The release of Forever in a Day, the sophomore album from Brian “Angel” Andrews, Mike “Butta” McCluney, Qwanell “Q” Mosley, Robert Curry and Willie Taylor, signified a new beginning for the Bad Boy recording artists, collectively known as Day 26. Gone were the days when the guys felt they had something to prove.
“I don’t think people expected to hear what they heard on the first album,” said Brian. It felt kind of good, you know, being around our peers, people like Usher, Ne-Yo, and so on and so forth, give us the respect that they gave us,” he continued. “Because I got approached by a whole lot of people, and they’re like, ‘Yo, ya’ll album is ridiculous; I wasn’t expecting that.’ So yeah, we did have a whole lot to prove, but I’m kind of pleased at how the first album came out.”
Although the group was put together using the oft-scrutinized method of a reality show, the individual journeys of the members of Day 26 to successful singing careers started long before Making the Band. “A lot of people don’t know that the grind just didn’t start when the cameras cut on; the grind started many, many, many years before this,” said Brian.
Taking it a step further, Willie spent 10 years as a member of Kwiet Storm, whose video, “Leave Me Alone,” made the rounds at BET, appearing on Midnight Love, Hits from the Streets, and 106 & Park. After breaking from the group to pursue a solo career, Willie worked with established artists such as Ginuwine, Joe, and Avant.
Not to be outdone by the prolific past of his bandmate, Robert was a member of the Biv 10 Pee Wee All Stars during his early teens, a group put together by Michael Bivins of the legendary R&B group New Edition. Years later, Curry formed D.A.T. (Definition of a True Group), eventually catching the attention of Wyclef Jean who signed them to his label in 2002. After D.A.T. disbanded a few years later, Curry remained under Wyclef’s wing working for his label as a writer. Other members of Day 26 boast similar stories, but nevertheless, it was the Diddy helmed television show that ultimately thrust them into the realm of R & B superstardom.
Brian, Robert, Michael, Willie, and Q set off on the road to reality show infamy by attending a casting call for Making the Band 4. As with any other reality show, drama and angst ensued with Diddy handpicking the guys for the group during the season finale on August 26, 2007, the date from which they took their name. The comparisons to their Bad Boy predecessors, 112, began almost immediately, but were embraced by the group. “Off top, we knew we were going to get that because of course, you know, Bad Boy,” said Brian. “But to be compared to a group like 112, that’s flattering; it’s almost an honor because 112 was an amazing group.”
Along with Day 26, Diddy offered a solo deal to blue-eyed soul crooner Donnie Klang, with whom the guys are rumored to have since fallen out with. And although those rumors were most likely triggered by a recent interview during which Michael said “f*** him” in reference to Donnie, the guys are quick to downplay any talk of friction with their labelmate and fellow Making the Band alum. “I can speak for myself and actually for Willie when I say we never had beef with Donnie,” said Brian.
“No not at all,” Willie added.
“I think the whole situation was kind of blown out of proportion,” Brian continued. “There was some things said that were kind of misunderstood, but I can speak for myself, and me and Willie, we talk about this all the time. We didn’t take it that way, but other people did, but everything is good now. Donnie is our unofficial sixth member ‘cause Donnie has been there the whole entire time. Everything is good.”
Season 2 of Making the Band 4 followed Day 26 as they recorded their self-titled debut album, which went on to sell over 400,000 copies – a huge success considering the fragile state of the music industry; particularly R&B, a genre some say died long ago, but Willie begs to differ. “They must not have a Day 26 album,” he said. “You can’t have a Day 26 album and say that.”
Despite their unapologetic confidence, in light of the reputation that Diddy has acquired in recent years of not having the best interests of his artists in mind, and the talk of Bad Boy being a label where careers often falter (bolstered by Yung Joc’s recent revelation that he wants to be released from the label), the question must be asked whether the guys fear falling to the wayside like some of the artists from the Bad Boy of yesterday. “I can’t really live my life based on the past,” said Willie.
“Business is business,” added Brian. “A lot of artists tend to get caught up in people’s names, and ‘oh, this is Diddy, so I’m going to go ahead and sign this deal.’ That’s the difference between other artists and Day 26, we’re very adamant about our business, we don’t do anything unless the business is right,” Brian continued. “I definitely don’t agree with a lot of things that’s said about Diddy. Honestly, dude is a very humble guy. Of course off top at first, I was real hesitant about doing this whole situation, but I prayed about it, and the Good Lord said this is where I’m supposed to be, and that’s why I’m here now. At the end of the day, it’s a business, and we all have an equal opportunity to go out and get attorneys and make sure our paperwork is right. Now, that’s up to the artist to choose whether or not they want to do that. A lot of these artists rush to do things just because of who a person is, or just to hurry up and get on, but me, and what I mean by me is my group, we’re all about if the paperwork ain’t right, we ain’t moving forward. If the black and white is not right, it’s not for us.”
Having proven themselves as recording artists and songwriters, the gentlemen of Day 26 are working on other projects independent of the group. Brian will tackle the role of executive as CEO of his recently launched record label. “I have a record company now by the name of Ambassador Way Entertainment,” he said. “And I have a Hip-Hop group getting ready to drop real soon by the name of Cash In Associates.”
Willie has similar plans, albeit in a different industry. “I’m doing a clothing line right now called Rip It Off Clothing,” said Willie. “It’s a female clothing line, and right now, we’re just getting a whole bunch of samples and looking at a whole bunch of different designs. I really want to make sure anything I put my name behind has staying power.”
With five individuals pursuing their own distinct paths, and with the current trend for bands being each member ventures off to do solo projects, Day 26 fans maybe concerned that their favorite boy band will ultimately do the same.
“Right now, it’s all about Day 26,” said Willie. “At one point in our careers, who knows? If we all agree on it, then we’ll do it, because we’re all strong enough to do it, but right now, it’s all about Day 26,” he continued. “Building this brand and making it as strong as it can be, because trust and believe, nobody’s solo album will go anywhere if Day 26 albums don’t sell. Trust and believe and keep it moving – it’s Day 26 we riding out.”
In other words, all paths lead back to Day 26.
Written by Mara The Hip-Hop Socialite