Canton Band TwentyForSeven to Appear on Reality Series 'Opening Act'
Canton band opens for hip-hop/rock band Gym Class Heroes on E! network reality show.
When the members of TwentyForSeven, a Canton-based pop-rock band, went into Planet Fitness for a group workout session, they were surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Amidst the band members' workout, all of the gym's television sets suddenly flashed that the band was hand-picked to star on the E! network program Opening Act, a non-competitive music reality series that allows independent musicians to share a stage with chart-topping artists.
The show premiered last week on the E! network and TwentyForSeven's journey airs at 10 p.m. today.
Rajiv Dhall, the band's vocalist, said television crews and the show's host came out to greet the band, and the band was whisked off to Los Angeles shortly thereafter.
TwentyForSeven, whose members have performed together for two years, draws from several musical influences.
"It's an awkward but pleasant marriage of pop-punk with Top 40 pop," said Blake Hayes, the band's guitarist and co-vocalist.
Dhall said the band began by playing variety shows at high schools while the band members were seniors at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park. Dhall said he and Matt Pastor, the band's bassist, had been friends since third grade and began playing music together before forming the band.
To promote the band, its members began posting videos on YouTube when TV producers sent an email earlier this year asking if they'd like to be on a television show.
Months later, the band found itself rising from Internet obscurity to working with industry professionals (the show enlisted such artists as country artist Martina McBride, platinum-selling artist Pete Wentz, singer and songwriter Jason Derulo, chart-topping producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia and vocal coach Nick Cooper, who has worked with such artists as Beyonce and Katy Perry) in order to prepare the band for an opening stint with hit-makers Gym Class Heroes, known for such songs as "Billionaire" and "Stereo Hearts."
"It's pretty crazy. We're used to playing at high schools and talent shows," Dhall said. "Playing for an audience of 12,000 people was absolutely insane."
The band members say the experience has helped put the music industry into perspective — the band bombed its first on-camera performance — and some mentoring by Gym Class Heroes members helped mentally prepare the band for longer-term stardom.
"Even when it wasn't being filmed (the Gym Class Heroes members) were genuinely nice guys," Dhall said. "They had nothing but advice to give us, asking if we had questions."
The band said it is close-knit and well-equipped to tour full-time in the future, which Hayes said has been the band's dream since forming.
"We're together all the time anyway," Hayes said.
Opening Act is produced by Emmy-winning producer Nigel Lythgoe, who helped help such shows as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
TwentyForSeven's 'Opening Act' appearance premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on E! Replays will air Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Wednesday at 6 p.m.; Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m.