They may have been sharpening claws on Twitter with One Direction, the other Brit boy band they’re always compared with, but The Wanted, who ushered Singapore into 2014 on national TV, are perfect gentlemen when it comes to their fans.
Best known for catchy hits like “Glad You Came” and “Walks Like Rihanna”, The Wanted’s works are familiar to all except those living under a rock.
Like other famous boy bands, Nathan Sykes, Maximillian “Max” George, Siva Kaneswaran, James “Jay” McGuiness and Thomas “Tom” Parker, are good-looking, fashionably rugged young lads, who cause fan girls to lose their minds if not their underwear.
Hailing from the country known for tea and crumpets, the lads are always compared to One Direction, yet another set of 5 handsome boys from 2010’s X-Factor. With so many similarities, it’s no wonder that friction exists between the 2 bands, spilling over to a spat on Twitter.
“At the end of the day though, it’s just words. It doesn’t really affect us. It’s not like we’re friends and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘You stabbed me in the back!”, shares Jay in an interview with Glamour magazine in 2012.
Funnily enough, this quintet is thoroughly unfazed by the competition from the cookie-cutter boys next door, “There’s not much competition with One Direction when it comes to screaming girls. We have a lot more 19-year-old screaming men,” Siva joked in an article found on Capital FM back in 2012..
UrbanWire caught the 5 familiar faces during a press conference at Regent Singapore on Dec 30, before the nationally televised year-end countdown party with MediaCorp.
With hot looks and charm in abundance, the guys well deserve the adulation of fans. But just in case you haven’t been won over, UrbanWire dishes out 6 reasons why the band’s so wanted by fans.
1. Iron-willed determination
Front man Nathan received generous support from fans all around the world when he underwent throat surgery for vocal problems in April 2013. Mediacorp’s TV50 in Singapore had the band performing a staggering 12 songs for their fans, seeming like a full-blown concert, their first time back here after the surgery.
The smashing hits from their new album Word Of Mouth got the crowd ecstatic, going by their continuous cheering. Post-op, Nathan was once again his playful self, quipping that because he “couldn’t drink in America” due to his age, he might as well have surgery. His fighting spirit, optimistic outlook and sense of humor must have helped him rise back up so quickly.
He says during the press conference, “Everything happens for a reason. And I’m a “glass is always half full kind of guy’”.
2. Masters of flirting
Despite receiving critical recognition for their albums, hitting number one on the Ireland Singles Top 100, UK Singles Top 75 and US Airplay Top 100 with “Glad You Came” and having collaborated with Pitbull and LMFAO before, they’re surprisingly down to earth. The boys share a good sense of humor and have a knack for coming up with teasing comments.
The lads were brazenly dropping flirtatious remarks when quizzed on the message behind their popular hit. “Walks Like Rihanna” has obviously made reference to the Barbados superstar, which led MediaCorp 987FM DJ Rozz who hosted the session to ask, “Who apart from Rihanna walks best like Rihanna?” Nathan didn’t even blink before replying, “You.” Taking the cue, Rozz showed off her splashy catwalk, to the contentment of the boys.
Elaborating, Jay chimes in, “A girl who has that attitude that Rihanna has. You could have a limp and still have the attitude that (she) has. It’s just about someone who’s got that special something, someone like you”.
3. Totally honest
If you’re dying to see the boys more frequently on our island, don’t even think of bringing them durians.
Jay seems totally appalled by it, as he remarks candidly, “You’re the freaks.” When prompted by Nathan, Jay sums up the taste of the locally-beloved thorny fruit into 3 words, “Feet. Armpit. Vomit.”
However, 2013 was also a year of giving for the lads. They lent a helping hand to the Enough Food for Everyone’s IF campaign, in the hope of ending world hunger. Together with One Direction (finally something the two can agree on), Orlando Bloom and Rita Ora, the popular faces appeared on a video to advise fans on solutions that’d help end the crisis together.
They’ve also encouraged their posse of fans to show their support for abandoned puppies by adopting one loving pup at The Manchester & Cheshire Dogs’ Home.
Tom also shares during the press con that visiting Great Orange Tree, a children’s hospital in the UK, was an “amazing experience” and the smiles he was able to put on the children’s faces had him strangely satisfied. Do we hear a string of “awws”?
4. They understand what’s important
Touring the world does have its downsides, especially when you have to be away from home on major holidays. The boys normally spend New Year’s Eve in the arms of loved ones, as Jay jokes, “our family only knows us now with Photoshop and through the lens”, thanks to their popularity in the media and how they’re portrayed. Naturally, these holidays, viewed by most as a day of rest, are gems to them.
This time, counting down the New Year in Singapore has been more welcoming for Siva, whose uncle lives here. Siva shares that he’s “really excited and just want tomorrow to come” to spend time with his family.
The hype around New Year isn’t complete without making a resolution or two. Though the members aren’t big on making wishes, Jay says, “If there’s an opportunity for you to try and improve yourself, why not go for it? If it happens to be the day of the year everyone else decides to, there’s nothing wrong with that. Conform.”
5. Celebrating New Year with fans
Despite coming from different backgrounds – Siva with his modeling gigs, Max as the professional soccer junkie and Nathan busying himself with karaoke and talent contests – the chemistry between the mates was nonetheless evident and the bond, never stronger.
When quizzed on their regrets in 2013, Jay confessed that on a night out with Max, he was embarrassed when the latter shaved off half of his long golden locks.
Nonetheless, the members are thankful for the fans’ support. “I couldn’t think of a better way to finish 2013 than being here with all you wonderful people and in a country that we absolutely adore,” Max says sincerely, drawing agreement from every member.
6. Fans, “I Found You’”
The ‘”prisoners” – a nickname Tom suggested for the band’s adoring fans – aren’t shy about showing off their love for the boys as they received a pretty poster with the lyrics to their song (I Found You) – “Our hearts go boom boom boom!” But what’ll leave you teary-eyed is catching on the fans’ love during the Capital Summertime Ball 2013.
Nathan rejoined his team back on stage after recovering from surgery to belt out his solo in I Found You. He was, safe to say, soaking in the love from fans, his blissfulness in coming back evident from the glint in his eyes.
Jay, the chatterbox during the media session, shares that for local “prisoners”, it’s “the soul” of the fans that keeps the band coming back for the fourth time. It’s also their first time as a band being away from their homeland on New Year’s Eve. They obviously recognize how tough it is for overseas fans to see them often at concerts, etc.
Jay must have won even more hearts when he says, “Thanks for always being so patient. We know that being far away from you, it makes it difficult to get one-on-one access, but hopefully like the way we feel, when it just happened, it makes it more special. We love you to pieces.”
Photos Courtesy of Isaiah Cheng & Aida Johan