By Sherif Badr
Lucas Teague sings R&B songs that will make your heart melt - think Boyz II Men or Jagged Edge, but more diverse. In fact, having opened for Boyz II Men and made a deal in Japan, Lucas Teague practically is Canada's Boyz II Men and they have much love for Toronto. Richard Fausto and the team tells us what success has been like, from opening for rock stars to becoming them.
What was it like opening for Boyz II Men?
It was craaaazy! Boyz II Men are like our mentors, our teachers. Their music is essentially what got us to want to be in a group. So being able to share the stage with them was absolutely thrilling, and also unbelievably nerve wracking knowing that they were listening to us do our thing. *laughs* We got the chance to meet them after the show and they gave us really great feedback and advice. The whole experience was a dream come true for us. They are truly awesome fellas.
I heard you just struck a deal in Japan, can you tell us about that?
Yea, it’s a really amazing story. Sometime last year, we received a comment on one of our of YouTube videos from a guy asking us to contact him if we were interested in a record deal in Japan. We didn’t think much of it as we get numerous offers like that that end up not amounting to anything serious. Not long after, the guy contacted us on Facebook and it turned out to be from Daisuke Imai, a really prominent producer in Japan. He had been following us on YouTube for quite a while and decided to reach out to us. From there, he got us signed to Avex Music Group, which is the biggest record label out there. It’s been awesome working with them so far and we see very big things ahead for this project.
Could you have foreseen your success in Japan and Europe?
To tell you the truth, we’re actually not surprised at all. Ever since we started out uploading vids to YouTube years ago, we’ve been getting great response from fans from those markets. It just seems like people out there are more open to new music, and actually go searching for new artists to listen to (even unsigned acts). From a marketing perspective, we also think it’s due to the diverse cultural make-up of our group (Filipino, Haitian, and Caucasian) that we are able to appeal to these markets.
You guys are both a boy band and in the R&B genre, do you feel like you’re a dying breed?
Like we said earlier, success for these types of acts (groups/boy bands) in North America comes in waves. They never die. As long as there are girls listening and buying music, there will always be a demand for guy groups. We’re just waiting for the next wave to come in. In the meantime, we’re lucky that we’re getting opportunities in other markets like Japan.
What are the challenges of being in a group in today’s music industry overpowered by solo artists?
The music industry in North America works in waves, just like fashion. Right now, solo acts are the “in thing” and groups are trying to make a comeback. The challenge we face right now is getting labels to take a chance on us, to step to the left and push the project enough to pioneer the next wave of success for music groups. So for all the groups out there, hang in there! It’s coming so be ready!
How are your fans different in Japan vs North America?
Our fans in Japan are absolutely awesome! Not to knock our fans in North America because we love them too, but we find that Japanese fans in general differ in that they are more open when it comes to music, as mentioned earlier. They don’t seem to have any preconceived ideas about what is considered “in” or “cool”. They’re into all kinds of different music from all around the world. Some don’t even fully understand the words to our tracks, but they like it. From what we’ve been told about Japanese fans, it is often the imagery, the mood, and style of the music and most importantly the personality of the artists that appeal to them. And lastly, as Boyz II Men have also noted to us, Japanese fans are extremely loyal. True fans for life.
Who are your inspirations?
Where do we begin? Definitely groups like Boyz II Men, Jagged Edge, New Edition. We’re also really into Brandy, Imogen Heap, and Chris Brown for their interesting melodies and harmonies.
We grew up on 90’s R&B. It’s in our blood, and it’s what we know and love; the soulfulness, the vulnerability, the harmonies, and the beats. We love the range of emotions we can express through this genre of music and how it’s been able to evolve in a way that has allowed artists to infuse elements of pop, rock, alternative, etc. It gives you so many possibilities to create and experiment.
What’s the coolest collaboration you’ve ever done?
Well, a few years ago, after the devastating earthquake that happened in Haiti, the YouTube music community came together to cover “We Are the World.” And we were fortunate enough to have been able to take part in it. A very cool idea for a great cause that got a lot of exposure worldwide.
For all those aspiring singers out there, here are a few things we've learned along the way that we'd like to impart to you:
Music is a business!
If you are choosing to enter into the music biz, don't forget that it is indeed business. So it's important that you educate yourself on the business end of things (royalties, publishing, management, the works!)
Expand your scope of expertise in order be more self-sufficient!
For singers, it's good to learn how to write and arrange your own songs, as well as music production. The more you can do for yourself, the better.
Create your own style and identity!
It's great to learn and take from other artists, but it's important to develop your own personal style in order to create something new and fresh. Don't go copying whatever's out there. If people want to hear JT, they'll just listen to JT...not you *laughs*
Be proactive and market yourself!
You can't wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Use social media (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) and people in your community to make contacts happen and to search for and create opportunities to make yourself more visible.
Always look to improve your skill, and develop thick skin!
Welcome feedback from others. This will give you insight on what you need to work on as an artist. But know the difference between helpful criticism and what is plain hatin'. Lol Haters are gonna hate...
Master your craft...
Practice, practice, practice.
Good luck to you all!
Glad to know Lucas Teague.
photos: ADARNA Photography