Why Don’t We are on track to becoming the next boy band to own the charts and dominate the pop culture discussion...and in some ways, they’re already there. The group has sold out some of the biggest venues on their new tour (like Radio City Music Hall), their debut album 8 Letters broke into the top 10, and they’ve already amassed a following of millions.
If you don’t already know their name...chances are, it’s only a matter of time.
Spoke with Why Don’t We’s Corbyn Besson about what keeps them releasing music at a furious pace and how the five young singers (none of whom have turned 25 yet) came to create this successful band.
We were surprised to see your debut album go top 10 immediately, just because you guys rolled out so many singles and usually those support the album, but the album was so much bigger upon arrival than the songs. Do you guys watch numbers and charts and streaming figures? Do those numbers concern you at all?
Corbyn Besson: I mean, we try to, because I feel like it's important to keep up with the business aspect of it and see how your streaming numbers are doing and how your sales are doing, because that's where you can get answers without asking any questions.
We definitely concern ourselves with streaming numbers and sales and whatnot, but we don't get lost in it. I feel like that could be dangerous, especially if you lose your personal touch and you're just trying to cater to what people like the whole time. You lose your artistry. But it's important to see how things are doing and to know that there's progress, and also to see what people liked and what people didn't like, and take that into account with how you release stuff next time. Maybe it was a release plan that was a little off, or maybe it was a release plan that was amazing.
It's cool to keep in touch with the numbers, and especially see them grow. For the past two and half years, they’ve done nothing but grow and grow and grow, which is the biggest blessing ever. To see what scale the numbers are at now, it's really crazy, but we know that there's a lot more to do. We're going to keep pushing and keep doing what Why Don't We does best, and that's just being ourselves and making music and touring the world.
If you're putting out music so quickly, and you've got these new songs out, is there another EP or album on the way?
Besson: I can't say anything yet about anything specific, but so far we've put out a song in January, a song in February, and fans can expect a song in March. They can be expecting something soon then. It might already be out by the time this comes out but I'll just say that you'll start to notice a little bit of trend...and that's all I can say.
For the people who are just discovering you now, tell me just a bit about how you guys came together, the beginnings of Why Don't We. How did it start?
Besson: We started as five solo artists. We were all doing different things. I did a little bit of YouTube. A majority of my initial online following came from livestreaming, and the same for the rest of the guys as well.
Daniel was on American Idol, so he got a lot of TV and performance exposure from that, which translated into an online following as well. We had known about each other and we had chatted before, and I actually toured with Jack and Zach as separate acts on the same tour for about a year prior to forming the band, so we were close. And then I met Jonah at a hometown show, actually, and it was the biggest show I had ever played at the time. At the show, I thought he was way too cool for me because he had more followers, more activity. I was absorbed in that at the time.
I introduced myself quickly at the show, and then didn't really say much to him afterward because I was like, "Oh man, this guy's really cool. I don't know if I'm as cool as him,” so that's a funny story.
We got in touch and we decided to fly out to L.A. for a week, and we knew this guy named John who had put on a couple of the social media-type tours in the past. We linked up with him to see how we could cross-promote ourselves and grow off of each other's followings, not even really with the intention of making a band, but just with the intention of growing as artists. But we got together, and we sang, there was a magic there, and by the end of the week, quite honestly, we were like, "Why don't we make a band?"
The name Why Don't We kind of stuck from there, and we went and found some upper management and some more people who had connections in the industry and then fast forward two and half years later and we're here.
Since you guys started as solo artists and then decided to go this route, do you still have any interest in doing solo music at any point?
Besson: I mean it's definitely not the focus right now. I think the focus for sure is just doing what we love, and we love doing it together, and we're going to keep making music until we can't make music anymore, you know? I think we're all made for this and this is our, I guess, destiny, if you want to put it that way. But who knows?
I don't even know if it's possible to be a band when you're 85 years old, but if it is, we might still be doing it!
You know what, there are some people out there who are still doing it, so you never know.
Besson: Yeah, that's true. I hope that if we do it for that long, we're still happy and music is still making the world go round.
Photo Credit: 'Why Don’t We'