Welcome to the latest music sensation to sweep social media, with enough members to make your head spin. Now United, a global pop group of 14 youngsters — each from a different country, brought together by ‘American Idol’ creator Simon Fuller in 2017 — were in Dubai on October 1 at the launch of Pepsi Black in DIFC. Despite their ostentatious size, the bubbly band — who range in age between 16-23 — executed a well-choreographed and intimate show for a few lucky fans, striking one date off their ongoing branded world tour.
Ahead of their performance, four members — Shivani Paliwal (India), Noah Urrea (USA), Heyoon Jeong (South Korea) and Krystian Wang (China) — sat down with Gulf News tabloid! to take on The Black Box challenge (scan our QR code for the video), revealing their most outrageous fan encounters and dishing on possible new members.
How do you fit so many big personalities into one big band?
Krystian: This is actually such a good question. I feel like whenever you’re in a band, try to be different. So, each one of us has a different individual view of our career, of our personality. Just be yourself.
Josh: I feel like that’s what makes Now United so cool, is that we’re so different and we all are big personalities, just like you said. When we all come together, it just makes us a hundred times stronger.
Where’s one place in the world that you haven’t been that is on your bucket list?
Heyoon: There’s so many. There’s so many! [laughs] I’m just going to pick whatever’s coming to my mind. 1, 2, 3 ... Bali!
Noah: Nice. That’s a good one. For me, it would be Thailand. I don’t know why, I really want to go to like, the beaches of Thailand.
What’s the most exciting part about being on the Pepsi world tour?
Shivani: For me, it’s just meeting so many fans and performing in front of them. Also, we are here in Dubai for the second time, and we are here for the launch of Pepsi Black, which is also exciting.
What’s the most outrageous thing a fan has ever done for you?
Noah: There’s this one guy from Brazil [that was there when] we were doing a meet and greet, and he looks at me and he’s like, ‘Noah, I love you.’ And he had my name tattooed on his arm! And I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ That is by far the most insane thing ever. So that was really cool. I showed my grandpa and he was very proud and happy.
How does it feel to be founded by Simon Fuller, the same person who managed the Spice Girls?
Krystian: I feel so, so good. I mean, personally for me, as an artist, I just always wanted the best of the best — to work with the best of the best and to learn with the best of the best. So, it’s such an honour and ... Now United!
You’re each from different countries. What’s one part of your culture that you would like everyone to experience?
Heyoon: One thing is the PC room [in South Korea], which I keep on talking about to the guys. We have this amazing place you go and all you do is play computer games the whole day, and you order food at your spot and everyone is like, yelling at each other, like, ‘Oh, help me, help me out!’ It’s so much fun. It’s like a culture, eye-opening experience.
Out of all of you, who’s the best or most pro at travelling? And who’s the crankiest traveller?
Noah: You’re the best at travelling! Shivani.
Heyoon: Her flights are always like, 36 hours.
Shivani: Yeah, more than one day — always!
Noah: Who’s the crankiest? Who gets cranky? We all do. When you’re sleep-deprived and you just want to sleep in a bed and you’re in the airport for like, the 20th hour, I feel like everyone kind of gets cranky ... Besides Shivani.
Would you ever add someone from the Middle East to the Now United Mix?
Noah: I would love for that to happen. I mean, what’s so cool about Now United is that there’s 14 of us now, but we just announced that we’re gonna get a new member from Australia and we definitely have ... We’ve been talking about getting a new member from another place that … you never know. You just never know!
Who’s the funniest person in the group?
Heyoon: Me. Just kidding!
Noah: I feel like Josh, he’s just so funny. Everything he does.
Shivani: [to Noah] You, too.
Noah: Aw. Thank you, Shivani. I feel like everyone is funny. We’re all funny in our own way.
Heyoon: We have different humours, too, so that’s interesting to see.
If you weren’t in Now United, what would you be doing instead?
Noah: I think we’d all be still doing the same thing. We’d all be doing music somehow.
Heyoon: And I’ll be married and have kids and a pet.
Noah: Wow. If I wasn’t a musician, I think I would try to be an artist. Painting. But, I’m not really bad at it now, but that’s like, always been my dream. [laughs] Krystian?
Krystian: I’d probably still be in school.
Shivani: I might be in sports. I like to play badminton, so I might be playing badminton right now.
Watch Now United play Gulf News tabloid!'s 'Black Box'.
WHO ARE NOW UNITED?
Now United (NU) are a global pop group formed by ‘American Idol’ creator and Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller in December of 2017. Fuller and his team were able to select 14 singers and dancers — each from a different country — through a social media talent search. The band has announced plans to add two new members, including one from Australia — but as it stands, Now United are:
1. Bailey May – Philippines (17)
2. Noah Urrea – America (18)
3. Any Gabrielly – Brazil (16)
4. Joalin Loukamaa – Finland (18)
5. Sina Deinert – Germany (21)
6. Sabina Hidalgo – Mexico (20)
7. Heyoon Jeong – South Korea (23)
8. Sofya Plotnikova – Russia (16)
9. Shivani Paliwal – India (17)
10. Krystian Wang – China (19)
11. Lamar Morris – UK (19)
12. Diarra Sylla – Senegal (18)
13. Hina Yoshihara – Japan (17)
14. Josh Beauchamp – Canada (19)