mytown Boys

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, a city which has spawned a wealth of musical talent, mytown are another impressive Irish group to make a splash on the music scene. Though many people might take a glance at these four young, good-looking guys who sing and instantly tag them a "boy band," there's a lot more to them than meets the eye. On their pop/R&B self-titled debut album, which they co-wrote, Marc Sheehan, Paul Walker, Terry Daly and Danny O'Donoghue are proving that they're no cookie-cutter studio production. "We're a fun band but at the same time we have a lot of depth," says Danny.

Since they first got together in 1996 at the now-defunct Digges Lane performing arts school in Dublin, mytown have had a singular goal-to make music that pleased themselves as much as their listeners. It all began with Marc, who's a well-known choreographer. He was teaching hip-hop dancing at Digges when he met Paul, a former actor who's appeared in Irish TV shows and films. The two discussed wanting to put together a group but wanted to find the right blend for their budding band. Terry, a graphic design student, also had a similar goal in mind. Danny, the youngest member, was the last to join mytown. The group got together and began harmonizing and writing their own songs. "We said, 'We can sing, we can dance, we can play-we can do all that, let's give it a shot," Marc explains. Not only talented songwriters, the guys also play instruments-Marc and Terry are guitarists, Danny plays "absolutely everything," and Paul plays the piano.

Insistent on coming up with a name that fit them perfectly, the guys were inspired one day while sitting on a Dublin rooftop. " We looked around at Dublin and said, 'This is where we're from, this is our town.' 'Our town' didn't seem to wash at the time. So, we said, mytown. No one will have a clue what it means but it's a name that will grow with us."

Before getting their record deal, the group recorded and released their own single, "Do It Like This". Before long, they had earned a loyal fan base. At a record label showcase in New York, Cherry Entertainment and Universal Records recognized the group's talent and promptly signed them. Rather than congratulating themselves by resting on their laurels, mytown instead built a studio in the back of Marc's house (which they call the Madhouse). "We locked ourselves away for three months and just wrote and wrote songs," says Marc. "It was great. The writing process kind of happened very naturally for us."

An A-list of producing/writing talent-from Teddy Riley to members of Boyz II Men contributed to the album. For Paul, Marc, Terry and Danny, who are all major fans of Riley and the Boyz, getting to work with them was a major coup. "While recording in Los Angeles, we found out that Boyz II Men were in town filming a video," says Marc. The fearless four then made their way down to the set, where they not only met the multi-platinum group but were asked to sing for them. "We nearly died, their being the harmony gods of the world," recalls Marc. A month later, they were in a Philadelphia studio writing and recording tracks for the album with the soulful superstars. The result of their collaborative studio sessions are tender ballads including " Lifetime Affair" (produced by Wanya Morris) and "The Day"(produced by Shawn Stockman).

Famed producer and BLACKSTREET member Teddy Riley came on board after a similar chance meeting. "When we were in Virginia, Riley's home base, we decided to take a chance and knock on his door." Just like that. "We have a motto: Whoever we get into a room, they'll work with us eventually," jokes Marc. After playing him some tracks, Riley signed on to produce the groove filled party song "Body Bumpin'," the new jack swinger "C'mon Everybody" and urban-cool remake of the 1980's Wham classic "Everything She Wants." mytown were originally resistant to doing a cover, but in Riley's magical hands, the song became a pure original.

The experience of recording their first album was no simple task for mytown. Working with such musical heavy-weights on mytown (other contributors on the album include Narada Michael Walden, who's crafted hits for artists Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston) took them all over the globe. Recording in San Francisco, Virginia, Philadelphia, and England, the whole process spanned ten months. But it was completely worth it for these perfectionists. "It took a while to record mainly because we wanted to get it right," explains Terry.

Their various influences, from Michael Jackson to Boyz II Men to the Bee Gees, inspired some of the music created during these marathon-penning parties. "The album has a variation of romantic ballads, mid-tempo grooves and fast street songs," says Terry. From the acoustic-driven gem "Girl In Tears" to the funky flavor of "I Like Your Style," mytown flows through many moods. The romantic track "Love Sent Angel," Terry's favorite, incorporates strings and cello instrumentation, while "Body Bumpin'," the album's first single, is perfect for the dance-floor.

Already earning a name for themselves in the U.K. (the group has even performed in Bosnia at the request of the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson), mytown are ready to take on America. "We can't wait to get out there and perform. That's one thing this band is all about, the live performance is as important to us as the music." says Terry. Danny adds simply, "It's a dream come true."

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