PRETTYMUCH Is the Next Boy Band of Your Dreams: Interview
With One Direction on hiatus, Simon Cowell has had his eyes set for his next project. And he found some musical magic in Austin Porter (19, Charlotte, North Carolina), Brandon Arreaga (17, Corinth, Texas), Edwin Honoret (18, Bronx, New York), Nick Mara (19, Manalapan, New Jersey) and Zion Kuwonu (18, Ottawa, Canada).
After making names for themselves as musicians in their hometowns, the boys came together in New York and Los Angeles, and began finding perfect harmonies. Now, PRETTYMUCH are ready to share new single "Would You Mind" and a performance on The 2017 Teen Choice Awards, airing on August 13 on FOX. PopCrush caught up with the guys in the midst of their whirlwind rise to pop stardom.
Let's start at the beginning. How did you guys get into music in your hometowns?
Brandon: When I was younger, I built a studio and started producing and writing. I was doing it by myself on YouTube and had a few friends doing it and learned a lot from them. Music eventually became one of my favorite things to do.
Edwin: I started singing in school with my friends. It became a hobby. Then I started making YouTube videos and that became a hobby, too. I fell in love.
Zion: I had these two friends that rapped who were looking for a singer for one of their songs. All the girls at school liked the song; so I just kept it going once I realized it was a way to help me talk to girls.
Nick:I [I was] originally was a dancer and really liked dancing, but at the same time, I liked singing. [I] didn’t really think I was any good and just did it for fun. After a while I put my mind to it and realized I really loved singing, too.
Austin: I originally liked dancing as a hobby and eventually started recording music. From there, I made YouTube videos and have been singing since.
You were brought together by Simon Cowell. Talk about your first meeting. Did you guys all quickly vibe after walking through that door?
Edwin: Yeah, we kind of just vibed right off the bat. I mean, obviously when you live together and you get put together, you have to make things work. After about three or four months, we started to figure out each other out, our strengths and weaknesses. And we made it work. Now we are a brotherhood.
What's it like working with Simon Cowell and his record label?
Nick: Simon is a boss.
Edwin: We love working with SYCO and Columbia and the team.
Brandon: They really give us the freedom to be creative and help guide us through the process.
What's harder getting your harmonies in check or making sure the dancing is clean? Why?
Brandon: The dancing because we are all different heights and some of us have had more training than others. We just spend hours making sure we are on the same page and have the choreography down. It’s the most tiring. Don’t get me wrong, vocal harmonies are a challenge, too, cause you have to make sure the blend is right.
Who are some of the boy bands you look up to?
Backstreet Boys, BOYZ II MEN, One Direction.
Who would you like to get into the studio with?
Edwin: Frank Ocean
Zion: Chance the Rapper
Austin: Paul McCartney
Brandon: Michael Jackson, if he was still here.
Where did the group name come from?
It came from an inside joke from Zion. He had this voice he used to do with his friends and one of the words he kept saying was pretty much, it just stuck with us, PRETTYMUCH.
How do you feel about the comparisons to One Direction?
Brandon: We feel honored to be compared to One Direction. They are legends. We are just starting out; and we are having fun, learning, dancing and making music. It would be incredible to get a bit of the success they've had.
What's PRETTYMUCH's summer plans?
Brandon: Make music perform live and have fun.
Nick: Be lit.
Edwin: Yeah, make more music and it's hot. So wear sunscreen.
Austin: ...and don’t sweat a lot.
Zion: ...and drink a lot of water.
When will we get to hear more new music?
Zion: Very, very soon. We just performed a new song, "Open Arms" at the PANDORA Songs of Summer show.
Austin: We’ll be performing new music at our upcoming shows.
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