After winning reality competition Boy Band, In Real Life is on the rise with their current single “Tattoo (How ‘Bout You).” We chatted about the band’s sound, blazing their own path through the industry, and what they’re looking forward to in their careers. Next, the band will be joining the first half of the American Idol Live! tour this summer, kicking the tour off on July 11th in Redding, CA and finishing on Aug. 10th in St. Louis, MO. Grab tickets to see them live!

Tell us a little about yourselves. Where are you each from?
Sergio: I’m 17 years old and I’m from Redwood City in California. I grew up singing in church and playing soccer, and I did that for a little over ten years. It wasn’t until 2015 that I decided to do music as a career and so I began to upload covers on youtube, sing on the street, and get any gig I could. Luckily, I was scouted online for Boy Band and it changed my life forever.
Brady: My name is Brady, and I’m from Shorewood, Wisconsin.
Michael: I’m from Cleveland Ohio.
Chance: I am from Seal Beach California.
Drew:  I’m from the Bronx, New York. I traveled a lot around with my mom as a kid, we moved to Miami, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada for a little bit.

How did the group form?
Sergio: The group was put together through a singing competition show named Boy Band that was on ABC last summer. We are the 5 winners of the show.

When did you first meet? What were your initial reactions?
Brady: We first met during the initial auditions, where there was about 50 guys. We were all pretty chill. None of us were that close at that point though because we were so focused on auditioning and doing well. It wasn’t until the show actually started that we became homies.

Were you all active as solo artists prior to In Real Life?
Sergio: I was definitely pursuing the solo music career. But opportunities like Boy Band are the ones you cannot leave out. Also, who wouldn’t want to be in a band if you had the opportunity to be in one? It’s lots of fun.
Brady: I wasn’t even really trying to be a singer. I sang but it was more for musical theater or classical songs. I never really thought about trying to be a recording artist. Obviously you have the dream as a kid, but I didn’t think it was realistic so I pursued acting.
Michael: I was heavily pursuing a solo career before the band. I put out a bunch of music videos, passed out CDs in my city and performed as much as I could just so I could get my name out there.
Chance: I tried being in another boy band called Boy Band Project when I was 16 but it didn’t work out.
Drew: I was actually singing in the subway in NYC, the shuttle between Times Square and grand central station. That was my income before the show.

How would you describe the sound of In Real Life?
Sergio: In Real Life definitely leans a lot towards Pop music. We’ve been recording lots of songs over the past couple of months and we are starting to mix in some Latin and R&B as well. Each of us have very different voices but when it comes to group singing, we tend to blend pretty well. The cool thing about us is that there is different types of tones and you get to hear that in our songs.
Chance: We haven’t decided on one distinct type of music, which is something that I think is great about us. We have songs with Latin vibes, songs that are straight pop, and songs with a little R&B. Everything we do is different, yet at the same time, still us.

With the rise of boy bands, how is the group creating a distinct sound and breaking the typical mold that fits boy bands?
Sergio: Like I said before, we are trying to incorporate everything that our group has. I speak Spanish fluently so reaching out to the Latin market is one of our goals, we have a rapper which puts us out into another market, and we mix those things together to create a unique sound. It’s really cool thinking about how diverse our group is, that’s what sets us apart.
Brady: We definitely have a pop vibe which is pretty typical for boy bands, but it’s mixed in with a lot of different influences. We definitely have lot of Latin influence in our music, and even some Spanish speaking in some songs. Then of course we have MC who adds a more urban vibe to our stuff as the rapper.
Michael: What sets us apart is the fact that we all come from different backgrounds and experiences. You can hear in our music how different each of our voices are.
Chance: There are a lot of different elements that make up our group. We have a classically trained singer, pop singer, Spanish speaker, rapper, R&B voice. Every time one person is singing you can instantly tell who that is. We bring our own taste to our songs.
Drew: We don’t really sit around and compare our sound to other boybands. We all have different elements that we bring to the band and we all want to use those elements to make good music.

