As long as there have been boy bands, there have been boy band members going solo. Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake, Zayn. It's a time-honored tradition that goes way back into pop history...and we got a front row seat for another former teen pinup who's now traveling the refreshing path of artistry and independence.
Before taking an indefinite hiatus, Nathan Sykes
was the youngest member of the British outfit, The Wanted. You of course know this band. A few years back they were inescapable with their single "Glad You Came" occupying pretty much every single radio on the planet and enjoying serious song of the summer consideration, for good reason. "Glad You Came"
is one catchy piece of ear candy that sounds as good today as it did when it was released in 2011.
When the band decided to take a break, however, Sykes saw it as an opportunity; something he told us all about when he swung through Brooklyn for our newest NEXT Session. "When you spend five years in a band you get used to writing for other people. But now...I can just sing...for me. And I can write for me." They're words that ring like a deep, relieving exhale from an artist who most likely needed it.
Though he's spent the last couple of years releasing singles, Sykes' is only now preparing for his first solo album titled, Unfinished Business
. During his visit with us, Sykes gave us the scoop on what motivated him to finally do his own thing. "I always tell people to go and follow their dreams. Go and do what you love. And don't let anyone get in the way of that," Sykes explained. "So why don't I listen to my own advice? So I did. I've got unfinished business, I've got more to give, I've got more potential to show to people, I've got more music to write."
One of the singles Sykes had already released is "Over And Over Again"; a piano ballad Sykes collaborated with Ariana Grande on. During his conversation with our managing editor, Kirsten Spruch, Sykes spoke of the emotional side of songs like "Over and Over Again". "For the first time...I've really managed to learn to take my barriers down. So I'm writing really, really personal stuff."
In session, Sykes demonstrated just how far he was willing to break down his personal barriers, sitting at our piano alone (with slightly wounded vocal chords from an intense run of shows no less) for a powerful rendition of the hit single. It's a emotional approach alright, and when Sykes sings the hell out of a song like "Over and Over Again" (as he did in his session with us) it's so easy to connect with every word.