NXTGEN is a trio consisting of Cian Gleeson, Joel Healey and Sonny Hardman. They are best known for competing on the eighth series of ‘The Voice UK’ where they were coached by will.i.am and managed to place eighth in the competition. They were formerly known as ‘Yes Lad’, who as a 5 piece appeared on X Factor in 2016.
Amy took the opportunity to speak with NXTGEN about their new single release, ‘Sucka 4 Love, their 2020 plans and working with will.i.am.
Hi Guys, thank you for talking to us today, how are you?
All: We’re very good thank you, getting ready for the release of our new single!
For people who don’t know, How long have you been together as a band?
Cian: It’s been close to a year, as we were previously a 5 piece called ‘Yes Lad’. It’s flown by. This band is pretty new.
You auditioned on the voice in January of this year, what made you decide to audition?
Joel: when Yes Lad came to an end, we split up for about a month but we still spoke, the voice was accepting trials as a trio for the first time. Me, Sonny and Cian have always been mates, we knew each other before Yes Lad. We thought why not, we have nothing to lose. We came down to the producer’s audition and then got the blind audition and got further and further into the show. As a trio, we hadn’t sung that much and I think the voice was our first proper time singing as a 3 piece. There were positive reactions to the audience. It has been a mad ride.
You auditioned with the song ‘Cry Me A River’. What made you choose that for your audition song?
Cian: We are all massive Justin Timberlake fans. He has had a long, successful career. He came from a band like us. I remember listening to it on CD, the Justified’ album, and it had so many hits, It’s a good song, we wanted our audition to be upbeat to get a chair and have energy. We always think you perform a song better when you like the song.
Can you tell me a bit about the voice journey and what it was like to work with will.i.am?
Sonny: It was a leap of faith. Not knowing what was going to come of it. in our minds, we were a big believer in the secret. Sonny has told us the secret of what the band believe: “putting positive vibes into the universe, then you will get positivity, the law of attraction”. We always put our minds to everything we have done. We got to the semi-finals, released a song with will.i.am, he flew us out to LA and recorded a video. We have done bigger things now and it’s been a great journey.
That was surreal. we sat on originals, we have been writing for 4 years, we sent him a folder of songs and he liked ‘Embrace’. He wanted to produce it and it was such a surreal moment. he tweaked it and make it edgier, he reproduced it and wanted to add a rap to it, we filmed the music video the day after, it was a mad week!
Would you say coming out of ‘The Voice’ has given you more opportunities?
Cian: Yeah defiantly, without the voice we would of never of met Will. We are signed with him now, he has given us so much. we have gone to LA, written an album, shot 10 music videos in California and LA. We’re getting ready for 2020 and performing live, releasing new songs. He re-lived the dream, Yes Lad came to an end, we were about to give up. When someone like him believes in you, it boosted our confidence. We had a lot of opportunities too from him.
You put a lot of covers up on YouTube, ‘Perfect’ being your recent cover, what’s one of your favourite covers? when do you release them?
We’ve done a lot of covers and ‘Senorita’ was one of our favourites. We’ve done Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber. Every week (usually on a Friday) we post one up on our socials. We are also getting into our tiktoks and doing daft videos on there.
How do you decide which songs to cover?
Joel: we look at what is popular and the 1d cover – everyone’s a big fan of them and we want to emulate their success. The Meghan Trainor cover was my favourite ‘Wave’. She showed us that song, we’ve gotta cover this. Getting an idea. Make sure it is good in harmony and we focus on the harmonies, then we build it on the harmonies from there.
New single ’Sucka 4 Love’ comes out on the 29th November, how excited are you for the release?
Cian: Very excited, we love to release new music and see people’s reactions. What excites us is gaging what people like and don’t like. We wrote a lot of songs in LA and London from ideas from us and Will. We love doing that and finding a sound. We like to experiment.
We’re not doing major releases, putting the feelers out. A couple of big releases coming out next year. Slowly getting the music out.
