"Being a boy band, you automatically get this label ... but we're very dedicated to the craft," says one member of TooFab's TooGood Artist of the Month.
Citizen Four might just be the boy band comeback we've all been waiting for.
Austin Percario, Carson Boatman, Conner Boatman and Mikey Fusco make up the four-man musical group that was birthed by monster label Island Records in June of last year. But don't get distracted by any stigma you may have of label-made bands; these boys proudly own their origin story and more importantly, they can sing. They proved it to us with a live, a capella rendition of their latest track -- "My Name (Say It)," a tribute to the Destiny's Child classic -- when they stopped by Studio TooFab last week.
But before they got Destiny's Child's blessing to sample one of the girl group's biggest hits, there was YouTube: Citizen Four's proving ground. The boys began their career by recording covers of popular songs and posting them to YouTube. Their first ever cover was Rihanna's "Needed Me." They've also covered Rae Sremmurd, Shawn Mendes, Niall Horan and Justin Bieber, who also got his start doing the same thing on the popular video-sharing website.
"We thought that that was the best way to get ourselves out there," Carson said. "We tried to find songs that we resonated with that we thought fit the brand of C4 and that we had a hunch would probably be top five so that they could get traction."
Conner added, "Our thing was choosing songs that we knew were going to be relevant for a while and that not a lot of people had covered yet so we could be one of the first videos online."
Besides having incredible chops, the foursome believes their diversity -- both personality wise and vocally -- sets them apart from the other boy bands vying for the heights of stardom reached most recently by One Direction.
"We all are very different people, different walks of life, even though Conner and I are brothers," Carson explained. "Four different people, all citizens of the world. It doesn't matter sexual orientation, color, political beliefs, we're all coming together to create this one goal and make it happen."
"Being a boy band, you automatically get this label," Mikey said when asked about the stigma attached to artists who are brought together by a label. "And we definitely are a boy band ... but we're very dedicated to the craft, and we're very much involved in the whole process as far as music, image, all that type of stuff. We're very much artists, no matter who put us together. We're lucky enough that we all get along and we're all great friends now, but it comes down to the music and the talents that we just love to share with one another."
Austin added, "Being brought together is more of a fateful thing than a forceful thing because it allows us to compromise and butt heads and have all these real moments that make us better as a band."
Interestingly enough, Austin and Mikey both came up in the world of reality talent competitions; Austin was an "X Factor" finalist in 2011, and Mikey is an "America's Best Dance Crew" alum. When asked if that was the best route for aspiring artists to go, Austin said, "There's no one path. A talent competition show is one way to get your face and your voice out there, but there's also now so many other resources, like creating your own music at home."
Austin also said that talent competition shows tend to want to "mold you and shape you into what they think you should be instead of who you really are" and advised all aspiring artists to stay true to their authentic selves.
Watch the rest of TooFab's inaugural TooGood Artist of the Month interview with Citizen Four below, followed by the lyric video for their new single, "My Name (Say It)."