A member of a 90s boy band has done a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session, and his insights are FASCINATING.
Kevin Yee was signed to the Warner Bros music label from 1998 – 2000 as part of a boy band called ‘Youth Asylum’ (Yee is on the far-left with the standard 90s bleached hair):
They released one single called ‘Jasmin’ that was mildly popular, but they were dropped by their label before the full album came out. Here’s the (very, very 90s) single:
Yee was a teenager at the time, and says the group basically spent the entire two years touring the US in a van, making appearances at high schools and shopping centres. Then, one day, they were all just sent home. And that was that.
What he has to say about how the band formed, where they lived, how the label tried to hide his homosexuality… It’s a captivating read. We’ve narrowed down the most interesting questions and answers:
Did you make the band yourself? Or …?
Nope! We all auditioned into the group. The group was already signed to a label before any of the group members were chosen. Our manager pitched to the label a “multi-ethnic boy band”. Then we all auditioned and were chosen from there. We ended up being from all over North America and we were never really friends before, during, or after.
How much money did you personally make from being in this band?
About $4000 over three years. I came out in debt….It’s pretty usual for the recording industry. It’s not like other industries where you’re paid. It’s more like the label is a bank and gives you a loan and you eventually have to pay it back. So I probably wouldn’t have made any money until we sold a couple million albums and paid back our advance money and paid all the songwriters and producers and paid for all of our tours etc….
Was the debt due to you being in the group or unrelated matters?
The debt was from being in the group for three years and making no money. Although housing was provided, it was from other things like day to day life. We weren’t always provided with food or non-performance clothing especially when were weren’t on tour. My mom ended up paying for a lot of my living expenses.
Because of the circumstances that your group came together – everyone auditioning separately, you didn’t know each other – did you and the other band members get along well? Did you interact at all outside of work, so to speak? And do you still keep in touch with any of them?
We didn’t really fight but I wouldn’t say we really got along as a group. I think some of us were forced to become friends since we were living in such close quarters and there was no one else around. Very few of us were from Los Angeles (where we were based) so they rented us a two bedroom apartment where six of us and a chaperone lived. So we had to get very uncomfortably close very fast. There wasn’t really any “outside of work” since we were all in our teens and couldn’t really go anywhere unescorted. Basically, we spent three years in that apartment unless we were touring or recording. None of us have kept in touch except through Facebook… and even then I have most of them hidden from my feed ;P