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Mark Ballas and BC Jean are not just engaged, they're actively engaged in building their music careers. Together.
Ballas, best known as a professional on "Dancing With the Stars," and his fiancée are recording and touring as Alexander Jean a mashup of their middle names. (Her full name is Brittany Jean Carlson.)
And spending pretty much 24 hours a day together has "actually helped our relationship," Jean said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. "It's brought us closer together. We bring different strengths to the table."
"I think it's a really good balance when it comes to writing and recording," Ballas added.
The indie-pop duo brings its act to Salt Lake City on Friday, performing at the all-ages venue Billboard-Live!
Neither of them was looking for love or for a performing partner when they met at a singer/songwriter night in 2012. But they started dating; he began playing the guitar at her performances; she "jumped onstage" and started singing at his performances.
"We just had a natural chemistry," Ballas said, prompting them to start writing together. Their first song, "Head High," became the title track of their EP and the title of their tour.
"We just found that it was a unique sound," Jean said. "Nothing forced."
While Ballas may be best known for his dancing, music is nothing new for him. He's been playing the guitar and the drums since he was a kid, along with writing, arranging and producing.
He resists the idea that his success on "Dancing with the Stars" he's performed on 14 seasons and won twice should in any way pigeonhole him as a dancer. Or, worse yet, leave the impression that he's just dabbling in music.
"This is what I do. This is not a vanity project of any kind," he said. "The other stuff has nothing to do with this at all. If anything, it makes me stronger as a musician.
"When you see us performing live, you can't deny it. I've been playing for 20 years."
"And," Jean added, "I can see where his choreographer ability and his dance ability is only strengthening his music."
Ballas and Jean are touring as a duo just the two of them onstage, but he engineers the loop station, creating a much larger sound.
"You'd think there's four or five guys up there," Jean said. "It's pretty cool that the sound is that big with just two people up there."
Both admit to being "control freaks," but control freaks who collaborate.
"I think we know when to back down," Ballas said.
"There's never been a moment when we can't agree," Jean said. "If one of us is really passionate about something, the other can see that."
They're hoping this is the start of something big. They'd like to tour as the opening act for an established performer or band, then work their way up to headliners. They're working on their second EP, which they plan to record later this year.
"We're planning on making this the next chapter of our lives. Just keep pushing out music and content," Ballas said.
"This is just the beginning," Jean said.
The one thing they don't have planned out is their wedding.
"We're trying to find time, but we really don't have a lot of time to spare," Jean said. "We want to make it perfect. We'll do it eventually."
Alexander Jean in concert
When • Friday, July 15, 7 p.m.
Where • Billboard-Live!, 250 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $14 in advance, $16 day of the show at the box office, all Smith's Tix locations and smithstix.com.