For Courtney, Jon, Michael and Rob, One Chance is the perfect name for a foursome that has invested their heart and soul into their musical dreams and now stands on the verge of savoring the fruits of their labor. After a few detours and more than a few roadblocks, the guys found themselves face to face with the biggest R&B superstar in the world and, much to their delight, he liked what he saw. Usher signed One Chance to his label, US Records, and began the diligent task of developing them as only Usher can do. The multi-platinum, Grammy-winning artist said he saw reflections of himself in the group.
How are you guys enjoying New York?
One Chance – Oh man! It’s a beautiful thang, it’s a beautiful place, a lot of fine honies; they’re good to look at.
How is New York different from Chicago?
One Chance – Well it’s more similar than different. It’s just that there are more people in New York and you guys move at a faster pace.
So, how did you guys come up with the name One Chance?
One Chance – Well you only have one chance and one chance at life to accomplish all your goals. Michael and John’s mother felt that all we needed was the one chance for the right person to hear us and the rest would be history.
With the new sounds like Crunk & B and now you come with Snap & B, how does the sound influence your first signal?
One Chance – The Snap music is in right now and that’s what’s hot. We were sitting back one day and we thought it would be hot if a group sings some vocals over a hot snap record. So we put our Chicago swagger and flavor on it and some tight vocals and lyrics, then we came up with “Look At Her.”
Well I can’t wait to dance to it!
One Chance – Well the single is for the ladies and we love to look at them (laughter).
Being that you are a young group from Chicago how would you describe your style?
One Chance – The style of our group is like a blast from the past. We remind you of all the great groups like New Edition, the edge of Jodeci and the harmony of Boyz II Men. We have a little Chi-town flavor of our own that makes the difference, which makes One Chance.
How did you guys come together to make One Chance?
One Chance – (Courtney) Micheal and John are brothers and we wanted to start a group, so we went scouting for different talent and we came across Rob at his High school in Chicago. Then we started doing a high school tour and we came across Courtney at his high school also in Chicago. We all have the same common goal and love the same things, so why not start a group and sing. The crazy thing about it is that we all lived 5 mins away from each other and did not know one another. It just seemed like it was meant to be.
Besides singing, were you guys involved in the creative process of making your album?
One Chance -We have co-writers with other writers like Keith Thomas and Brian ‘Luva’ Chucka and we’ve played a major part in the process along with the producers and Usher. We have all given our input into what we felt would win and what would be great R&B music for our group.
How did you guys get discovered by Usher?
One Chance -We were selling CD’s on the corners of Chicago and we were like we should take it to Atlanta because ATL was poppin’. We drove down and it took about 13 hours. We were there for a year and we found ourselves in a Mall in Atlanta singing and selling CD’s, that’s when we met a guy that knew Usher. He took us to Usher’s office and we sang for two of his staff members and they entered us into a showcase. Out of sixteen acts, he chose One Chance and Rico Love.
Would you say your discovery was you guys being at the right place at the right time?
One Chance – Oh yeah, exactly! It was God!
In the song “Private,” you talk about coveting a special lady, how does your song relate to your current romantic situations?
One Chance – Well there aren’t any romantic situations right now, we are all single. “Private” is basically talking about when you’re in a club and you’re trying to talk to a young lady. You don’t want to yell in her ear because she might not like that. So I’m asking her if we could go somewhere private so we can talk and do what we do, exchange numbers or what have you.
When did you guys know you wanted to pursue music as a career?
One Chance – Some of us knew we wanted to do this since we were born and some of us grew up listening to the greats like Al Green, R. Kelly, Sam Cook, Donnie Hathaway, The Temptations, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. It was just a feeling you get when you listen to the greats. You grow to love music; we are not a group that listens to just R&B, we give everything a chance, we love music.
What were you guys doing before you had your big break? Did you hold any odd jobs?
One Chance – Before we came to Atlanta we had our little jobs and we attended school, but we did everything, while practicing. Some of us had jobs up until midnight and we would practice after that. After we moved to Atlanta we were struggling, not eating as much. When we did eat it was Ramen Noodles (laughter). We were sharing couches, floors, the van, you name it we’ve done it. You really have to sacrifice a lot of things like kicking it with your friends. You need patience because people think careers happen overnight and they really don’t. People need to really see the behind the scenes that artist go through and that it took years for artists to get where they are now. Have faith, keep God first, believe in yourself and don’t let anybody tell you no. If they say no, doesn’t mean no forever, but no right now.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
One Chance – There’s a lot of people. We would have loved to work with producers like Pharrell, Timbaland and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. We actually got the chance to meet them [Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis] and talk with Terry Lewis; it was a blessing that he took the time out to talk to us but we would love to work with them. There are so many producers out there that are so hot right now. Scott Storch. There are too many to name. We can’t forget our Chicago family: Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Twista.
Who are some of the artists and producers that are working on your current album?
One Chance – We got the Underdogs, Ryan Leslie, Justice Read, Vidal, D4L and others.
So, what do you like to do in your spare time?
We practice in our spare time. We are always around each other. We eat and sleep and drink music. We would sometimes go to a movie, play ball, go to a concert or work out.
Do you have any other professional goals outside music?
One Chance – As of right now our #1 goal is music and we are focused on this cow right here and we are going to milk it (laughter).
What encouraging words would you give to inspiring groups?
One Chance – Stay humble and play their role. It’s like basketball, everyone cannot be the star like Micheal Jordan, so everyone got to stay in their lane. Be true to each other and have good communication. That is the number one key, it makes matters worse when you hold things in and that is what messes up the chemistry of the group. —— By: Interview By Tiffanie Simone