Is ’Sucka 4 Love’ different from your previous releases?
Sonny: Very different. In the studio for weeks and experimenting with different sounds and melodies. We were talking about our influences, such as hip-hop, I’m into my Tupac and we were having a chat. Will already had a beat created to it, it started off as a jokey way and chancing lyrics. It has a distinctive instrumental, ‘I’m a sucka 4 love’. It got stuck in our heads. It is a cool story of falling in love with someone, not knowing if they feel the same way. We went down the route of crazy instrumentals of iPhone ringtones. We love being in the studio.
Tell us a bit about the process of recording ‘Sucka 4 Love’?
Sonny: we sat down and we were recently in the studio with Meghan Trainor and she was saying tell me some funny/sad stories. It always kinds of stems from there. We get all our ideas out and things we’ve been through. The hardest bit is starting it, but once we have it rolls from there. We have all been writers and Will’s an incredible writer. 2 weeks we have thought of 20 songs. We are always writing, today we have a little guitar and got a loop.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your favourite lyric in the new single?
All: Will liked this part too: ’Sucka 4 Love’ is loving this girl and she doesn’t love you back, so you are doing stupid stuff. “I know there is other fish in the sea, but I can’t see them, because I’m in too deep.” When you’re in too deep, you are blind in love and deep in the sea, further in the sea, there are not a lot of fish, and we don’t want crabs!
Will there be a video to accompany ‘Sucka 4 Love’?
Cian: We shot it out in LA in a desert. That was cool. Where we recorded the video, it’s overcast, a lot of hills. It doesn’t even look like LA, it looks like a totally different country. It was a fun video to shoot, it’s like a film, you’ll see it when it comes out. Every song we put out there will always have a video to accompany it.
What are your fans reactions to the new single announcement?
Cian: We didn’t put a massive announcement out. We got in a bit of trouble for it, as we thought it was going to be pushed back. It has been very good, very supportive. Excited as always, we are excited to see and hear what they think of it. We like to tease people, we say keep your eye out for Friday and it gets people more excited for it, as they don’t know what’s coming out and questioning.
Any show/tour plans in the works?
Cian: Some discussions, I can’t say too much. Particularly for next year, however, UK definitely at some point. Looking to go back to the States, do our own tour or support act for a big artist. Can’t say too much, but a few conversations with people. Keep an eye out guys!!
You were recently in the studio with Megan Trainor, what is she like to work with and can you tell us what is coming up with Meghan?
Joel: Meghan was the nicest person. We have met lovely people in the industry. We were surprised how normal she was and she’s so talented. Full of ideas and fun to be around. You can have a laugh with her. Genuine and down to earth girl. It was her idea and introduced to her by Will and she invited us to the studio, out came a song we all liked. We’ll be in the studio with her again. there will be something coming with Meghan Trainor next year!
Dream place to perform?
Sonny: Ethiad stadium – I am a Manchester City fan. We would like to do stadiums and arenas. Always been a dream for us to sell out an arena show in Manchester, as it’s our home town and we have been there, watching our favourite artists, so headlining at Manchester arena would be a dream to come true. I didn’t know this, one of the bigger arenas you can perform in Europe.
Travelling and performing in different countries (America and Asia) seeing different sights. We want to go to China like one direction, they are from the UK, to go to the country so far away, so we would love to do that!
Proudest moment in 2019?
Sonny: Not giving up because we were close to getting full-time jobs and going back to reality, pushing through and making our dreams become a reality.
Plans for 2020?
Cian: Release more music, come back to the states. We can’t say too much, there is some cool music coming, collaborations with some people. Next year, we have done a lot of groundwork this year, getting out there and doing some shows such as supporting act and doing our own tours.
Over the next couple of weeks, doing some school tours. Next year will be spent a lot of time on the road, an exciting year!
Watch the video for ‘Sucka 4 Love’:
Hear more from NXTGEN HERE.