- How did the four members of CitizenFour meet?
CARSON: When David Massey, the President of Island Records got the idea of creating a group, there were a large number of auditions held, and we were the prevailing four. However, we didn’t meet until quite a while into the audition process. for the first time was in Tim Byrnes living room. (with the exception of Conner. Conner is my brother. I have known him for a long time.) It was incredibly awkward at first, but we all get along fabulously now and are excited about what is in store for out future as a band!
CONNER: Our manager, Tim Byrne, knew Josh and Austin from being on the X-Factor tv show, and found my brother and me off of youtube.
AUSTIN: Island Records was scouting singers to assemble a diverse band – with individual stories and backgrounds the four of us met in LA to get to know each other & miraculously signed months later!
JOSH: Basically, Island Records wanted a bomb boy band not like any other idea of a boyband and the four guys met through the process of Island Records finding them all.
- If you had to describe your sound for someone who hasn’t heard it before, how would you describe it?
CARSON: If i had to describe our sound, the only word that could do the job is awesome.
CONNER: I would say be are everything you wouldn’t expect from a boyband. Its pop/r&b with a tough of rhythmic. To be honest, we are trying to make a sound that is completely our own and new to everyone.
AUSTIN: Citizen Four’s sound is made up of four unique voices that blend between harmonies & soulful/rhythmic tracks
JOSH: Our sound is a combination of sexiness, edginess, darkness, authenticity, and contemporary, and soulful music.
- How did you each start writing and recording music?
CARSON: I started writing music as a hobby about 4 years ago with my friends. It turned into something i really enjoyed and loved to do as a way of expressing myself. So i really started focusing more on it and began to realize that i was actually pretty good at it. The singing side of things is just something I’ve always loved to do. I feel incredibly blessed, or lucky, or whatever you want to call it to be a part of something that allows me to potentially be able do both of these things not only for fun, but for a living.
CONNER: I actually didn’t start writing and recording music till I was 19 and moved to LA for this group. Being a singer was always my dream, but being from Iowa, that always sounded too unrealistic to me. My first time standing behind a mic and recording was actually the first time we ever recorded a song together as a group!
AUSTIN: I started writing when I was a kid through poetry. Rhymes and rhythm came really natural to me, which eventually led to writing in studios/signing to tracks
JOSH: The first time I ever recorded in a studio (Josh) was when I was 8 in Houston, Texas. I moved to LA four years ago prior to XFactor–pursued a career–wrote and released songs, and performed around the world.
- Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CARSON: I have quite a broad spectrum of musical influences, from Tim McGraw to Mike Posner to Eminem, plus like fifty more in between. its kinda weird.
CONNER: My biggest influences are definitely my parents. I couldn’t ask for better role models. Musically, I grew up listening to tons of country so my country influences would have to be Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, and Luke Bryan. For everything else, I’m influenced by Zayn, Rihanna, Drake, Miguel, Chris Brown, and Michl.
AUSTIN: Musical influences include John Mayer, Michael Jackson, Jon Bellion, Years & Years … Non Musical influences include author, Don Miguel Ruiz & Astrology
JOSH: Josh – in terms of musical influences, it’d have to be Miguel, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Zayn, and Frank Ocean. Non musical would be, Jesse Williams, Jaden Smith, Amandla Stenberg, Barack and Michelle Obama, and my friend Yara Shahidi.
- You recently signed with Island Records, what was that process like?
CARSON: Signing with Island was definitely top 5 coolest things that I have done so far in life
CONNER: It was the most exciting process I have ever been through! It was fun getting to know the guys and everyone that we were going to be working with in the future. The actual day we signed was super fun. We all met up at our managers house and did the paperwork at the same time!
AUSTIN: The process was unreal. To sign with any label in 2016 is really unimaginable, but it feels especially fitting to sign with Island for this project. The process was intimidating knowing how credible Islands roster and reputation is, but even more inspiring because of how much talent we are being surrounded by.
JOSH: It was a really exciting and crazy process. We all officially signed together at out manager–Tim’s–house and got to meet with a lot of our label mates and team in New York.
- You’ve done a few covers of some really notable songs, how do you choose what you decide to cover?
CARSON: We try to choose the songs strategically by trying to guess which song is going to be the hottest when we release it so it gets the most searches and views.
