It’s been almost two years since the five guys of In Real Life — Conor, Sergio, Brady, Drew and Chance — were put together in a group on the ABC reality competition series Boy Band. It’s been a self-described “roller coaster” since then, which has included the top 40 radio hit “Tattoo (How ‘Bout You)” in 2018, followed by this year’s sunny summer jam “Crazy AF” and the heartfelt midtempo ballad “Hurt for Long.”
And of course the quintet has grown up over those two years, now ranging in age from 17 to 21, so it makes sense that their music grows with them. Which is why in the cleanly titled single “Crazy AF,” they weren’t afraid to drop an F-bomb (or four, not that we’re counting).
“We knew that it would be the beginning of how we wanted to represent ourselves,” Brady tells Billboard’s Pop Shop Podcast of the decision (listen to the full interview below). “Because our whole thing is like, we want to represent ourselves in an authentic way, and at the end of the day, a 17- to 20-year-old group of guys, every once in a while, it’s unrealistic to expect that [we won’t swear]. There’s no way. … Everyone already knows we’re saying those things, so we might as well sing about it a little bit.”
That growth continues with more new music on the way, including the unreleased song “She Do,” which the group has already previewed at some radio promo gigs. “When we perform it, the crowd goes the craziest, we feel the best and most confident that we’ve ever felt onstage, and I guess that should probably tell you how sick it is,” Conor says.
The guys even had one fan come all the way from London just to hear the song in person. “We had to change the set list just so she could hear ‘She Do’ because she was like, ‘This would be really worth it if you guys sang “She Do,”‘ Drew recalls with a laugh.
The guys have filmed a music video for the song, which is already a favorite among their inner-circle. “I have my cousins at home saying, ‘Yo, can I see that video again?’ — something they’ve never said before, and it’s just dope,” Sergio says.
Now that they have two years together, they’re able to look back and reflect on just what a wild ride it’s been since taping Boy Band back in 2017. “There’s a lot of bands who are together for a year, two years, even three years before releasing music,” Chance says. “We were on the show together, we didn’t know each other, and then we got put together and we didn’t know how to be artists yet, we didn’t know how to work with each other and we didn’t even really know each other. So these last two years have been learning how to do all of that with everyone watching us.”
Also in the interview, we talk about each guy’s musical upbringing (which runs the gamut from 6ix9ine to show tunes), their ongoing promo tour dates and much more.
On the rest of the show, we chat about Lil Nas X’s record-extending 18th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, NF’s chart-topping debut on the Billboard 200, and Ariana Grande’s new single “Boyfriend” with Social House.
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.)