NEW BRITAIN - Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Austin are all considered epicenters for musical talent, but what about New Britain?
We Are V1ral is an up-and-coming boy band with members from the Hardware City. Radio personality Stevey Newnez founded the group after being contacted by Donna Wright - manager for acts including the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, *N Sync and P!nk - to help her find the next big boy band.
At the time, Newnez and Wright were living in Florida and were going to try and find the group in Orlando because many musicians, like the Carter family (Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and brother Aaron) are from that area.
But then, Wright and Newnez, coincidentally, relocated to Connecticut and decided to search for the group there instead.
“We put together auditions throughout Connecticut in secret locations,” said Newnez. One of the first was New Britain.
“After (the audition in New Britain) we didn’t need any more auditions, I found what I was looking for,” Newnez said.
We Are V1ral, or W.A.V. for short, consists of Eli Bankz of New Britain, Dimas Rivera of Bridgeport, Tragik Demanj of New Britain and Danny Shoog Martinez of New Britain.
Like many boy bands, W.A.V will be a pop group, but unlike their predecessors, they’ll have a hip-hop and Latin flair.
“When you think of Connecticut, you don’t think of a hardcore rap or a hip-hop area. It’s very white collar. They’ll be creating their own sound,” Newnez said.
On Monday, the group will be meeting with a record label and visiting a major artist’s studio to talk about artist development and recording. Newnez could not provide specifics due to contract agreements.
“It will change their lives,” said Newnez. “It’s already started to change mine.”
W.A.V is still developing as a group, so no music has been officially released yet. To keep up with the band, follow them on Instagram @WeAreViral_Music.
Another group Newnez is helping develop is Royal Sauce, made up of Despina Drougas of New Fairfield, Faktz Doubleo of New Britain, Tao Lagun of New Britain and Marcquille Johnson of New Britain. Their sound will be similar to the Black Eyed Peas.
The premiere on Lifetime later this month of the holiday TV movie, “A Very Merry Toy Store,” starring Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, places New Britain on the map, Newnez said, adding, “This is the year a lot of things are happening out of New Britain.”
Wright’s company, Wright Stuff Management, is looking for more artists for another boy band project. Those interested can email Newnez at email@example.com.
Aside from this venture, Newnez, who grew up in New Britain and lives in Bristol, is currently part of the Hot Morning Crew on WZMX (Hot 93.7). The morning show plays a wide variety of hip-hop and R&B and discusses many topics, especially entertainment, weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.