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Emily Saliers, left, and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls.Taylor Jewell / AP

‘Barbie’ brought new fans to the Indigo Girls’ discography. Why the duo calls it a ‘miracle’

Almost four decades into their partnership, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers explain what keeps them going.

/ Source: TODAY

Emily Saliers, one half of the Indigo Girls, saw "Barbie" on opening weekend in Denmark's Faroe Islands, located between Iceland and the U.K.'s Shetland Islands.

The theater was nearly sold out, so she and her family had to reserve three separate seats. She knew a song she wrote would be featured in the film, but she had no idea how the song would be used.

To her surprise, the Indigo Girls song "Closer to Fine" was played not once, but three times.

"It was really surreal, because I'm sitting there by myself in the theater, and they're a much more quiet audience than an American audience — at least they were that day. It was kind of surreal and really exciting at the same time," Saliers says in an interview with

"Closer to Fine" is more than just a track playing in the background. The song acts as Barbie's (Margot Robbie) road trip music as she travels from her "world of plastic" to the real world, symbolizing her quest for meaning. Whenever she starts driving, the song plays automatically, like she has to listen.

"I couldn't believe it was in the movie as much as it was. And even more exciting than that was the fact that it was part of the story, and used purposefully in context with the meaning of the film," Saliers says.

Amy Ray, the Indigo Girls' other half, chimes in, saying the movie "hits the nail on the head" when it comes to the song's meaning.

"The song is about to start when you search for all these things," she says, just like Barbie on her existential quest toward a deeper, and more complicated, authenticity.

Writer and director Greta Gerwig has said that the Indigo Girls were an influence on her growing up.

“‘Closer to Fine’ is just one of those songs that meets you where you are, wherever you are. It has spoken to me throughout my life, like a novel you revisit," Gerwig told the New York Times for an article published in August 2023.

Saliers says she tries not to think too hard about what her music may inspire or instill in people — whether it's "Barbie" or elsewhere.

"I know people have told us about how the music plays in their lives, but I don't feel ownership over it. Music has been very powerful force in my own life. So I know how that happens," she tells

But it's different when it's her own music.

"There's a little bit of a distance. If, in fact, our music is really helping people navigate the difficulties of life or even enjoying the joy of life, I'm really, really grateful for that," she says.

Together since the '80s, the rock duo from Atlanta is known for their spiritual, searching lyrics, combined with haunting harmonies. They're also prominent for their political activism: Both Ray and Saliers are lesbians and have spoken out (and sung about) gay rights, environmental issues, rights of indigenous Americans, abolishing the death penalty and more.

Soon, their legacy will be explored in a documentary, "Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All," out in theaters on April 10. It's title is fittingly inspired by the lyrics of "Closer to Fine."

After more than 35 years, the Indigo Girls say "Barbie" has helped them be introduced to a new generation, and it's just the beginning. The new movie musical “Glitter & Doom” uses Indigo Girls songs to tell a love story.

At the airport the other day, Saliers says she ran into a longtime fan who says her daughter, post "Barbie," listens to their music.

"I was like, 'That's a miracle,'" Saliers says.

In a volatile industry, the duo's long-lasting relationship has been a constant for fans old and new — and for each other.

"We came up together through elementary school and high school. Our families know each other. We stayed in our community. It keeps you honest, in a way, and holds you to a standard of humanity," Ray says. "Same management our whole career. Same booking agent our whole career. All those things stabilize you as an artist and help you stay together."

Ray says her dad likes to tell her, "The magic is in the Indigo Girls," attributable to the perfect pairing of Ray and Saliers.

When asked to name each other’s gifts, Ray says Saliers is “just a great songwriter” with a “great sense of melody.”

“She knows how to put her finger on the pulse of what people are going to relate to and sing along,” Ray continues.

Saliers says Ray has a "visceral power" with a "great ear" that allows for "range of songwriting, from a really rock song to a beautiful ballad."

"We fit really well together. And as a human being, I could say a million, trillion things," she says.

There are three parts to their relationship: Ray, Saliers and the meld that is the Indigo Girls.

"We try to remember that. It's a third entity, like when you're married and the marriage is an entity," Ray says. "We try to respect it and not mess it up."