The band Haim — composed of three sisters from the Valley — rocketed to stardom this year, topped by a recent Saturday Night Live performance.
Just like we predicted!
As is now legend, their mother Donna and father Moti got them into music, leading the three girls playing '50, '60s and '70s songs cover songs in a band called Rockinhaim.
They traveled around Southern California in a white minivan nicknamed the “Shaggin' Wagon.”
The girls' backgrounds have been chronicled to death by now, but Donna, a dynamo real estate agent to whom her daughters give much credit for their success, is story-worthy herself. So here's her story.
Donna grew up just outside of Philadelphia, becoming obsessed with a used guitar her mother got her at age 13. After visiting L.A. she fantasized about living here, and eventually studied art history at UCLA and acquired her teaching credential. She filled her time teaching art, working at an art gallery and giving guitar lessons. She met Moti at a friend's house in 1982, bonded over their love of music, and married two years later.
Their family band came together rather spontaneously. Initially, Donna and Moti had a band together, called Boomerang, which included some of their friends. “We did Club Med vacations where we were the house band,” Donna imparts. When that group faded, Moti decided to start a band with their children — which was odd considering that their youngest, Alana, was four, and none of them played much in the way of instruments.
“He said, 'Don't worry.' The next day he went out and bought the girls instruments and we started working on songs,” says Donna.
As for her own career, eventually, encouraged by a friend, Donna began segueing into real estate, studying the discipline by night. Though she felt more like an artist, she discovered she had a knack for real estate and liked being her own boss. Soon Moti, who already had his contractor's license, joined her and they have worked together ever since.
Their business caters to “creative types,” which you can tell from their website, which features Donna rocking the eff out on guitar and Moti on drums. (Their motto: “Music to your ears…SOLD!”)
The Haim family has lived in the same Valley Village house for almost 20 years. The popularity of Haim, the group, has brought their parents new clients. “People seek us out because they are Haim fans,” Donna says. “Sometimes people don't say it right away, but then after we meet them something comes up and they say, 'By the way, we are huge Haim fans.'”
During the interview, she's preparing to leave for London to meet her daughters on tour. “I remember the first time they played England and I was in the wings. The audience was singing the lyrics along with the girls and I was crying and they were crying and that was an awesome moment.”
She would like to emphasize, however, that she is not a stage mom.
“We're realtors first and foremost. We're not on the payroll for Haim, so we're still out there working. If we can jump on a tour and it works in our schedule, we go.”
As to her own musical chops, Donna admits she doesn't play very often anymore. “But,” she says, “If you hand me a guitar, I could play 'Mustang Sally' flawlessly.”
See also: Our Haim cover story
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