Viewers first saw Willie, Qwanell, Brian A., Michael and Robert on the first season of Making the Band 4
, in which they competed against other aspiring singing superstars. The five of them were ultimately named the winners of the competition, but the next task at hand has proven to be quite challenging: for the second season of Making the Band 4
, music producer Diddy has instructed them to finish their debut album in only five weeks.
"We've all worked really hard,” Qwanell, who turned down a college scholarship to appear in season 1, told CTV.ca, “and the show's made everyone a better artist. I think Diddy is a genius for putting us all together."
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The struggle has been heightened with the presence of all-female group Danity Kane, who, along with the boys, are also trying to churn out their own album within the same time frame. With the two groups living under one roof, and with Diddy wanting to see who will finish first, Making the Band 4
has turned into a battle-of-the-sexes.
"Competing with the girls was tough,” Qwanell said, “but becoming a group and getting the album finished was the biggest challenge.”
Since the end of the first season, Qwanell and his bandmates have been known as Day 26. A lot of thought and effort was put into the conception of the band's name, mainly because they wanted it to be meaningful. The number 26 is derived from that fateful day in August 2007 when they first became a band.
The group even took to the streets to ask fans for suggestions.
"I felt like it was their duty to help us because they put us together," Qwanell said. "If we didn't ask their opinions it wouldn't be right."
Day 26's album is set to hit shelves on March 11. The group has named Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Babyface and Beyonce as some of their musical influences.
"Our sound is very reminiscent of what was going on in the '90s in R&B music," Brian said. "It's real singing. It's got real emotion behind everything right down to the last word."
The also boys credit Diddy for much of their newfound musical style.
"Diddy's a cool cat, but he's also a perfectionist," Qwanell said. "He'll push you until you want to cry. Everybody needs someone like that in their lives. Even if you think you're great he'll push to make you better. That's why I admire him."
They're also very grateful for the way Diddy has educated them on what the music business is really all about.
"All my life I've dreamed about doing this, working at this level and giving fans the real experience of big music. But it's a tough business," Mike said. "Diddy's often misunderstood because he is very demanding. But he's definitely one cat who isn't afraid to show you what to do and not do in the game."
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of MTV)