Grey Talk 'Future Pop' New Single 'Want You Back,' Taking Singing Lessons & 'The Middle' Grammy Noms
The sibling duo stop by the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast to chat about their latest single "Want You Back" and more.
Hard to believe, but it’s been a full year since Grey dropped a new single. Granted, that last single the duo released was the record-breaking smash “The Middle” with Zedd and Maren Morris, so Grey can be excused for taking their time with crafting their follow-up.
The brother duo of Kyle and Michael Trewartha released their new tune “Want You Back,” featuring LÉON, on Jan. 10 -- nearly a full year after their smash collaboration with Zedd and Maren Morris, “The Middle,” was released (Jan. 23, 2018). Since then, “The Middle” -- which was also co-produced and co-written by Grey -- went on to rack up over a half-billion on-demand streams in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music, and spent a record-breaking 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Oh, and the song also garnered three Grammy Award nominations for Grey: record of the year, song of the year, and best pop/duo group performance.
“When I was finding out the first nomination, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so crazy! What the hell?’ I’m freaking out," Michael tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen below). "And then the second one, I was like, ‘Wait, what, there’s a second one?!’ And I looked further and then I saw the pop/duo [group nomination] and I was like, ‘Wait, oh my God! This is crazy!’”
Still, all of the success over the past year with “The Middle” -- and its Grammy nominations -- haven’t changed Grey all that much.
“Our friends actually don’t really care about any of our success,” Kyle tells Billboard. “Nothing really changes in our life… Professionally, it gets easier to work with people who we want to work with… but when it comes to our everyday life, nothing changes.”
As for Grey’s new single, “Want You Back,” the guys said when they first heard a demo recording of the song that made its way to them, Kyle knew it was “up our alley” and that it “felt like future pop.” Swedish singer LÉON is the featured artist on the tracking, singing the vocal. “We’ve been listening to LÉON for a while … we’d been listening to her music for months. And we’re like, ‘Man, she’s so good, she sounds like the Swedish Adele.”
“Want You Back” is the first taste of new music from Grey, who recently signed with Island Records. The pair say they have perhaps 13 or 14 songs waiting in the wings. But there’s a twist: “Want” could mark the last time you hear an act other than Grey singing on their own records. (So far, on Grey's previously released tracks, the only vocals you heard were that of a featured guest, not Grey -- save for some "very hidden" vocals by the guys deep in the mix on Hailee Steinfeld and Zedd's "Starving," featuring Grey).
“We’ve actually been spending a lot of our time focusing on singing,” Kyle says, “because we’re actually going to be moving into singing on our own stuff. Michael’s never sang in his life, actually, until this [project]. We started taking lessons probably three of four months ago.”
Though Kyle says he’s “been in choirs” his whole life, “but I just never practiced, really… It’s not like I ever tried really hard to get good at singing.”
But now, Grey is taking singing lessons. What’s that been like for the brothers? “It’s really fun,” Kyle says. “To me, half of the fun part is the production part of the vocals. It’s just such a puzzle for us to record a bunch of takes and then put it in the song and find out what works. It’s not just the singing. It’s the way that you record the singing is equally as fun.”
Michael adds, “Instead of having to go into the studio and have an engineer there to judge us and our singing, because we’re kind of nervous to sing in front of people, we just got all of the gear at our own house and made a little vocal booth in his [Kyle’s] closet … so we could just do it alone.”
Fans will soon be able to see Grey show off their singing for the general public for the first time, as the act will “be probably opening up for someone” in the spring.
Also on the Pop Shop Podcast, hosts Keith and Katie discuss chart news about Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower” hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s Hoodie SZN rising to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, and Benny Blanco notching his first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 as an artist. Plus, the Pop Shoppers chat about how Alicia Keys is slated to host the Grammy Awards, Selena Gomez’s return to Instagram, and the death of theater legend Carol Channing.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard's senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)