theophilus London’s track “Why Even Try” from his 2011 Lovers Holiday EP.
Tegan and Sara appear in Sara Bareilles’ music video for her song “Uncharted”. The video premiered in March 2011 and also features, amongst others, Josh Groban, Laura Jansen, Ingrid Michaelson, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, Ben Folds, Keenan Cahill, Jennifer Nettles, and Vanessa Carlton.
Sara appeared on Jonathan Coulton’s 2011 album Artificial Heart, providing vocals for the album’s remake of the song Coulton wrote for Valve’s game Portal, “Still Alive”.
NOFX’s song “Creeping Out Sara” is about the two sisters. During a live Q&A when asked what they thought of the song Sara answered, “The song is called ‘Creeping Out Sara’; I am Sara, and I was creeped out.”
Sara appears in Kaki King’s music video for “Pull Me Out Alive”.
Tegan sang on “Contrails” by rapper Astronautalis on his 2011 album This Is Our Science. She also appeared in the music video.
Tegan and Sara collaborated with Morgan Page on his songs “Body Work” and “Video”, which were on his 2012 album In the Air. They also appeared in the music video for “Body Work”.
Tegan and Sara collaborated on a song on with David Guetta and Alesso for Guetta’s re-release album Nothing But the Beat 2.0. The song, “Every Chance We Get We Run”, was released on September 10, 2012.
Tegan and Sara have ventured into songwriting for other artists. This includes two songs “A Hot Minute” and “The Worst” featured in Lisa Loeb’s 2013 release No Fairy Tale. Sara also co-wrote “Sweetie” which was included in the deluxe edition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Kiss.
In 2013, Tegan and Sara released a “Closer” remix EP containing contributions from artists such as Sultan & Ned Shepard, The Knocks, and Yeasayer.
In 2014, Tegan and Sara sang the jingle “Dare to Wonder” for the Oreo Wonderfilled cookies commercial.
List of joint and solo collaborations
Television and film
Tegan and Sara have appeared on American, Canadian, and European television shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2013), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2005, 2013), Jonovision, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (2004), Late Night with Conan O’Brien (2005, 2007, 2009, 2012), Late Show with David Letterman (2000, 2008, 2012), The NewMusic, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2008, 2013), C à vous (2013), and ZeD.
Tegan and Sara songs have been featured in the films “Dallas Buyers Club”, “G.B.F.”, Monster-in-Law, Sweet November, and These Girls, and in the television shows Degrassi: The Next Generation, 90210, Being Erica, Ghost Whisperer, Grey’s Anatomy, The Hills, Hollyoaks, jPod, The L Word, Life Unexpected, Melrose Place (2009 series), One Tree Hill, Parenthood, Rookie Blue, Vampire Diaries, Veronica Mars, Waterloo Road (2011) and What’s New, Scooby-Doo?. Their song “Closer” was covered by Glee on the episode “Feud” which aired March 14, 2013 at 9pm EST on Global for Canada and Fox for USA. The song is also used in the teaser trailer for the 2013 independent comedy film, “Exes”.
In 2006, Tegan and Sara performed in The L Word episode “Last Dance” (season 3, episode 11). In 2008, they appeared on the kids music television show Pancake Mountain where they acted in a skit and performed their songs “Back in Your Head”, “Hop a Plane”, and an acoustic version of “Walking with a Ghost”. In 2010, they appeared on CBC’s Mamma Yamma, revising their single “Alligator” into a children’s song. In 2012, Tegan and Sara appeared in the 90210 episode “The Things We Do for Love” performing “Closer” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” from their album Heartthrob.
In 2011, Sara Quin was a panelist on the CBC Radio 1 program Canada Reads, defending Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel Essex County. The book, the first graphic novel to be featured as part of Canada Reads, was voted off after the first round but then later placed #1 in a “People’s Choice” poll with more votes than all other books combined.
In March 2013 during the SXSW festival Tegan and Sara co-hosted the mtvU Woodie awards with rapper Machine Gun Kelly. They also performed their single “Closer”. The Woodie Awards aired on MTV on March 17, 2013. On September 30, 2013, Tegan and Sara performed “Closer” on Today.
Tegan and Sara have collaborated with The Lonely Island on a song called “Everything Is Awesome!!!” for The Lego Movie soundtrack. The movie opened in theaters on February 7, 2014. The song debuted at number 62  on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 24  on the Official UK Singles chart.
Tegan Quin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Sara Quin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Ted Gowans – guitar, keyboards (2004–present)
Jasper Leak – bass (2012–present)
John Spence – keyboards (2012–present)
Adam Christgau – drums (2013–present)
Former backing musicians
Johnny Andrews – drums (2006–2010)
Shaun Huberts – bass (2007–2010)
Dan Kelly – bass (2007)
Chris Carlson – bass (2001–2006)
Rob Chursinoff – drums (2001–2005)
Jason McGerr – drums (2012)
Main article: Tegan and Sara discography
Under Feet Like Ours (1999)
This Business of Art (2000)
If It Was You (2002)
So Jealous (2004)
The Con (2007)