Story and Photos by Enrique Geronimo/Contributing Writer
“Murfreesboro is great, but it’s not the end all be all,” Jason said. “It’s really about creating your own opportunities,” said his brother, Ben.
Jason and Ben Prokop are 20-year-old identical twin brothers from Houston who started singing at the age of three. While Houston’s music scene is predominantly hip-hop and rap, the two grew up in the choral system and around a lot of classic rock thanks to their parents, which they use to relate to different age demographics at their shows now. Their father worked in printing and one of his clients was the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where the boys received a scholarship for piano lessons from a woman named Rachel Buckman at the age of only five. They proceeded to join the Houston Boys Choir at the age of seven, their middle school and high school choirs and they joined their church’s choir in third grade of which they were members of for 13 years.
“This all played a role into what we do now, we didn’t always play and write contemporary music,” Ben said. From the age of 18 to 19, Jason travelled to Chile and studied music while he was there. Around the same time, Ben went to a local community college and started learning guitar.
“We wrote our first song together in August of 2018 and it’s called ‘Through the Fire,’” said Jason. “Once we got to MTSU we started to meet a lot of people who led us to other important connections and performance opportunities,” Ben explained.
Once the brothers had settled in a little bit, they joined a group called the Casbah Collective with whom they played five shows in total.
“Our first local show was at the Laundry Room over Thanksgiving break 2018, and we actually got asked to play at Ridenour Rehearsal Studios for their opening show the following night, which really gave us the momentum to start writing more songs,” Jason elaborated.
“In the last couple months we’ve started writing more songs and developing a brand that is more representative of us and our childhood,” he added.
Ben continued, “This last month has been crazy, we had five shows planned and we still have three of those left which is pretty packed for us. We’ve spent a lot of time going out to local shows to support other artists and to analyze the music scene here and in Nashville.”
“In all honesty we didn’t know if we were ready for all of these shows,” Jason revealed, “but you kind of have to just have the confidence to go out and do it. A lot of our career is faith-based as well, so that partially helps with the confidence and nerves,” Jason said.
Their latest show was at the Analog at the Hutton in Nashville, where they opened for “The River as Song” event featuring two-time Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale and Su Yang, a multiple national music award winner from China.
“This show is important to us because it shows an open mind culturally, getting to hear Chinese music live in Nashville is awesome,” said Jason. “We’re from Russia so we’re big advocates of exploring other cultures,” agreed Ben.
In terms of goals, the Prokop Brothers have several in mind.
“Short-term, we are recording a single and working on that brand development plan that should be ready by November. We still have a long way to go but the music we’ve been writing recently is starting to reflect the sound we are going for,” Jason said.
The Prokop Brothers will go by Twin County from that point forward. “Long term, we are always working to be better songwriters. Really focusing on the details of songwriting, because even one word can change the whole feel of a song,” Ben said.
Jason expressed a few of his fears, saying, “Some of the biggest challenges we’ve faced here were just being intimidated by the large pool of extremely talented musicians. It was eye-opening and showed us how ready we weren’t at the time. It definitely pushed us towards a better work ethic though, not to be better than anyone else but to become better for ourselves. It’s not a competition, but the question is can we keep up?”
Education-wise, The Prokop Brothers both agreed the classes they’ve taken have “absolutely, no doubt” helped them to better understand the industry. “We didn’t really know much at all about the music industry before coming here, and the truth is there is no formula for being a successful songwriter or musician, everyone’s journey is different,” Jason said.
Ben believes similarly, and explained, “We’re directly taking a lot of what we’re learning in these classes and applying it to our lives now. For example, in my songwriting class the teacher often says it’s about the ‘tools not rules,’ which I am starting to see.”
After The Prokop Brothers graduate in May, they are set on staying in the area. “I’ve never felt more at home as far as music goes. The Nashville community is so supportive” Jason said warmly.
“I feel like I am where I need to be and doing what I’m doing. We’re exactly where we need to be,” Ben said with a smile before Jason added, “I’d like to think we’ve learned a lot since being here. People want to see other people do well and I think that’s really cool.”
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