In every decade since the latter half of the 20th century, the hunt for the next big boy band has been on the radar of every pop-culture-related media outlet, as well as of every 13-year-old fangirl.
From The Beatles, to New Kids on the Block, to the Backstreet Boys, to One Direction, there has consistently been an iconic boy band breaking teen hearts and topping Billboard charts. Today, a quintet by the name of Why Don’t We might just possess the “it” factor that will likewise make them legendary.
A Brief Bio
Why Don’t We, generally abbreviated as WDW by their fans, has thus far impressed the teenage-girl demographic on a global scale. The “man band,” as they call themselves, consists of five members: Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, Jonah Marais and Daniel Seavey.
Although the group is now officially based in Los Angeles, the boys represent regional cultures from all over the United States. Avery was born in Burbank, California but raised in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; Besson was raised in Fairfax, Virginia; Herron in Dallas, Texas; Marais in Stillwater, Minnesota; and Seavey in Vancouver, Washington.
After becoming a band in September 2016, the group hit the ground running to ensure maximum fandom growth and media exposure. They released their first single, “Taking You,” 10 days later; their debut extended play, “Only the Beginning,” less than two months later; and by their third month as a band, they were already setting out on their first headlining tour.
In just two years, Why Don’t We has realized three headlining tours, hundreds of radio shows and interviews, sold-out arenas, five EPs — some of which were recorded in an in-home, makeshift recording booth — numerous radio-featured singles, five remix records and an album.
Becoming a Band
Before uniting, Avery, Besson, Herron, Marais and Seavey each began their musical careers as solo artists. Seavey, who was arguably the most well-known, made his claim to fame at the young age of 15 as a finalist on Season 14 of “American Idol.”
The four other members, who are equally gifted vocalists, used social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, as well as livestream platforms like YouNow, to build separate fanbases. Eventually, after collaborating on various projects and social media tours, the boys decided to join forces and become a band.
“We all started off as solo artists, and then we met each other online through some tours and stuff. And then, the idea was brought about to form a group, and we were all like, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it. Why don’t we?'” Avery said in an interview.
The group claims that the phrase, commonly used as a reason for spontaneous or adventurous behavior, outlines the overall ambitions of the band. “I think the whole vibe about us is kind of ‘why don’t we,'” Seavey said.
Their creativity, spontaneity and talent yield a practically unsurpassable combination for their competitors, evident in their ever-growing social media following.
Taking Social Media by Storm
The majority of Why Don’t We’s members initially used social media to grow their fanbases, so when the band was officially announced in September 2016, each of their audiences combined to form a mega-fanbase. After the members promoted Why Don’t We on their individual social media accounts, the band’s Instagram exploded from zero followers to a whopping 100,000 within just the first six months.
In addition to the union of the band members’ audiences, their vast online presence — which now exceeds 8.5 million followers across social media platforms — owes its success to none other than infamous vlogger Logan Paul.
Long before the loss of Paul’s moral integrity as a result of his “Suicide Forest” vlog, Why Don’t We amplified their virtual word-of-mouth marketing by partnering with the now-contentious YouTube star. In February 2017, Paul posted a vlog featuring shots of him sneaking on stage during the LA show of Why Don’t We’s “Taking You” tour.
Paul continued to feature Why Don’t We in his content: Instagram photos, tons of vlogs and even his diss track “The Fall of Jake Paul” and comedic single “Help Me Help You.” One vlog shows the Why Don’t We members’ reactions to finding out that their song “Something Different” was going to be played on the radio, and the band even asked Paul to direct two of their music videos, “Nobody Gotta Know” and “Something Different.”
Whether or not the collaborations were the outcome of paid public relations efforts, Paul seemed to genuinely enjoy endorsing Why Don’t We in his videos, and the band’s fandom grew again because his large fanbase joined them.
The massive Why Don’t We fandom, composed of the members’ original separate fanbases, Paul’s fanbase and new fans who have discovered them along the way, call themselves Limelights in reference to the “Taking You” song lyric, “I need you in my life like limelight.” In the summer of 2017, a group of fans suggested the name at a private radio show in Minneapolis, and the name went viral, following the social media trend that spurred on their fame.
What’s Next for WDW?
The group will begin their next headlining tour, “8 Letters,” after their next album drop on March 20, with EBEN as their opening act. Four shows are already sold-out, and only one show still has VIP tickets. They have also hinted at more new music on their Instagram, posting about two singles released separately with the captions “1/12” and “2/12.” Could this be yet another 12-track album?
To stay up-to-date on Why Don’t We’s new music and tour dates, check out their website and social media accounts (@whydontwemusic).