It’s been more than four years since The Wanted announced that they would be going on a hiatus following their world tour in 2014, and unfortunately for fans, there hasn’t been much of a hint of a reunion in that time. On the bright side, their layover has persisted because the Wanted guys (Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes) have each been pursuing their own solo endeavors — all of which are either singing or acting gigs.
Perhaps most notably, George appeared on Season 6 of Glee in 2015, and Sykes released a solo album titled Unfinished Business in November 2016. And as British fans are well aware, McGuiness was crowned the winner of the UK equivalent of Dancing With the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, in December 2015.
But without much word from Parker and Kaneswaran (aside from the occasional Instagram post) and not much else from George, Sykes and McGuinness in the last couple years, The Wanted fans are eagerly waiting to hear from at least one of them. Never fear: Billboard managed to get in touch with all five Wanted guys, and it sounds like the wait may not be much longer.
While there’s seemingly no official Wanted reunion in the works yet, George, Sykes, McGuinness, Parker and Kaneswaran have all been hard at work on their own careers. (And George and Sykes both say there have been talks of some form of eventual Wanted reunion, which you can read all about in our oral history of the group.) Take a look at what each member had to say, in their own words, about what they’ve been up to since their hiatus — and what fans can look forward to soon.
“The whole experience I had with The Wanted, traveling around the world, meeting all new people, fans, it was all such a high. So when it kind of ended, it took me maybe three, four months. I kind of felt a little bit lost, to be honest. I went from all this craziness and the stuff I couldn’t have even dreamed of had happened. Then all of a sudden, it was just not there anymore. These guys I’d grown so close to for so long, they were no longer around. It was kind of difficult, actually, for me — a panic just came on. I spent some time with my family and discussed what it was I wanted to do. Maybe four months later, I decided to move out to the U.S. and made a go of acting, have a break from music.
I moved to LA in the summer of 2014, and the day after I got there, I got on audition for Glee. I landed the role — it was supposed to be for one episode, and then I ended up doing the whole season 6, which was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I got to work with Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele. While I was doing that, I got an offer to do music again.
I decided that it’d been a year since I’d done anything musically — I felt, I’ve done one acting stint, and I kind of fancy going back into music again. I felt music always has been my No. 1, music was always going to happen. It was either acting or singing, and that was it for me, really. I didn’t really think about anything else.
So, I started writing again. I signed a record deal. I’ve been working on my own music for nearly three years now. It’s kind of both. I think whenever I did stuff for The Wanted, whether I wrote or just performed, it always kind of felt very “me” anyway. I think there’s definitely something new there. But I’ve worked with so many amazing people, I’ve gone back to people I worked with during The Wanted. I’ve done a lot with Steve Mac and Ed Drewett, who did “Glad You Came.” I’ve worked a lot with Jason Derulo, who’s awesome, I’ve become a good friend of his over the last couple years.
I’m really excited. I’ve got no expectations, I just wanna see what happens. Put it out there, then if people like it, then all is good. And there’s some auditions on the way, of course, I’ve had to turn down a couple of movie roles just for timing purposes. We’re still finishing off, we’re just putting the finishing touches on a few things, but hopefully it should be [out] this summer.”
“I remember having a conversation with my mom [after the break began]. I was in the kitchen, finished the call when we all agreed to go on a break. She came out to me and was like, ‘What do you want to do?’ I was like, ‘I want to make music.’ And she was like, ‘What’s stopping you?’ So thank you mom, for the great advice. [Laughs.] That was the transition for me — The Wanted is on a break. I’m going to do what I enjoy doing, which is making music and seeing where it takes me. Especially for me, that took me on a path that I’ve never been happier.
I feel the Wanted was a mix of all five of our musical interests and our musical tastes. So when we were writing songs, I was personally, as a songwriter, I was writing for five voices — I wasn’t just writing for myself — and hoping that they could sing what I was writing. I’m making very different choices as a soloist. We were very much writing as a collection. I always say I was 20 percent of The Wanted, but 100 percent of myself.
I’m just writing album two at the moment. It’s a very exciting time for me. Unfinished Business was a statement of my intention sonically and where I wanted to go as an artist, what path I wanted to take as an artist, I think Unfinished Business very much did that. I’m still getting messages, people still discovering it and people who weren’t necessarily fans of The Wanted.
I’m very happy writing the second record. I go back and forth to LA, doing writing sessions, things like that, and I’ve been writing here in London. So it’s just getting everything together and I’m really solidifying the sounds and really just telling my story from the last year and a half. That’s very much me at the moment. I’m a bit of a recluse when I’m doing my writing. [Laughs.] So I’ve kind of tucked myself away as much as possible.
The sounds I’ve created for the second record, it’s a progression from the first record and I’m so, so excited about it. I think I’m looking at [releasing it] this year or early next year. There was a lot of brass [on Unfinished Business], so it’s kind of expanding on that, and also showing the dynamics across the album. Lyrically, it’s just very honest, which is what I always try to be. It’s as honest as I possibly can be.”
Thanks Portsmouth Guildhall! We had an AMAZING couple jiving at the front of the audience today, it was such a pleasure to share that experience with them and everyone in the room. Dance can really bring people together… as can exhaustion, and with that note I’m off to my bed. @ripituptheshow besos!
“I’m a thespian, darling! No seriously, I appeared on — and somehow won — Strictly Come Dancing in the U.K., and since then I’ve been singing and dancing and acting for a living. I had my first theater role playing Josh Baskin in the musical version of the Tom Hanks film, BIG, which was loads of fun. And I’ve done a couple of song and dance shows recently. I’ve got a couple of projects that we are working on now for next year, so keeping nice and busy.
I was at a performing arts college when I auditioned for the band, so I always had a song and dance career in my mind somewhere. Didn’t get much opportunity to dance in the band — well zero, actually. We were awful collectively, so it’s nice to have picked that up again.”
“I took a little second after we took a hiatus to figure out what was important to me. Traveling away was such a big part of the band, so I’ve mainly been concentrating on doing things that suit being closer to home. I’ve done a few TV appearances and undertook my first U.K. theater role last year, playing Danny Zuko in Grease, which was a lot of fun.
I genuinely had no idea I would have taken a theater role seven years ago. It was totally not on my radar, but I think that’s the beauty of this industry. It presents you with opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone.”
“There are two things Im focusing on which the fans know, because they know everything [Laughs]. My two loves — music and acting.
I am currently working hard in the studio. I have been songwriting for other artists, and now living in Los Angeles has opened the door for me to creating music for the movies. Studying the art of acting has allowed me to express myself in a different way and use my influence for more good. I was recently cast in a movie titled Where We Go From Here, which addresses important issues regarding gun violence — which I am very proud to bring awareness to. Later this year, I will also be filming a movie which is top secret for now, but i can not wait to share with you all!
I’ve always loved entertaining people and being in the band allowed me to do this. I felt so lucky to have been able to creatively express myself while making fans feel good.”