We all crushed on Day 26. I know I have, in so many ways, from their TV show to their music. And thanks to the countless covers at my high school talent show their popularity further affirmed my love from them. Unfortunately their love for their situation at the time did get in the way and they all bitterly bid farewell to their five man ensemble.
Fast forward a few years later the nostalgia of my high school talent show that felt like a Day 26 cover concert returned. However instead of staring at teen boys trying to flirt onstage via the sound and lyrics of the MTV band, I’m sitting in an empty stage room at BB Kings watching the reunited front get acclimated to their steps and their stage direction. It’s soundcheck and from the looks of it they are ready to put on a show stopping performance with up-close and personal fan to star interaction. These five guys turn, slide, and smirk their fawn worthy facial curves to their imaginary chairs that’ll soon be filled with adoring fans.
But before the doors open, seats fill, and spotlights on, I sit with the five guys to talk about there reintroduction. All come with their own distinct personalities, it is clear Brian is the jokester and Robert is the most straight forward and the last three fall in between those personalities to make up a bond that’s unmatchable. One thing you get from speaking to these guys is that they’re real, they’ve been through real shit, and they are here to keep it real.
Flip the page to learn more about Day 26’s experience returning independently (“We’re enjoying it because we feel like we are getting to be who we feel like Day26 is at this point in our careers. “), lessons learned (“There’s a lot of phony people[in the industry]”), and how to ditch a girl (“I’ll probably just tell her to get the hell out. I’m real blunt and straightforward. I’ll be like ‘you gotta go’”).
All Photos Credit: Stacy-Ann Ellis
VIBE Vixen: What made you guys decide to come back?
Robert: When we were doing our solo thing-we got love for each other-so we supported each other. I was paying attention to everybody’s page and what everybody was doing. I just felt like it was that time because everybody was loving the vibe of everybody individually but they were still saying ‘I love this but where’s Day 26?’ I saw the pattern in everybody’s page and then I just put a call in. Everybody was ready and then the next day we were working.
How has the response been since you guys announced the return?
Willie: It has been good. The fans definitely come through in numbers as far as hitting everybody’s page up and the Day 26 page and supporting the EP as well as the book. So I feel like its been well received. We’re independent now so it’s different when you’re independent. When we were major we hit the masses quicker. Some people are just realizing that we came back.
Have you enjoyed being independent or do you miss being on a label?
Brian: We’re enjoying it because we feel like we are getting to be who we feel like Day26 is at this point in our careers. We definitely miss the support, meaning the financial backing from the labels. Its different when we’re reaching in our pockets. We’re doing everything on our own aside from someone actually having a budget and knowing where this is going or where that is going, it’s a lot more organized.
What’s one thing you guys did the first time that you changed the second time around?
Willie: I think its pretty much got the same formula. I don’t think much has really changed. Just the maturity, we got older. We got a chance to live life. We got a chance to hit the stage as solo artists and do different things so now we’re bringing back a whole different understanding.
Rob: We catered to the radio and the DJs this time around. We didn’t really need to the first time but that’s something that we did this time that was different.
With that being said do you like that you are catering more to the DJs?
Rob: It definitely makes walking in the club feel better (laughs).
Willie: We definitely never want to lose the essence of who we are though. Sometimes you can search for something like this to be a club record and you lose the essence of who you really are. I think we did a great job, especially on The Return EP as far as with the tempo.
Would you guys ever do reality TV again?
Brian: Hell yeah we’d do it! If it made sense and tied into what we were trying to do as a group right now and if it’s positive. Some of us weren’t exactly happy with the way that we were portrayed—meaning me (laughs).
Willie: Some people were just mad at what they allowed the world to see.
So if you guys were to do a reality show how would it be different?
Willie: I feel like the thing we would try to make different is that we would just try to show the positive outlook on people with dreams. When the whole world throws you a pile of do-do you make lemonade out of it. You just make the best out of every situation. That’s the thing that Day26 has really mastered because no one really gives us anything. What we make happen is what happens. I think if everyone could see that grind then they will have a new understanding of who Day26 really is.
