Building a Band – Four Hot Boys and a Musical ‘Svengali’

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Orlando, Florida – What started as a conversation at a party has transformed four individual singers into one of the world’s most promising male vocal groups and led them on a path from Melbourne, Australia half way across the world to Orlando, Florida in the United States. Here, in the city best known for the magical theme parks of Disney, the group has worked with the multi-platinum producer and songwriter Gary Carolla, a musical “Svengali” who played a key role in the development of Backstreet Boys, Nsync and other pop sensations.

When brothers Cameron and Clayton Driessen met Anthony Plitt and Kevin Layton at a party in 2005, they learned that they shared the same passion and gift for singing, they all had vocal training and aspired to pursue their dreams of performing in front of stadiums full of screaming fans around the globe. After spontaneously singing together at the party, they discovered that their voices created a unique sound. The group now known as A440 was born.

The guys had no idea of the whirlwind that would follow once forming the group, which they initially called Project Platinum. Cameron, 21 used his background as a graphic designer to create a promotional poster. They started performing at live venues all around Melbourne, Australia before they received their first monumental break that has propelled their career in such a short time.

They heard about Carolla through his past hits and his work with Backstreet Boys and Nsync. “We sent him an email but never expected to hear back from him” Cameron Driessen said. “Then a short time later, he wrote back and requested photos, bios and mp3s. We also mailed him a video of a live performance to make sure that the image matched the voices.”

Carolla was impressed with what he heard and saw. He thought that the group needed polishing, and he was the ideal person who could help them reach the objectives of success in the music world.

“Because of the people I have worked with in the industry, I receive lots of e-mails from groups and individual artists who are looking for a break,” Carolla said. “When I listened to what they (A440) sent, and when I watched the video, I felt they had the look, sound and charisma to be a success.

“I sent them four songs that I wrote, and asked the guys to learn them.” Carolla added.

“They sang the songs over the phone and once we determined which guy sounded best in specific parts, it was time for them to come to Orlando and cut a demo CD so we could shop for a record deal.”

As the members of A440 discovered, Carolla is more than a typical record producer. The experience in Orlando extended beyond just recording four songs for a demo CD. It was a boot camp that exposed A440 to in-depth vocal training, choreography work and life skills education from a man who helped shape the careers of groups and recording artists who Cameron, Clayton, Anthony and Kevin consider their musical influences.

“I’ve been through the process of building successful groups and I am passing that knowledge on to the guys of A440,” Carolla said. “I’m showing them what it takes to get there, and how to act when they reach success.”

In Orlando – where millions of tourists each year flock to Disney World – the members of A440 spent most of their days and nights working on their vocals and choreography, and absorbing Carolla’s guidance about life as an artist.

“They have a great attitude, humility and a lot of drive. They are eager to learn and are receptive to all the vocal training and choreography work.” Carolla said about the members of A440. “They have the look, the sound and the charismatic personalities that will make them a successful group.

“Each guy has his own traits that make the group diverse and entertaining,” Carolla added. Cameron has great musical abilities and knowledge. Kevin has experience performing with other groups, and he is adept at dancing and singing. Clayton is the baby of the group that the girls will go crazy over and Anthony has the bad boy look who brings a different element.”

With wide-ranging musical influences, A440 is creating its own identity that is different from the traditional male vocal groups.

“We have developed chemistry and camaraderie which translates onto the stage.” Anthony Plitt said. “Our different styles blend together to make a great sound – a different sound.

“We want to make great records that parents will be happy for their kids to buy, as we want to be positive role models for the younger generation. Our music is filled with great pop melodies with today’s dance influences.”

Jeff Louderback is an American writer who covers news about business and economy