What’s the story behind your recent single “Tattoo (How ‘Bout You)”? Take us through the songwriting and recording process.
Sergio: We got the song from a well-known song writer and Michael got to write his rap verse in it. It was one of the first ones that we recorded and that whole process was really fun. We all loved it so much and knew that this song had potential of being the next single. We really consider it our first single because it is the first one that we all agreed on putting out in the world.
Michael: I got the chance to write my own verse on that song which was a huge deal for me. I’ve always been a writer and the fact that I got to put my creative say into the record was a huge blessing.

What was the inspiration for the music video?
Michael: We wanted to incorporate the message of the song. It’s all about a relationship that you want to make last but it’s slowly withering away. You’re trying your hardest to keep it going but you don’t know what’s gonna happen.
Drew: We got treatments from several music video producers and that idea for the video was chosen.

Do you have a favorite show you’ve played so far?
Sergio: My favorite show so far has got to be our show in New York. We played to sold out shows back to back and their energy was insane. It was so special to us because those were our first shows in New York and we had an awesome first impression. We are definitely going back soon.
Brady: We did a show for WE Day, which is an organization that inspires people to make more of an effort to make a difference in the world. The crowd was mostly kids that were being honored for volunteering and stuff like that. When we came on, they all jumped out of their seats and ran to the stage. The energy was just so positive and it was for a really great cause so it was a great night overall.
Michael: One of the craziest shows we ever did was our first show as a band. We performed at Citywalk in Universal in front of around 1000 people and it was so overwhelming.
Chance: There are so many memorable show moments. I’m going to say my favorite performance was probably the Roxy. Everything about it was just so unreal. An iconic venue, with the most supportive fans, cheering and singing along. So incredible.
Drew: We’ve performed on so many shows whether it be Good Morning America or TRL, but my favorite recently is a WE Day performance. WE Day is a charity and we closed the show for them. It was so much fun because at the end confetti was falling and it reminded me of the day we became a band.

If you could play any venue in the world, which venue would you pick? Why?
Sergio: I would love to play at the Oracle Arena. It is one of the Bay Area’s most popular venues and it would be a dream come true to play that arena back at home.
Brady: Probably the BMO Harris Bradley Center. It’s a stadium in Milwaukee and I grew up going to it to see big artists and basketball games. Performing there would be unreal.
Michael: Obviously Madison Square Garden is the dream venue for any artist, but in addition to that we all dream of selling out an arena in each of our hometowns.
Chance: I’m not sure honestly. I want to play everywhere. Somewhere that I want to sell out one day with the guys is the Staples Center though, because that’s where I went to my first concert. Ed Sheeran.
Drew: I’d pick Madison Square Garden. I used to past there all the time and see big artist performing there and always told myself that one day I’d be performing there.

What are you all personally excited for in the band’s future?
Sergio: I am so excited to see us grow. We’ve been together for such a little time and everything’s happening so fast. We are really hooping to have the opportunity to perform at an award show this year, that would be such a big accomplishment for us. I can’t wait to tour with these guys and have an awesome career.
Brady: I think as we spend more time as a band, we are getting a clearer and clearer image of who we are as a band, and what we want to do. I think our new music is a great representation of us, and the message we are trying to relay to our fans. So I’m just really excited for our fans to hear it.
MC: I’m so excited to see how people react to our music, it’s not something you hear every day.
Chance: Touring and performing outside the country! I want to meet all our fans and see the world.
Drew: I’m most excited for our music. I just want whatever we put out in the world to be amazing and get people dancing. I hope we can do that with the music we release.

What’s a message you want to share with your fans?
Sergio: LIFELINES! We love you guys so much. Thank you for always being there for us. We appreciate all of the work you guys put in to supporting us and promoting us. We’re all in this together and it’s gonna be a great year, much love xx.
Brady: All we can say is thank you. Y’all voted for us and got us here, and we have been, and will work harder than we have in our whole lives as a thank you for all your support.
MC: We love you guys so much, thanks so much for supporting Tattoo, we have a lot more to come!
Chance: It may sound cliché, but everything we do is for you guys. Without you we wouldn’t have any reason to put out music, we wouldn’t have any reason to be working as hard as we do. We love you, and thank you.
Drew: We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our fans. They voted for us to be in this band and they work hard everyday to let us know that they appreciate us. We love you guys so much and we look forward to performing and releasing more music for you guys in the future.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

STORY ANNA ZHANG

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