Say hello to Hometown
Could these six lads be the new One D? Louis Walsh thinks so
Louis Walsh is beaming. It’s not because he has finally received his X Factor contract (he tells me it is in the post), but because the six young boys forming a human pyramid in front of him have just signed an exclusive record contract with RCA in London. The deal involves producing a debut album by Christmas and, he hopes, will ultimately give the music manager his third successful boy band.
‘People still sneer at boy bands,’ says Walsh. ‘Honestly, there is a snobbery in the music world. But the fact of the matter is that there is a market for Hometown. These six guys can all sing and they can perform and they have something special. They are not Westlife or One Direction. They are something completely different but they are talented and hardworking and I am excited.’
Walsh auditioned more than 1,000 young
‘I have that same excited feeling I had with Westlife’
hopefuls for his latest pop endeavour. He spent over two weeks wading through his notes before settling on the final six. He is only too aware of the pitfalls that exist for an emerging pop act but is adamant that his new group can go toe to toe with giants One D and Australian pop-punk outfit 5 Seconds Of Summer.
‘I have that same excited feeling I had when Westlife started,’ says Walsh. ‘ These boys have the talent and the drive and the rest will come. I am sending them to Sweden in a couple of weeks to record their first album and I know they will have a No.1 hit. I believe in them as a group and I am confident that there is a gap in the market for them. They are six young, talented Irish boys and I think they will have the same sort of career as Westlife.
‘They have signed with Colin Barlow with RCA. He is the best in the business and they will perform on the Late Late Show next weekend ( May 30). We will focus on Ireland first before breaking into England and Europe,’ he says with an air of confidence that only someone with a track record like his can.
Walsh sits back in his chair and watches as his six protégés pose for our photographer. They are laughing and joking, basking in the novelty of being in the public eye.
For Dubliner Dean Gibbons, 20, and Wicklow man Josh Gray, 17, it is simply a dream come true. They joined 17-year- old Brendan Murray from Tuam, Co. Galway; Cian Morrin, 19, from Castlebar, Co. Mayo; Dayl Cronin, 20, from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary; and Ryan McLoughlin, 20, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, to complete the line-up.
This is their first photoshoot as a signed act and they are clearly brimming with enthusiasm, and practically bursting with exuberance.
For long-time performer Dayl, this is the chance he has been dreaming of since he was a small boy. He explains how he heard about the auditions. ‘At the time, I was in a performing arts college in Leicester in England. I was singing and acting, so it was along the same lines as being in a boy band,’ he says.
‘I heard about the auditions and I just said to hell with it, I’ll go for it. I always wanted to be in a boy band but I never thought it would actually happen. My mum and dad heard that Louis Walsh was looking for a band and I came home and went to the auditions and luckily I got through.’
No stranger to the cut-throat nature of the