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Vine Stars Us the Duo Earn Oprah’s Seal of Approval (Plus, a Label Deal and Movie Too)

Us the Duo, 2014.
Courtesy Republic Records

Us the Duo

A song by husband-and-wife team Us the Duo is featured twice in the Fox animated feature The Book of Life: Placido Domingo sings “No Matter Where You Are” with Zoe Saldana, and it’s reprised over the end credits. The placement is the latest in a string of recent successes by Michael and Carissa Alvarado, one of the first acts signed to a major label -- Republic -- from a Vine video.

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Mexican-style covers of Radiohead’s “Creep,” Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” and Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” are also featured in the film, along with a half-dozen other songs arranged by Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who wrote two originals for the film with Paul Williams. Fox had all the selections chosen except for a wedding song, and put a call out to labels for options.

“[Republic COO] Avery Lipman made the initial pitch,” says Michael. “He read the description and told Fox about us and there was a lot of excitement. It was the last scene to be filmed and in a matter of two or three days, we were in the Fox offices.”

Further payoff: After seeing the film, Oprah Winfrey booked Us the Duo for the Life You Want Weekend Tour that runs through mid-November. While on the road, Us the Duo is recording new music and continuing its day job: creating Vines of other people’s songs.

This article first appeared in the Oct. 11 issue of Billboard.

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