Photo courtesy of Side By Side


Charlotte’s own pop-rock trio Side by Side is performing at the Saloon at the NC Music Factory Wednesday, November 30, 2011.

The band, formed in early 2010, is made up twin brothers Michael and Joey Pepe and lead female vocalist Joelle Kittrell.

Once they got together, the band spent the rest of 2010 working on an EP, which was released in February 2011. The self-titled, five track indie pop rock band’s debut EP bravely mixes meaningful sultry, soulful vocals with beautiful rock melodies.

The jazzy singing background of Kittrell definitely allows Side by Side to stand out from the crowd of unsigned bands.

Quick success erupted for the band soon after the EP’s release. Billboard Magazine named them one of the top six unsigned bands in the nation in 2011. They have recently been touring with Billboard across the United States.

Side by Side has also been featured in two independent films, one ABC television movie and have had four songs licensed to VH1 and MTV for network use. After exposure from Billboard Magazine, the band has been collecting a highly enthusiastic fan-base and promoting their music.

They have been  touring across the East coast during the summer and fall of 2011 and will continue to do so through 2012. Their next stop in Charlotte will be their first show since an Atlanta gig on Nov. 16.

Joey, the guitarist, is a UNC Charlotte graduate who studied photography and art. He has said that this has helped him hone in on his creative abilities to help his music.

More success is inevitable for Side by Side, and being an unsigned band will not be their status for long. To find out more details about Side by Side, visit



Earlier this year, Niner Times was able to speak with Side by Side about the changes they have made since the release of their last album and what they plan to do in the future.

Niner Media: What changes have you made since your last album?

Side By Side: Playing live so often this year has taught us about each other as musicians, ergo allowing us to have a newfound chemistry that is tenfold what we had 8 months ago. Our refined chemistry allows us to record songs quicker and more collectively from our hearts than our EP. We’re sure that our new songs will reveal this new chemistry and allow our fans and audience to see our vision even more clearly than before.


NM: Do you prefer playing to fans or people who have never heard of Side By Side?

Side By Side: We always love playing for our family and friends who have supported this band from the beginning. But we get a whole new sensation out of exposing new people to our music and picking up fans and friends along the way. As long as we’re playing music in front of people we tend to be very happy.


NM: What recreational things do you three do during downtime while touring? 

SBS: Finding new food in the area is always a priority and we’re nerds so lots of iPhone video games are played. Meeting the locals and sightseeing all these awesome places we get to go to are some of our favorite things as well. Getting new fans in unorthodox and old school ways is so much fun. [Mike and Joey] recently played beer pong with a group of college kids at a local bar to get them to the show in Philly. They came, and they brought friends. Worked like a charm.


NM: Only a year after the release of your debut album, the band was voted best unsigned musical act in the southeast by Billboard. How would you describe your experience with Billboard?


SBS: Literally a dream come true. We could go on and on about how amazing the experience was and how it’s open so many doors. Although playing Vegas to thousands of people has been a definite career highlight so far.


NM: Coming back from playing with the most trusted music trade magazine in the world, what would you say is the next step for the band?

SBS: Staying in that magazine! Exponentially growing our fanbase nationally and getting representation to put out our future releases and support future tours.

Patrick is a former Community Editor and A&E editor for the Niner Times. He is pursuing a Communications major with minors in Film Studies and Journalism at UNC Charlotte. Contact him at