One Chance Interview
|Next Project:||Untitled Debut Album|
|Twitter:||One Chance on Twitter|
|Website:||One Chance's Website|
In November of 2005, R&B quartet One Chance appeared on the soundtrack to Usher’s “In The Mix” with the radio-killer “That’s My Word.” Almost two and a half years later, though, fans of the foursome have been left to wonder whether or not the group will ever release their debut album.
Amidst speculation that the Chicago-based act has had problems with label politics (the group is signed to Usher’s US Records, as well as Clive Davis’ J Records), members Courtney, Jon, Michael and Rob are guaranteeing their fans, DJBooth’s readers, and R&B lovers worldwide that their major label debut offering will soon be available.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” the fellas step inside the booth to discuss upcoming tour plans with both Usher and Janet Jackson, the importance of bringing back R&B battles, when their album is tentatively scheduled for release, and why they never have used their promotional hotline for a late night booty call.
Listen to the Interview
One Chance Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are four talented young men from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Backed by Usher’s US Records and Clive Davis at J Records, please welcome Courtney, Jon, Michael, and Rob of One Chance – fellas!
Jon: Yo, what up? I’m Jon!
Courtney: How you doin’? It’s Courtney!
Michael: Yeah, Joe – it’s Mike!
Rob: What’s good, man? I’m Rob!
One Chance: And together we’re One Chance!
DJ Booth: That was nice – have you guys done that before? That sounds good!
One Chance: [laughter] We practice that all the time!
DJ Booth: Thank you so much, guys, for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth today.
Jon: Thanks for havin’ us, Z!
DJ Booth: Anytime! I first heard you guys when I was sent the soundtrack to Usher’s In the Mix. After listening to your song, That’s My Word, I knew immediately you’d be something special. So tell me: when did the four of you know you’d be something special?
Jon: Well, honestly, I think when we came up out the wombs, our parents knew we was gonna be something special, really. We felt like we’d be something special once we all met each other and came together as a group. Because a lot of times, a lot of groups are put together, and it just seems like we all came together at the right time, and it was pretty much God’s will.
DJ Booth: Do the three of you agree with his assessment?
Courtney: I agree with that, definitely, one hundred percent.
DJ Booth: The group name is One Chance, and the story goes, it’s because you took a chance, you drove down to Atlanta, you met Usher in hopes of getting signed, and boom, you got signed. But, as we all know, to this point, you haven’t released your debut. So, if I gave you a second chance, you could flock towards a different label – you name the label, they want you – would you take it?
Courtney: Actually, our first chance is still goin’. We still on this first one, you know? We don’t even take second chances; we’re still goin’ with the first.
Jon: And a lot of people may think, “Well, we already gave ‘em their first chance,” or whatever, but, if you think about it, with the first song that we came out with, That’s My Word, on the soundtrack, that was a soundtrack feel, so you can’t really judge us on that. When we came out with Look at Her, [it] did what it did, it hit Billboard, and was number fifty-three. And now we’re hittin’ ‘em with the new single called U Can’t. A lot of people gotta understand: it takes a little more time when you’re a new artist and you’re signed to another artist.
DJ Booth: Guys, as you said, the single right now that’s makin’ waves is U Can’t. Everyone wants to know, though, when they’re gonna hear more than just a single – that means the album. Do you tentatively have an idea when it will be released?
Jon: Tentatively, our album will be released by August, September-ish. We wanna make sure we have two singles bangin’ on radio, and everybody is enjoyin’ those, and right when we’re goin’ on tour, go ahead and enjoy the album, because, now we got the album and we about to be on tour, so it’s not a long wait. It’s almost like killin’ two birds with one stone, you feel me? And that tour that we’ll be goin’ on will be Usher’s tour – just wanted to throw that in. And we’re gonna hit Janet’s tour up too.
DJ Booth: Okay so Usher, Janet – together they’ve sold about five million. I think you guys are in good hands.
Courtney: Yeah, great hands. These are icons, you feel me? It’s really a blessing for us to be able to be on these tours.
DJ Booth: You guys mentioned, Usher – he has a new album coming out, Here I Stand. It’s gonna drop on May the 27th. Following that, he will be touring. Does the drop of his album, months before your album drops, tentatively, play a role in his immediate direction and oversight of this project?
John: Actually, it’s not gonna play a major role, because, in the same sense, we all work together, along with Clive Davis and J Records, so therefore J Records is overseein’ a lot of it right now, because they know that Usher is focusin’ on his album. But Usher comes in periodically to put his two cents in. So therefore, along with Usher and J Records, the train’s not gonna stop, pretty much.
Michael: And in Usher’s new video, we just made a cameo. That was like, something that’s showin’ that we’re comin’, right now, get our faces back out there. And we have one of the best cameos in the video, actually.
DJ Booth: I haven’t seen the video. Tell me, what are you guys doing in it? I’m hoping you’re surrounded by gorgeous women.
John: Oh, of course, exactly. Yeah, we got a lot of beautiful babes around us.
Courtney: We’re pointin’ at women, we talkin’ to women, we dancin’ with women. What can I say? It’s a little much.
DJ Booth: Let’s separate the fine line between music videos and reality. If I watch this video, and I see what you guys are doin’, interacting with all these women, and obviously celebrating good times with some drinks, is that what you’re doin’ when I’m not seeing you on the video? Is that lifelike?
Courtney: Pretty much it’s exactly the same. We’re some fun-having guys, but we’re also hard-workin’, too. So we don’t indulge in the fun, but we do like to get out and do our thing. I mean, we’re young – who don’t like to play?