They think because Bad Boy ain’t involved anymore that they can’t do it and I been doing this way before Bad Boy. Diddy never orchestrated what we did. He just approved it. We were always talented enough to get that and I think that would be what this show would be about. Giving people a chance to see like ‘they wasn’t ran’ by Diddy or ‘nothing really made them, they made themselves’. It’ll be some drama if they want to see some fights because as businessman it’s a different type of fight. It’s not like a knuckle up, it’s like we just disagree where we’re passionate about what we do. Anybody with a passion is going to have a voice and say what it is because they don’t want nothing to fall apart.
Rob: That’s why we had the best show anyway because it was very educational to the artists that wanted to be in the position we’re in and do the things that we do. It’s a backstage pass literally. People might say it was drama-filled. People may say we cried but really it’s TV to ya’ll; we’re living this.
Que: I think the great thing about our show is that we already did a TV show. So we know how to relive past situations, bring it back to life, get into it and not affect us moving forward.
Do you have something to prove now that you’re back?
Brian: I don’t think we have anything to prove during this point and time in our career. We were gone for a long period of time and that was an ample amount of time for anybody to come in and take that lane but obviously that lane hasn’t been filled. I’m not taking any slugs or anything because I am a huge fan but even with TGT. They tried to do it and they did an amazing job. I bought the album three times because I’m cool with G and I’m cool with Tank. But at the end of the day of the day that lane hasn’t been taken because that’s for no one but Day 26.
Willie: I feel like we have a lot to prove but I live my life like that. Not because I want to but at this moment in my career I feel like we do so much to not get the recognition that we deserve . I feel like we do a lot to where industry people know but nobody gives enough shout outs. Enough people won’t speak up. I feel like the people who are listening to the music now are buying into what the upper people say versus just listening to the music and just becoming a fan by themselves. They need a cosigner.
Brian: Somebody that I really fuck with, that fucks with us is Joe Budden. Joe Budden shouts us out all the time!
Do you also feel pressure because you and Danity Kane started on TV and they didn’t last.
Brian: As far as Danity Kane, it goes back to us creating our own destiny. Yes we have problems but at the end of the day we understand that we have love for each other. We have one common goal—meaning this is a business—so our common goal is to take care of our family and I feel like that is one thing we keep in mind.
Willie: With the Danity Kane thing that’s group spirit, you know? One thing I could understand from them—because we come from under the same umbrella—with the conflict is that none of us knew each other. So none of them knew each other just like we didn’t.
Rob: And then not to mention that they put us in competition with each other first. So We’re looking at each other like ‘I’m getting you the fuck up out of here’.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned from doing reality TV?
Rob: Always watch them cameras ‘cause they watching yo ass (laughs). You can’t hide. Those cameras don’t have filters.
Que: And always be good to people. No matter who you meet or who they turn into. Always keep in mind that you don’t know someone’s story. You never know what someone’s going through. Your story is not the most important story. So if you have those goals and those ambitions you’ll be a great TV star.
Willie: You gotta remember the same people you going to see on your way up are those same people you going to see on your way down.
Brian: You never know who’s going to be who. For instance, a friend of mine started off as an intern over at Motown and now he’s an exec over at RCA. He would go and get people’s lunch and be there for free and people would talk crazy to him. So you never know who’s gonna be who.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from being put in a made up group?
Rob: How to respect to respect each other for what [they are]. When we first started this group we had a lot of people working out our situation for us. So the decisions that had to be made were already made. We didn’t have to rely on each other to come up with these decisions. Now we are in a position where have to rely on each other to make sure that we’re doing the right thing. Being forced into the situation is probably the best thing that could’ve happen to us because we learned that quick and it really taught us a lot about each other.
What’s the biggest lesson learned from the music industry?
Brian: Everybody’s not your friend (laughs).
Willie: There’s a lot of phony people. You see them all the time and they are real buddy buddy when you see them but don’t think you got a friend out here.
Que: Once people find out your position and who you are you gotta be careful because like P. Diddy said in the show there’s always somebody trying to take your spot. In life and at any other job that’s real. There’s really always somebody trying to be better than you. That’s why its good to always be respectful and when you meet somebody that’s cool just admire than one moment and don’t go deeper than that and look for anything. But once you get a new position in the entertainment business everyone changes and that’s when its time for you to be in your right mentality because when they come back you have to have those open arms to receive them.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from social media?
