Wesley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg, and Drew Chadwick are the new band, Emblem3. They auditioned for X Factor, where they wowed Simon Cowell with their original performance of “Sunset Blvd.” but they failed to make the finals. That didn’t stop them since they amassed 15 million YouTube views and fans all over the world. Their first album, Nothing to Lose, was just released in September. Read on to hear from Drew Chadwick about his life in a popular band.
Q: Could you describe your two band mates?
Drew: Keaton is the more studious of us three. I mean, obviously we’re all really silly sometimes, but he can be more studious and doesn’t like to get in trouble or go on any crazy, epic adventures really. He likes to keep everything pretty secure. Wesley is kind of in the middle. He’s down to go on adventures and stuff, but he’s not too edgy, not too crazy.
Q: What surprised you the most about the whole record industry?
Drew: Um…hmm.…ahh! No! Brain, work! Stop. I don’t want to be in the “I don’t know” mood. I have this one side of me where I can just talk freely with no barriers. And then I have this other side of me that’s just like, “I don’t really know.” What surprised me the most? It’s probably how well connected everybody is on the inner circle. There’s this inner circle of pop music that you almost have to be accepted into it. Really weird. Everyone knows each other. Everyone works with each other. They take these artists and then they sign them to the labels and then the labels have deals with other companies and stuff. I think one thing that surprised me is how little the music actually has to do with it. Obviously, if you have really dope, unique, cool music and you have your own style as an artist and stuff, that’s going to boost you up there.
Q: On Nothing to Lose, which song means the most to you and why?
Drew: Good question. There’s the ballad, obviously, which is “3000 Miles.” That one is about being free and being on the road. And, like, I don’t get to see my friends. I don’t get to see my family anymore. I left the nest, you know, and I’m out experiencing this strange world, which is really cool but at the same time, I miss all of them.
Q: Your writing process . . .do all three of you write?
Drew: Yeah actually. Independently we’re all our own artists and we all write our own music and stuff, but collectively sometimes we come together and write. I think I’m the main writer, and I think the other guys will agree, but, I mean, we all write stuff together.
Who was your very first celebrity crush?
Drew: My first celebrity crush was Cameron Diaz. I remember it. I was super young and the movie The Mask had just came out. And I was just like . . . I’d never seen anything so beautiful. I was just like, “Wow. Women.” Like, “Girls. What?” But I was young, you know. I was, like, three.
Do you have any like secret talent that nobody knows about?
Drew: I’m trying to think of. . . Oh, I skate. You know, like I’m really good at skateboarding.
Where did you grow up?
Drew: I actually grew up in Washington State. The majority of the world thinks I grew up in Huntington Beach, so that’s fine. But I lived in Huntington Beach. I left school senior year in Washington and just moved to Orange County and lived down there. I skated everywhere down there. But Washington is where I learned how to skate.
Is it true that a fan gave you guys a dog named Sampson?
Drew: Yeah, we got a little puppy sent to us randomly in a little crate, and we were like, “What the . . .?” We opened up the crate and then out comes this little puppy and there’s a note in there from Brazil and a certificate. It was crazy. The girl that sent us the dog is this really cool girl. And it’s so weird how it worked out because I’m friends with her now. She’s really cool. Me and her actually were hanging out a little bit ago and this bird was just laying on the ground it was hurt and we tried to save it. We went on this crazy adventure and then we finally got it to the vet and they were like, “Ok. The surgery for it is going to be $550 and we don’t know if it’s going to work or not.” They basically said, “Just leave it here and then we’re going to put him to sleep. So the bird was passed back into the source of the universe.
Do you guys have any pre-stage rituals that you do?
Drew: Before every show, we all put our hands together in the middle and we’ll find some crazy thing and go, “One, two, three, flower power!” and we’ll all yell it. We always find something weird to do. Me and Wesley will always work out before we go on stage. We’ll get our blood pumping so we look all buff and then we’ll go out and tear it up.
What is the tour bus like?
Drew: Well, the little back area of the tour bus is my little sanctuary. It’s my little temple. I come back here, get in the right state of mind, do some yoga, play some guitar, stretch out and just kick it back here. Sometimes it gets trashed though, which I can’t stand. But it’s crazy living on a tour bus. It’s something that not a lot of people will get to experience. Personally, I like to stay in one spot usually, but if I was completely comfortable all the time, then what’s the point? So I like being on the road. I like to keep moving and working and building whatever we’re building.
Is there any like one place in the world you’d love to go that you haven’t been?
Drew: I want to go see everything. New Zealand honestly is one place I’m really excited to see. I want to go experience cultures. I don’t want to just go to these countries and stay in nice hotels or anything like that. I want to go down into the streets and experience that stuff too. The world is at our fingertips so we can go anywhere we want to go.
Where were you the first time you heard “Chloe” on the radio?
Drew: I was on the bus with the guys and we were on a long drive and all of a sudden, we hear “Chlooooee.” We were all like, “What? That’s crazy.” We were all really tired, so we were trying to freak out, but we were all half-asleep so we were like, “Yeah.” It was really cool though.
If you could create an ice cream, what would you put in it and what would you name it?
Drew: You know the planet Saturn? I would take those rings and make ice cream out of it and I would call it Saturn Sherbet.
Do you have any first day of school memories?
Drew: I remember going into sixth grade. That was a big jump from elementary school to middle school. Since I had an older sister, she knew everybody and when I showed up my first day of school, I was wearing all my little skater clothes and stuff, and all the older kids were like, “What’s up, Drew?” My dad was this baseball coach in little league, so they knew him. Everyone was super-chill and nice to me and it made me feel so cool.
Interview by Marie Morreale