DJ Booth: Exactly, good answer. Let’s draw a parallel between you guys and Usher once more. Our very own DJ Blaze told me last night that his wifey loves listening to you guys, because, quote, “It’s like listening to four Ushers in one group.”
One Chance: [laughter]
Jon: Well, I’m gonna put it like this for everybody. Not to knock what his wife said or anything, ‘cause a lot of people will say that, a lot of people feel like we sound like Usher and everything like that, but people have to understand that we don’t try to sound like him. Courtney has a similar tone as Usher, so therefore a lot of people may mistake Courtney as Usher, but when you hear all the different tones of each person, like Mike and Rob, and put it together, it sounds like all the great groups, you can just see who we’ve studied. And then you’ll say, “Okay, they got their own swag, and put their own flava, their youngness into it, so therefore they’re not tryin’ to be nobody.”
DJ Booth: Obviously that’s a very nice compliment, but what is the wildest compliment you guys have received since going mainstream?
Jon: To me, one of the biggest compliments is how a lot of people compare us to all the greats. A lot of people tell us that we sound – if not better than – like Boyz II Men, or they haven’t heard harmonies like ours since groups like Boyz II Men, or like Silk – you know, the greats that have made marks. So we take that and just feel like we’re doin’ our job. Because if you notice, a lot of groups are not singin’ that much right now. It’s more of a gimmick, it’s more about studio singing. But when you get One Chance on stage, you can take all the music away, and we’ll still sound just like the record, because we sing for real – this is what we do. We’re not tryin’ to pull no wool over nobody’s eyes.
DJ Booth: So you’re saying you can do it a capella just as good as anybody?
Jon: Pretty much.
Courtney: You hit it right on the head.
DJ Booth: Well, I believe you. We’re gonna have some fun right now, guys, based on what you just said. Do you remember the MTV show, Celebrity Deathmatch?
Jon: Celebrity Deathmatch, I remember that, with the clay…
DJ Booth: Exactly. We’re gonna pretend that the network is gonna bring the show back – they’re not; I’m just saying we’re gonna pretend – and the name of the first match is gonna be “R&B Group Spectacular.” We’re going to put Boyz II Men in one corner, we’ll put B2K in another, newcomers Day26 in one corner, and then One Chance is in the fourth corner. When the match is over and a winner is announced, who will win the battle for claymation supremacy in the R&B spectacular, here?
Jon: One Chance!
Courtney: I’m glad you brought that up, ‘cause what we will try to do, we’ll try to bring group battling back, to where it might just be a single concert with One Chance, and maybe Day26, goin’ back and forth, song for song, pound for pound, and see who brings it.
DJ Booth: Male R&B groups can go in one of many different directions, as you guys know, with their material. Often, however, you hear groups go in every direction, instead of just focusing on the direction that they do best. So between the choices of up-tempo, mid-level tempo, slow jams, and ballads, what do you feel One Chance does absolutely the best?
Jon: We do the best mid-tempo ballads, but, see, one thing about us, a lot of times a lot of groups can’t stay in the club neither. So that’s one of the main things that kill a lot of R&B groups, because they can’t come out with a couple up-tempos that keep the people partyin’. ‘Cause we already know, hands down, we can do ballads with ease. We try to focus on, how can we get the right chemistry to do an up-tempo?
DJ Booth: Guys, I recently spoke with Bobby Valentino, and he says that it’s really hard, in the R&B game, to be signed to a major label, because what you wanna put out, which is real R&B, is not exactly what the labels have in mind as a radio record. Have you found it challenging to record material you think is terrific, but that the label just says, “Nah, I can’t push this to radio?”
Courtney: We have found it very challenging to deal with that. I feel that it’s all about timing, and the opportunity that you have. You gotta put in work to do what you wanna do, like how Usher’s able to probably put out what he wants. So I guess when we reach that status and get to that plateau, then we’ll be able to maybe call more shots, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: We’re almost halfway through 2008. Time is flying, as we all know. By the end of this year, other than that you’d like to see your debut in stores, what do you all want that one goal to be, come December 31st?
Jon: December 31st, we’d just like to become the ultimate group, and a household name in the world, pretty much. We wanna be able to begin this whole journey of becoming icons.
DJ Booth: A worldwide takeover, dominance – fellas, that’s what I like to hear. Make sure you rep Chicago everywhere you go.
One Chance: Absolutely, definitely, definitely.
DJ Booth: Before we go, guys, give everybody a website or a MySpace page so they can find out more about One Chance.
Jon: You can check us out at myspace.com/onechancefans, and we also got a phone number that you can call.
DJ Booth: Do you guys ever use that number to hook up a booty call?
Courtney: [laughter] No, not a booty call… we ain’t gonna do that!
Jon: You might get into something you don’t like, you know what I’m saying? That’s like a blind date; you don’t wanna do all that.
DJ Booth: So you expect me to believe, guys, that four strapping, talented young men are going to offer a number up, and ladies are gonna leave voice mails, and all you’re doing is texting them back? Come on, guys – give me the truth here.
Courtney: Hey, if we can’t see the face, you can’t get in the place! [laughter]
DJ Booth: I like that. That is going to be my new motto. Guys, I appreciate your time greatly, I thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, and as a fellow Chicagoan I sincerely wish you nothing but the best of luck here through 2008.
Courtney: We’ve got one more thing for you, Z. The number is 312-445-0304. And Z, we appreciate you for havin’ us, we appreciate you for supportin’ us, too, and you know we always gonna rep Chicago till we die.