A name can say a lot about you - it can have strong meaning, and it can define your purpose. After facing numerous obstacles in their search to stardom, the group One Chance auditioned in Atlanta for Usher two years ago. They ended up living up to their name by becoming the first group signed to Ushers US Records.
Hailing from the South side of Chicago, Courtney, Jon, Michael and Rob are ready to take things to the next level. Their single Look At Her featuring D4Ls Fabo garnered a decent buzz as they put the finishing touches on their debut album, Private. We got some time to chat with One Chance about what its like working with Usher, and their struggle to emerge from the politics of the Chicago music scene.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: We read about how you all believe your Chi-town swagger makes you stand out. What else do you all bring to the table that makes you different from all the other boy bands we see today?
John: A lot people say that we are very real. We come from the streets of Chicago - its not like were a cornball group. All of us can hold our own individuality.
Courtney: We take from the great groups from the past. We have the stage presence of New Edition, the harmonies of Boys II Men, and the edge of Jodeci, and so on.
AHHA: How long have you all been together as a group?
Courtney: Weve been together for about four years. John and Michael are brothers and wanted to start a group, so they started going to different high schools scouting out different talent. We eventually formed a group, and started to tour different high schools performing and continued on from there.
AHHA: How do you all maintain being on one accord and not letting your differences get in the way?
John: Its all about the mind frame that each individual has. We all understand our own personal ideas and differences and strive for one goal. Weve been through so much and are friends, so we dont believe in back-stabbing the next person. We are all like family. A lot of groups dont know how to let things go. As long as you dont hold a grudge and everybody communicates, you should all be on the same page.
AHHA: Do you feel any pressure being Ushers first artists?
Michael: Its a little pressure, but at the same time we look at it as a major challenge. A lot of people are going to expect us to be on Ushers level off the top, so we work hard at trying to be at that level. When we came to Usher we were already polished, and thats what he liked about us. When we first got with Usher, I was a little nervous, because hes one of the biggest entertainers in the world - but once we got to know him we realized that hes just like us. Hes real cool and down to earth. Hes actually been very hands-on with our project.
AHHA: Whats it been like working with Usher so far?
Courtney: Its a blessing working with him. We got one of the best in the business coaching us. We get his ideas on what he thinks we should do in the studio to how we should take pictures, and conduct radio interviews. He tells us to stay humble and be polite.
John: When were in the studio from sun up to sun up, hes been in there with us. Even though hes busy, hes been there a 100%.
AHHA: What can we expect to get from your album?
John: Our album is called Private, and basically were trying to let people into our private lives and talk about what its like to balance out a relationship and a career. All the songs, we didnt record them until we felt like they were relatable. A lot of people go through the same things we do, and we want to reveal a side that people dont necessarily know about us.
AHHA: For your first single, Look At Her, why did you choose to collaborate with Fabo of D4L as opposed to coming out by yourselves?
Courtney: When we picked the song Fabo wasnt on it yet. We were actually looking to get him on there. We picked the song Look At Her because snap music is whats happening, and we wanted to catch that wave.
John: Today people dont really want to hear love ballads anymore. We had chose something catchy to grab their attention so they would listen. So we hit them with the single, and now we plan to give them the true R&B stuff.
AHHA: Whats it like to be an artist in Chicago and try to make it? There really arent a lot of outlets to help you succeed in the music industry.
John: The struggle is real hard, because as well all know there are a lot of politics involved in the Chicago scene. Not saying they dont exist every where else but it just seems like other places embrace you and give you a chance quicker than our own city. It seems at times in Chicago its all about who you know or what click you run with. Its so hard for young people that might not know anybody but might have all the talent in the world. No ones willing to take a chance on you. Its crazy how you have some of the biggest artists from Chicago, but yet they arent willing to reach out and help people that arent in Chicago. In Atlanta everybody is cool and letting everybody get money, its like one big family down here. We are trying to do what we can to help the next man, because we know how hard it is to make it in Chicago.