VIDEO: Sunday World Meets Louis Walsh's new boyband Hometown
Meet star-maker Louis Walsh’s new boyband.
They’re called Hometown and are tipped to follow in the steps of the X Factor judge’s previous world-dominating groups, Westlife and Boyzone.
The five excited youngsters gave the Sunday World an exclusive preview of their new album at a recording studio in Co. Wicklow, as several record companies line up in a battle to sign them as the ‘next big thing’.
The fame-seeking lads are Brendan Murray (17), from Tuam, Co. Galway; Cian Morrin (19), from Castlebar, Co. Mayo; Dayl Cronin (20), from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary; Garret Borrowe (18), from Derry city and Ryan McLoughlin (20), from Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Executive producer of the new album Glenn Herlihy and songwriters Robert Grace and James Foley are convinced Hometown will be massive chart stars.
“I think they will be one of the biggest bands in the world, not just the UK and Ireland,” says Glenn.
“I genuinely think they will give One Direction a run for their money. They have recorded fast songs, ballads, everything. They won’t be a typical boyband.”
A delighted Louis beamed: “I’m 100 per cent happy with the lads, with the songs, they’re absolutely amazing.”
Along with 1,000 other starry-eyed hopefuls, the boys auditioned for the new band in Dublin early last year.
“I always wanted a career in music, so I thought it was right to go for it and obviously it worked out. It’s absolutely brilliant,” says Garret, who had been doing a music course in Derry and working part-time in Marks & Spencer.
“My family’s not that musical, although my dad used used to sing a wee bit, and I was always singing. It just comes natural.”
ian, from Breaffy, near Castlebar, knew that he had to make a bid to get into the boyband as it was all he ever wished for.
“I heard about the auditions, that Louis Walsh was doing a new band and I just felt I had to go for it,” he says.
“I had been trying different things to get into the music business and it was failing, so this was as good an opportunity as you’re going to get, especially in Ireland.
“I got into music accidentally. My cousin was going to play guitar and then he gave it up, so my auntie gave me the guitar and I picked it up and then I just started singing.”
Dayl is a trained dancer and was doing a performing arts course in Leicester, England, when he applied.
“I love music and I love performing on stage,” he says. “I’ve been dancing since I was seven and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity at the audition. When I was told I was in I dropped out of college.”
Ryan was studying songwriting and commercial music in Dublin when he went for the audition.
“I was going into my third year when I saw this opportunity and I decided I would give it a whack. Then, low and behold, I got it,” he tells the Sunday World.
Brendan was in school is St Jarlath’s college in Tuam and was also busking in Galway city before he got his big break.
“I performed every weekend in Shop Street in Galway. Then my cousin told me about the auditions and told me to go for it,” he says.
“I’ve always liked music, it’s always been in my family.”
Garret and Cian both sang James Morrison songs at their audition; Dayl performed We Are Young by Fun; Brendan did Hit Me Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, while Ryan performed the Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody.
Four of the lads were told at their final audition in September that they were in the band.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was picked because the competition was so tight and everyone was guessing who was in,” says Cian, who dropped out of first year teacher training in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, Dublin, to join the group.
Ryan was overwhelmed when Louis pointed to him at the end of the process.
“I was the first one to find out when Louis said ‘I’ve got one picked in my head’ and I had to look around in case it was me. I was completely shocked,” he smiles.
Brendan played a trick on his parents, who were waiting outside.
“I let on I was sad before I broke the news to them, but then they were over the moon,” he reveals.
It took a while for the news to sink in with Dayl.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got in, I genuinely didn’t think I was in it because the competition was so so good,” he says.
However, for Garret it was a longer wait as it was between him, another Derry lad and a Mayo guy for the final place – and he was not told until December 23.
“I woke up and saw six missed calls from a southern number. So I went into my text messages and it said ‘call me – Louis Walsh’,” he says.
“So I rang him back. He told me to sit down and told me the news and I broke down in tears.”
The lads are now ensconced in the Wicklow studio as they begin their journey for stardom.
“We’re hoping for world domination, it’s as simple as that,” laughs Cian.
“As clichéd as it is, we just want to be happy in our career. We wouldn’t be happy doing anything else and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Ryan reveals: “We want a long career from this – like Westlife, who went for 13 or 14 years.”