Ever wonder what it’s like to have millions of fans hanging on your every tweet? Meticulously maintaining Instagram accounts and blogs dedicated to your very existence? Willing to relinquish their souls to a variety of devils for a single glance? Well, British boy band The Wanted has tasted that kind of reverence and, according to them, it’s extremely flattering — if not a little scary.
One of the main tenants of the O Music Awards is that we’re fan-driven — hence the popularity of our Fan Army FTW category. Therefore, over the last several months, we’ve made it our goal to highlight dedicated music lovers and the bands they so rever. Accordingly, we’ve interviewed everyone from Insane Clown Posse to One Direction — who all shared with us what it’s like to be adored by a committed fanbase.
This week, we’re highlighting The Wanted, part of the nouveau wave of boy bands that’s currently sweeping the world — from K-Pop bands to the modern-day British invasion (including The Wanted and One Direction). We caught up with The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran before a recent The Tonight Show With Jay Leno taping to find out more about their fans and what it’s like to have an army at your back.
So where are the rest of the guys?
The other three are bathing together before the show.
And how are you doing?
I’m good. I’ve had three cupcakes.
For any special occasion?
Every day is a special occasion. Especially when it comes to cupcakes. I’m at Jay Leno, in the changing rooms. I just had a shower. They have a big shower.
Is that the best perk back there?
The best perk is the strawberries and pineapple. Natural foods.
Cool! So I work for the O Music Awards, and we focus on the intersection between music, social media and tech. One of the aspects we like to highlight is fandom — specifically fan armies. I would love to talk to you about The Wanted’s fans. They seem pretty dedicated.
We have the TWFANmily and basically they’re absolutely crazy — full-on very resourceful. They just go all night with you — whatever you’re doing they’ll go around and follow you all day. Our fans are the best, and obviously we wouldn’t be here without them. They’re very real. Your fans are kind of like an extension of you. They say it as it is. We’re sort of mates. We’re very close.
You say they’re very resourceful, what does that mean?
They find out everything. Like today our security guard had to go home — it was a last-minute thing. And we found out on Twitter because one of the fans was like, ‘So, Kev, you’re not going to be going home with the boys?’ How did they know that? Only we knew that and him! Somehow fans in England found out that he was going home ahead of us, and we just didn’t know how. But they find their ways. You just have to leave it be, because it’ll drive you crazy trying to figure it out.
So do you spend a lot of time reading what the fans are saying? What’s your level of engagement?
Yeah, I go hit the blogs. Fly through them — the response to singles, the response to certain situations. Sometimes I just search random words to do with us on the Internet or on Twitter or things like that — to see what the real news is. Because sometimes what they tweet you is really nice and sometimes there are fans with different opinions that you want to see that don’t tweet you.
What medium is the most popular with your fans? Blogs, Twitter, Instagram?
Between Twitter and word of mouth, for us, our are fans getting bigger and bigger and bigger and they multiply. It’s like they’re gestating. The group is massive, and then they start talking and making friends. It’s not just through Twitter anymore — it’s through normal phone numbers. Our fans are very social.
Were you ever a member of a fan army?
I liked solo singers in the beginning — MJ [Michael Jackson] and JT [Justin Timberlake]. If it was MJ, yeah, I’d go to a gig, but I’d never go to a gig to see someone perform and then wait outside a hotel. I don’t think it ever came to that.
When it comes to fans doing that, I think it’s absolutely great. They do everything they can to get to you. More than buy a single, they come to you and say, ‘You did a great job and we love you.’ They give you so much support. When you’re feeling down or having a bad day, it does really carry some weight to it. To have someone kind of bring you back down to the ground and say, ‘You’re doing a great job. You’ve changed my life.’
Image courtesy of Facebook, The Wanted