Say hello to Home­town

Could these six lads be the new One D? Louis Walsh thinks so

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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