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Wilson Phillips' String Theory

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Wilson Phillips' String Theory

Frederick M. Brown, photographer

Wilson Phillips will perform with the San Diego Symphony as part of the annual Summer Pops outdoor concert series.

In her twenty years as one-third of the vocal trio Wilson Phillips, Carnie Wilson hasn’t quite played a show like the one the trio is about to play with the San Diego Symphony.

“I think its gonna be absolutely exquisite,” Wilson raves. “Anytime we’ve recorded the orchestral-type things on our records they turn out really beautiful. It's going to really change the whole vibe of our live show.”

Wilson and her cohorts, sister Wendy Wilson and Chyna Phillips, will perform with the San Diego Symphony as part of the annual summer concert series Summer Pops. The San Diego Symphony will serve as Wilson Phillips' full backing band. However, Wilson feels it's the opposite.

“I feel like we’re there to serve the orchestra,” says Wilson. “String instruments have always made me emotional. When we’ve had string sessions on our records I always wanted to sit in the room while they play."

Fans can expect a new spin on Wilson Phillips’ signature sound with a straightforward delivery of their hits as well as cuts from their latest release, Dedicated. The album pays homage to their parents’ musical accomplishments (since Wilson Phillips features the daughters of Beach Boy Brian Williams and Mamas and the Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips) with a selection of covers of songs the women feel are part of their souls. Wilson is especially eager to hear how their Dedicated tracks will sound with the support of the symphony.

“It will be interesting to hear the life these harmonies will get with the orchestra involved,” she says. “I think we’ll see some stripped-down versions of these songs and see them become more colorful with the orchestra, especially ‘God Only Knows’ with some of the prettiest quotations.”

Since the release of their 1990 self-titled debut, Wilson Phillips have reached a certain iconic pop-culture status, as evidenced by their cameo performance of the smash hit “Hold On” in last summer’s blockbuster Bridesmaids. Wilson has a hard time believing it's been over twenty years since the band began releasing music together. With so many horror stories about girl groups gone wrong, Wilson Phillips have managed to keep it fresh and, more importantly, continue to like each other.

“I think it's the love for each other and the love of the music,” Wilson states. “I think we’re always meant to sing together and I think that we’re lucky to have the people that surround us be so supportive.”

Wilson also emphasizes the importance of embracing each other's creative strengths as a way to keep their relationship fresh. “[In the past] we all felt we needed to be equal but now we appreciate bringing our individual qualities together.”

Still, the Summer Pops show will be an all-new opportunity and experience for the trio, and Wilson can barely contain her excitement.

“This is the most unique thing we’ve done so far as Wilson Phillips,” she says. “I look at this as being a very spiritual experience. I am gonna need to keep it together -- it’s very intense for me.”

Wilson Phillips shows as part of Summer Pops will take place on Friday, Aug. 17 and Saturday, Aug. 18 at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

For tickets, visit the symphony's website at http://www.sandiegosymphony.com

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