Five young men faced an extreme lifestyle change almost a year ago. From high school classes and college plans, life evolved into a series of demanding practice sessions and apartment living.
“Nobody gets to do what we do, especially guys our age,” Beyond 5 band member Patch Crowe said. “It’s not a reality to most people; it’s not even a reality to us. It’s just crazy how fast we’ve gotten to this point. It was a long process, but we’ve worked hard for it.”
Provo-based boy band Beyond 5 is an optimistic newcomer in the music world. The five-piece group consists of Tanner Myler, 18, of Eagle, Idaho; Patch Crowe, 18, of Gold Coast, Australia; TJ Ryan, 15, of Salt Lake City; Ammon Tuimaualuga, 17, of Corona, Calif.; and Zac Love, 18, of San Antonio, Texas.
(Beyond 5 isn’t the first male singing group from Utah to shoot for the big time–remember when Vocal Point was on The Sing-Off?)
After touring in eight different countries in Asia and releasing its debut album, the band came back to Provo to establish itself and take the next step toward making a difference before taking off for Nashville. For the band members, it’s been a journey of personal growth.
“They’re learning how to budget, how to keep an apartment, how to be roommates and how to be good sons and brothers and friends,” said Tyler Castleton, one of Beyond 5’s producers and founders. “And they can have a great music experience on the side, but hopefully they come out of it being stronger people.”
In Asia, the band performed nearly 30 different times, reaching 25,000 people. Much of their work wasn’t just performing but donating time and talent to charities in Asia. It was a powerful experience for all of the band members. Love feels that it changed his whole perspective.
“What we do can affect people so much, and I was blown away by that,” Love said. “That’s the reward. That’s what you do it for.”
Before setting out on the tour, the band collected 8,000 books to donate to disadvantaged schools and charities in Asia. The group then spent the month of August performing free concerts, giving devotionals and providing outreach workshops hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Although he enjoyed performing, Myler said the devotionals were the best part.
“People would come to us after (devotionals) and say, ‘Your concert was amazing. I loved it. I had the time of my life. But your fireside was twice as good,'” Myler said. “Certain songs touch people and uplift people, and our songs do that.”
Castleton said Beyond 5 was created to uplift people.
“We’ve always felt that, number one, we wanted to make a difference,” Castleton said. “We weren’t trying to be overtly Christian; we just felt we could do great pop music without (being inappropriate). I remember one goal was to uplift and inspire and motivate this generation to be honest.”
(Another recently popular fireside visitor is Al Fox, a tatooed recent convert.)
The group is the brainchild of Castleton and co-writer and business partner Russ Dixon, both of whom work as the band’s current producers. Castleton has worked as a music producer, composer and arranger for over 15 years and has worked closely with the LDS Church in different capacities associated with music.
Dixon is a musician and photographer and has helped produce albums for the Church’s Especially for Youth programs. Castleton and Dixon know each other through their shared industry.
“I just approached Russ and said, ‘Hey, this is crazy, but I have the desire to put a band together,’ so the two of us just dove in and started,” Castleton said.
Cue a three-month-long auditioning process during which Castleton and Dixon chose five talented young men out of almost 500 who came to try out.
“We were really interested in finding guys who could speak, who could communicate,” Castleton said. “That was something that was harder than we thought to find.”
Though they were selected because they already stood out from the crowd, the members of Beyond 5 have had to grow personally. Each has had to move away from families and old lives to be a part of the group. According to Ryan, the changes have helped him grow closer to his family.
“I think when I saw (my family) before, I definitely took them for granted,” Ryan said. “Now I just think how lucky I am to have such a great family.”
Changes are about to resume. In January, the band is leaving Provo to hone music skills in Nashville. The goals for the coming year include 200 shows in the U.S., another potential Asian tour and one South America tour.
“It was never in the plan, like, ‘I want to be a rockstar,'” said Michelle Tuimaualuga, Ammon Tuimaualuga’s mother. “He was going to be a doctor, a basketball player, anything else. Everything’s on hold for the rest of his life. We’re just seeing what happens with this.”