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One Chance - conducted by Dru Hepkins  

One Chance

September 2006

The newly signed R&B group One Chance is a group of four very solid singers and entertainers. However, only time will tell if the industry is ready for another R&B boy group like Boys 2 Men, Jodeci, and New Edition. Despite what the verdict will be, these four young guys out of Chicago have a very compelling story of dedication and persistence. One Chance rehearsed, choreographed their dance steps, practiced, performed and sold cd's as the group they were signed as -- way before the record deal. They went from being broke, traveling around and performing in malls, to hustling their way up to being discovered by somebody named Usher; the hottest R&B star of this decade.

MVRemix: Describe how you were discovered by Usher and eventually signed to his label?

Courtney: We started off singing and selling our cd's in malls in Chicago, the subways and different places. We decided to take it to Atlanta.

MVRemix: Did you sell an impressive amount of cd's on your own?

Courtney: Not enough to get a deal or nothing, but enough to get a 16 passenger van to head to Atlanta.

MVRemix: So you were saying about being discovered by Usher?

Courtney: So we were doing the mall thing in Atlanta and met a dude who knew a dude who knew a dude who knew Usher. So we eventually performed for the staff for Usher's showcase. After 16 acts, they eventually signed us and Rico Love.

MVRemix: How long have you guys been out there doing it as Once Chance; this 4 person unit.

Courtney: We been together as One Chance for about 3 years.

MVRemix: Do you guys write or produce at all on your album?

Courtney: We help collaborate on a few things, but it's a first album so mainly there are producers we work with that have their own writers so we just work with them.

Michael: And when they gave us the songs, it's not like they just came in and said sing these songs. We sat down with them and they talked to us about what we want on the album and our journey and everything. So they wrote around our feelings and our story.

MVRemix: What's unique or special about One Chance?

Michael: I'd invite anyone to just close their eyes and think about that last group they remember they liked. We feel we have the harmony of Boys To Men, the stage presence of New Edition, the edge of Jodeci, and we'd like to have the longevity of the temptations. And we're trying to get back to the music that used to make people feel good.

Jon: And sometimes you got groups that can sing but can't perform or groups that perform but can't sing. We want to be the total package because we can sing and entertain.

MVRemix: Are you feeling contemporary music out now?

Courtney: Like my man Jon [of One Chance] said, there's a lot of hot singles, but not hot albums out today. It's been hard for R&B groups to come out with hit albums lately. And we don't have that group sound anymore where there's different voices on the track, then big group harmonies and just a group sound.

MVRemix: Any long term goals for you guys?

Jon: Well we want to go as far we can--- you know hit the icon status. Maybe one day hopefully we can receive a life time achievement award. But we're at the beginning stages right now so one day God willing we could win a Grammy or best new group off this first album. We're not trying to be a gimmick group----we really want to try and pick up we're the greats left off.

MVRemix: What should we expect at a One Chance show?

Courtney: We did a taping yesterday and they wanted us to lip-sync. We couldn't even perform because I might not do the same thing live that I would do on a record.

Jon: Live we'll do extra adlibs that aren't on the cd, we're a live group.

MVRemix: Many Pop and R&B acts now perform choreographed movement and lip-synching to live tape, how do you feel about that?

Jon: It's low but it's coming back with the Chris Browns, the Usher's and the Neyo's----but it's a process that's coming back slowly.

MVRemix: Did you guys grow up in the church, do you have a strong faith?

Jon: We all believe in God, we all grew up in the Church.

Michael: You got to have faith in God to even wake up every day.

Jon: Yeah, we pray before every show and we pray after every show.

MVRemix: Does your faith ever become an issue dealing with a lot of the negativity and worldly distractions that come with signing a deal.

Courtney: You always have road blocks and nobody's perfect. But we try to keep the faith. For the most part we're a group and that's why we're a group; we here to keep each other grounded and keep each other knowledgeable of what's going on.

MVRemix: Any memorable bad experiences?

Jon: Pretty much the whole beginning stages was a ride and a journey most people wouldn't take. A lot of people won't just get in a van with barely nothing, drive to a place you don't know and start performing or selling cd's for weeks and days.

Courtney: Yeah, Most people wouldn't walk in our shoes or sleep in our chairs [laughter]. We used to sleep in rows of chairs just like that. All night.

MVRemix: What was the motivation behind sticking with it?

Jon: Like Russell Simmons said once, "Persistence overcomes resistance". If we persist then something could happen, we also believe in our talent.

MVRemix: Any Inspirational words for other artists and groups trying to get in?

Courtney: Definitely. Keep the faith. And don't ever take no for an answer. When someone says no it don't mean no, it means try harder. Don't stop, follow your dreams and be persistent. It took a lot for us to get this so go out on a limb and do something.

Michael: We were just on tour with Lil Wayne and he told us to never put your head down in this industry, always hold your head. The only time you put your head down is when you have to and that's when you die. We got a chance to holla at him so I just want to pass that on to everyone else.

MVRemix: With getting your deal, who was the person that was passionate about you guys and knew you had something and pushed you?

Courtney: It was Usher. He took the chance and it started the night of the showcase. We came to him polished and he saw that.

Jon: We weren't even supposed to perform. We were supposed to drop a little cd off and then they were prolly gonna just shun us off. But we just went in there and sang acapella on the spot. They were saying, "Yeah, we'll get back with you." So we just started singing. They had to listen. Then they had to put us in the showcase after that.

MVRemix: Any parting words?

Jon: We're just 4 humble guys out of Chicago, down to earth, from the hood. If you want to do something just put your mind to it. Don't allow anyone to knock your dream. Just have faith in yourself, faith in God and just go hard.

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"Yeah, most people wouldn't walk in our shoes or sleep in our chairs [laughter]. We used to sleep in rows of chairs just like that. All night."