Wonder Twins Take On Twin Cities


By Thea Gonzales


An original song written by Emily Matteson ft. Lily Matteson


Without seeing both of them together, one might be tempted to think that one girl managed to make several costume and personality changes back and forth to confuse everyone. Don’t be fooled: they’re just identical twins. When meeting them, one is immediately struck by how different they appear outwardly, with Lily as the gentler, more soft-spoken twin and Emily as the more outspoken, boisterous personality. This distinction is only rational given Lily’s preference for visual art and Emily’s for music. However, when examining the lives of both girls, it is apparent that they share the same genes: ones that hold a fascination with and talent for creating art.

As a student musician, senior Emily Matteson did not originally see herself as a soon-to-be virtuoso at several percussion instruments, the guitar, bass, ukulele, or even the mandolin when she first started. In fact, she thought she was going to go in a completely different direction until fate arrived in the form of a late registration.

“In middle school, I joined band and I was actually going to do French Horn, but my mom actually didn’t sign me up in time, so over the summer, I started playing more drums. The next year, I joined percussion for band. I had so much fun; I loved it so much. My teacher is probably the reason I kept doing it because she gave me so many opportunities to play drum set all year, so I got to play in church, I got to play at Northwestern’s solo ensemble and got a bunch of perfect scores because she helped me out so much and gave me all this awesome music to play, so she played a huge role in me sticking with music, and I just loved my whole experience in middle school with her,” Emily said.

The Matteson Clan is one that includes Lily and Emily’s parents, their brother Nick, their older sister Molly, and a seventh member of the family: art. When growing up in the Matteson household, the love and pursuit of art is one that is cultivated from childhood into a lifelong friend.

“My dad is very creative: he’s a musician, and he’s also really good at art. I’d say that my parents always encouraged me and my siblings to be very creative. They support us in everything that we want to do and encourage us — instead of watching TV– to do more creative things. We always have resources to do creative stuff. There are instruments all over the house, and there’s always stuff to do that is artistic,” Lily said.

This passion toward creating art has even found a home in the twins’ youngest sibling, sophomore Nick Matteson, who draws inspiration from his sisters and uses it in his own creative process.

“I think [family] really influences me in many different ways. I take art classes and I’m really into graffiti art because when I was younger, I always watched Lily draw and paint; I always thought it was really cool, and I knew I wanted to do it. I also play the bass because of my dad and Emily. When I was younger, my dad used to try and teach us all drums, and Emily got it right away. I always wanted to play an instrument, and seeing Emily being good at almost every instrument she touches, I decided to pick up the bass, and I decided to stick with it,” Nick said.

Much like anyone who is exceptional at what they do, the Matteson twins make it look easy. Though it may seem that way on the outside, what most people don’t see is the countless hours of observing and practicing that good art requires, including making a portfolio, writing essays, and composing the scores for three original songs in order to apply at their respective colleges.

“Art is a lot of commitment. You have to commit a lot of time to finish a piece, and sometimes it takes a long time, so I always have make sure I set aside time to make art no matter what. It is hard to balance sometimes. But something that inspires me a lot is my classmates and friends in art, because seeing how amazing their art is and how talented they all are makes me want to work hard on my own projects,” Lily said.

Senior Lily Matteson works on a skateboard for her brother during second period AP studio art. Photo by Shannon McHugh

As one who spends time with Lily in her element every day, junior Daniella Thach sees her as a work of art: a true friend who always makes time to have fun.  

“I met Lily in advanced studio art class last year through a mutual friend and we’d always sit in the same corner of the art room. I remember us bonding over recommending songs to each other and watching strange music videos, which later progressed to us going to concerts with our pals. We have this inside joke in art that Lily is the epitome of a ‘smol bean’ — always happy and carefree. She’s the sweetest person ever. I’m so appreciative that I can call Lily one of my closest ‘frens,'” Thach said.

Called “the wonder twins” by some of their friends, Lily and Emily plan to take on the twin cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the very near future, studying music and art, respectively, at McNally Smith College of Music and Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). Though many would worry about them becoming starving artists or question their decisions to pursue art in a society that values high-paying and consistent jobs, Lily and Emily Matteson gave nearly identical answers.”I don’t care if it’s impractical or unconventional: it’s just what I want to do. I’ve got one life to do what I want, so I’m going to do what I love to do. Even if I’m not widely successful, I’m going to keep playing music for the rest of my life because I know that’s what I know I want to do. It’s what I love,” Emily said.

“Who cares if it’s practical or not? If it’s what you love doing, then do it. You only have one life to live, to do what you want, to do what you love– so why not just go for it? And then just see what happens,” Lily said.

To underclassmen who might want to pursue a career in the arts, Emily offers the following piece of advice:

“If you love it, keep doing it. Don’t stop. Even if you just start out and you don’t have a great time, just stick with it. When I first joined marching band, I hated it and actually quit when I was a freshman and rejoined when I was a sophomore. Now, it’s my favorite activity. Even if it doesn’t seem like you’ll like it at first, stick to it, because sometimes things can end up being wonderful,” Emily said.