CONNER: We usually choose based off of what all of us have been listening to,
AUSTIN: Our covers are always a collective effort to try and select the song that best fits all of our voices. It’s a collaboration between us and the producers to achieve the best objective sound.
JOSH: I think we all say to ourselves, “Rihanna is never a bad idea” and chose her two songs as our first two covers and also just listen to what fans may want us to cover 🙂
- What’s your go-to summer song?
CARSON: This summer’s go to song for me so far is “The Ocean” by Mike Perry. My go to summer song of all time is probably “Something Like That” by Tim McGraw.
CONNER: Ocean Eyes – Billie Eilish
AUSTIN: Perfect Strangers by JP Cooper & Jonas Blue
JOSH: Josh’s go to summer song would have to be either “Work” by Rihanna, “Sorry” by Beyoncé, or “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony.
- What’s a dream collaboration for CitizenFour?
CARSON: A dream collaboration of Citizen Four is The Weeknd
CONNER: I think it would be different for all of us. Personally, my dream collaboration would have to be Zayn Malik, or Rihanna because she’s been killing it for the past like 10 years.
AUSTIN: -Rihanna ft. C4 !!
JOSH: I think amazing artist’s like The Weeknd, Zayn, or Nick Jonas would be a crazy cool and dope collaboration
- Two of you are X-Factor alums, what was that process like? Did it influence the future direction of your career?
AUSTIN: -The process was grueling but educating. It gave me the insight into the industry at a young age so that I could navigate right through the bull & go straight for the horns ☺
JOSH: For me (Josh) it helped me to feel fearless in everything I do. I was 14 turning 15 and solo so it was super awesome yet emotional and so much pressure. Often times I wasn’t sure how I would jump the hurdles I did in front of America like I was blessed to do. I think it may have influenced my future career in that it helped me to have the fan base I have for things like YouTube and other social media, as well as gave me the sense and growth of individuality as an artist.
- What’s next for CitizenFour in 2016?
CARSON: What’s next for Citizen Four in 2016 is singing songs, pushing boundaries, and exceeding expectations.
CONNER: Keep writing, recording, release a single asap, and keep working our way towards and EP and Album.
AUSTIN: C4 will be in the studio, performing, and getting to know our fans!
JOSH: AMAZING. music. we are really excited about, collaborations with familiar faces, and …
- Favorite cover you’ve ever recorded?
CARSON: My favorite cover overall that we’ve done so far is probably “Cold Water” by Major Laser ft. Justin Bieber, but i also think “Needed Me” by Rihanna is cool as well because it shows off some more harmonies, which is a key part of out group. We can all individually sing really well. So we like to make sure we show case that with each cover or original song that we do.
CONNER: Cold Water – Justin Bieber
AUSTIN: -Lego House by Ed Sheeran
JOSH: Needed Me – Rihanna
- Song you’re ashamed to admit you’re obsessed with?
CARSON: I don’t know if I’m embarrassed of any song that I’m obsessed with, but I’ve definitely have some questionable songs of choice. For the longest time, i had “Let it Go” from the Frozen soundtrack on repeat on my workout playlist. I would just be running down the sidewalk on a jog belting it at the top of my lungs. there were some interesting looks exchanged, but thats other peoples problem, not mine.
CONNER: I don’t have a specific song I’m ashamed to admit I’m obsessed with, but a song I am proud to admit I’m obsessed with would be Die Trying – Michl!
AUSTIN: -What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber
JOSH: Wild – Troye Sivan
- East Coast or West Coast?
CARSON: West Coast, with frequent visits to the East Coast. BAM
CONNER: West for sure
AUSTIN: -EAST COAST 4 LiFFe
JOSH: West Coast
- If you could go back in time to any live performance, who would you see?
CARSON: Johnny Cash all the way
CONNER: Michael Jackson
AUSTIN: -Michael Jackson – Rock With You / Man In The Mirror
JOSH: Michael Jackson at the Superbowl
- Music festival you HAVE to perform at?
CARSON: A festival that plays every variety of music and has the highest amount of pretty girls.
CONNER: LOLLAPALOOZA WOULD BE A DREAM COME TRUE!
AUSTIN: Outside Lands