Taking One for the Teen

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“I don’t think we’re trying to be famous,” Lewin said. “It brings us joy to be up there playing, and as long as we know that our friends and our family are enjoying it, I think we’ll keep it up.”
At only 15 years old, Catherine Lewin and Louise Bequeaith of pop rock duo Glitter Density are proving that age really is just a number

Words by Maggie Dickman
Photos courtesy of Eva Lewin

Most 15-year-olds spend their Friday nights hanging out with their friends, maybe hitting up a local mall or a movie. Unless you’re Catherine Lewin and Louise Bequeaith of Glitter Density. Then you spend your night headlining a comfortably-filled hometown venue, Des Moines’ Vaudeville Mews, debuting your freshman album.

No big deal, right?

But you’d never guess that the duo are high schoolers by the coolness they emit from the stage. The bubblegum pop rock pair that calls Des Moines home take the stage with an effortless kind of confidence. Lewin’s silky smooth vocals emit more brightness than the red and green lights above her head ever could. The crowd sways to her electric strums, and Bequeaith’s bass tingles with a sort of clumsy precision that only adds to each track’s romantic character.

It brings us joy to be up there playing,” Lewin said, her choppy hair shifting as she responds with a massive grin.

It’s especially nice in high school to have something you’re really passionate about that you can actually put work into,” Bequeaith said.

For these best friends, music is simply in their blood.

Glitter Density got its start five years ago. Following in their older siblings’ footsteps, who were involved in local garage bands, the two then ten-year-olds began piecing songs together in the simplest form.

Tagging along to shows with their instrumentally-driven siblings, Lewin and Bequeaith saw firsthand what music could be and wanted to join in on the fun.

“When we were very young, we were exposed to the music scene in Des Moines,” Bequeaith said. “It wasn’t something that you think about a lot as a kid, but when we saw people who weren’t too much older than us going out there and doing it, it made it seem possible.”

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“By expressing ourselves, we are empowering ourselves to the utmost degree,” Lewin said. “If that empowers others, then we are the luckiest girls in the 515.”

Maybe that’s why their freshman release, Make Ya Mother Proud, proves that Glitter Density has a kind of knowledge unbeknownst to most 15-year-olds, a natural knack for writing that can only be attributed to their ambitious dive into music.

Citing influences ranging from Rihanna to Queen, Glitter Density found a sound that emits the comfort of an endless summer day. They boast silky smooth guitar riffs and subtle, dreamy bass lines. Combine that with Lewin’s soothing vocals, and they create a vibe seemingly as romantic and classical as Sinatra himself. It’s refreshing and bubbly, like a can of soda.

Beyond simply their aesthetic and sound, the group proves their musical might through their lyrical construction. The strum-driven songs are saturated with messages about growing up, with songs as observant as “Hush Darling” (“no one will believe you because you are just a girl”) and as addictive and sugary sweet as the BFF-inspired “Slushie.”

The ladies are honing in on a sound and perspective as young women in music today, giving them a worthy spot within the Des Moines music scene. As they follow fellow female-fronted acts Karen Meat and Odd Pets on stage, it’s clear that they are able to command a crowd as well as their predecessors and inspirations.

“We’ve had a surprisingly large opportunity, and I think that has to do a lot with the other musicians in Des Moines,” Bequeaith said. “The people who we’re playing with tonight have just opened doors for us that would be harder for us to get into.”

Lewin echoed these sentiments. “People are going out of their way to ask us to play with them,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, we’re teens, you want us to play?’ It’s so cool.”

It’s not every day that a pair of high schoolers are able to simply have some fun and create a record as original as theirs. And though they’re producing something great, something that’s on the cusp of seriously memorable for the duo, it’s really just about the music. Nothing is more important than creating something that brings them joy, and with Make Ya Mother Proud, that’s exactly what they did.

“You know, we’re making our mothers proud,” Lewin said, laughing.

Bequeaith agrees. “And we’re making ourselves proud.”

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