Breaking into music after a sibling does so can be a gift and a curse.
Getting noticed is simple -- but the expectations and nagging comparisons are unavoidable and can buckle a burgeoning career.
The struggle to break out from a sibling's superstar shadow is the anchor of a new docu-series, “The Lylas.”
The Lylas -- an acronym for “Love Ya Like a Sister” -- are sisters Jaime, Tiara, Tahiti and Presley Hernandez.
The Hernandez sisters are hoping to carve a name for themselves in the pop world. Their brother, Peter (you know him as Bruno Mars), has already found Grammy-winning, multi-platinum success, and they are hoping to do the same without relying on his name.
The series, which debuts Friday on WeTV, follows the group as it makes the trek from Honolulu to L.A. to launch a pop career.
The pressures of following their brother’s success and living up to the family’s musical pedigree heavily pepper the series premiere. So does transitional drama: Last-minute fears, leaving kids behind, living and working together, and rifts with their management team appear to be major plot points.
Sadly, the unexpected death of their mother, Bernadette, bears a heavy weight on the show.
The first episode immediately opens with the sisters getting tattoos in their mother’s honor before flashing back to the months leading up to their big move.
Bernadette (who died of a brain aneurysm in June at age 55) is featured heavily, whether she’s consoling Tahiti, who has guilt about leaving her two children behind or putting her daughter’s work ethic in check by reminding them that their brother’s success was hard earned.
The scenes with their mother provide a bittersweet glimpse at their closeness but, thankfully, are grounded in enough raw grit that they don't feel exploitative.
The real tension of the series, however, will come from the gals trying to prove they can cut it in the industry and butting heads with their management.
A meeting with famed producer Dallas Austin, for example, proves to be an uncomfortable watch when the sisters appear unprepared. Because earlier scenes had indicated that some of them would rather sip cocktails and sunbathe than sing, their lack of preparation isn't a surprise. But ultimately, the blame is pinned on management. The scene appears to set the tone for much of the conflict of the eight, hour-long episodes.
In January, the Lylas issued their debut single, "Come Back." It got plenty of traction on blogs based on the girls being "Bruno Mars' sisters," but the pop ballad was too generic to allow them to really make a splash. Maybe the series will, given viewers' appetite for any celebrity-related drama.
The real question is, will the Lylas ever be able to move beyond just being “Bruno Mars’ sisters” trying to make it in music? Early indicators point to "probably not," but viewers can at least have fun watching them give it an earnest go.