Rob: We’re really in a position of—whether we know it or not—of leadership. I know a lot of people look up to us.
Brian: [People] tend to hang on to what we say.
Rob: I believe that’s because they look up to us and with that we have a role that we have to play. Some people don’t care about that. We tend to take it very serious. Your fans are always looking for a deeper story. They’re trying to figure that they know you better than they actually do. You can say the smallest thing but they are going to go so deep into that, that it’s not even the same thing that you said anymore. I think the best thing is to be cautious about what you say. You just have to be careful because media scrutiny will end your career.
Que: I think you can only get your career ruined if you are a mean person. It’s all about your personality.
Willie: The crazy thing about social media is that you put things out there but what you want them to buy into is the music. You want them to buy into your brand but anything you put out there they are digging deeper into that.
Have you ever had a female inspire a song? If so what song?
Brian: Besides “Bullshit” I don’t think there’s any particular song that the group has recorded or written. I’m pretty sure in our individual work [a girl has], because I know damn near my entire project is about a certain situation. Even listening to Willie’s music you can definitely tell a female has inspired it (laughs). Rob’s a realist. Que’s pen is ridiculous. He thinks outside of the box. You can definitely tell that their music is influenced by someone.
Do you sext?
Brian: Oh hell yea! I sext! I send pics! I do it all! (laughs)
Willie: I’ll do it. I’ll send it in your messages in a minute!
Do you respond when someone slides in your DM?
Brian: Sometimes I respond if she is worthy of respond-ence (laughs). If she’s cute I might respond.
Willie: I end it nicely but I’ll respond.
Que: Because they ask the same questions. After a while it’s like damn I came in here to look for a girl and she’s asking me questions about being a TV star. I’m like well I can’t date her because that’s all we’re gonna talk about. We’re not gonna have time to do it (laughs).
Mike: I don’t respond at all. I feel like if I don’t respond you shouldn’t send another one.
Rob: I give them all love. I respond to all of them. Every DM.
What’s the craziest fan moment you’ve had?
Rob: I remember one time we went to this college and we tried to sneak out of the back of the school and that’s what the dumbest thing we could’ve done.
Brian: That was the college I went to. It was at Prairie View A&M. Right outside of Houston.
Rob: These fans tried to tip our whole van over. Then they were chasing us and some of us got caught. We were walking down this hill and we thought we were good because no one was out there and next thing you know [they came out] like roaches.
Willie: Man we used to go to those schools and it used to be retarded. The malls too. That’s one experience that I wish everybody would get one piece of. It was like a three story mall and they had blocked off the back so we had to walk through the mall.
Where’s the first place you go to eat once you get back home after being away for a while?
Mike: My kitchen.
Brian: I got to this place called Fudd Mar.
Willie: I go get this Mexican cuisine called Chipotle (laughs).
Rob: I’m from Detroit and there is one of these on every corner. It’s called Coney Island. They sell everything. You can buy everything from cereal to steak.
Que: I go to this Caribbean spot when I go home called This Is It.
What’s the best song you ever had sex to?
Willie: “Deep” by Blackstreet.
Rob: “Naked” by Marques Houston
Que: I don’t have sex with music. I might put on a rap song (laughs).
Mike: Maxwell, “Wherever, Whenever Whatever.”
Brian: My favorite song to have sex to is nothing because I am a virgin thank you (laughs).
What’s the most creative way you have kicked a girl out of your crib?
Mike: Deebo! Come get here out my room! (laughs)
Brian: I tell her I gotta go to the studio.
Willie: I’ll have my boy hit me up and be like (looks at phone) ‘Damn! He always in some shit!’
Rob: I’ll probably just tell her to get the hell out. I’m real blunt and straightforward. I’ll be like ‘you gotta go.’
Que: I try to not to be rude but when we’re done doing it I’ll just look around like yeah….
What celeb crush would you like to bed?
Willie: I never thought about who I would like to bang.
Rob: Megan Fox
Que: Meagan Good.
Mike: I like variety! (laughs) . I’ma take Halle, Stacy Dash and Gabrielle Union.
Brian: Sanaa Lathan. She is the epitome of amazing. That’s a tree I would climb!
Check out more pictures from their rehearsal after the jump.