Scandal'us

They began as five faces and voices in a crowd of thousands, watched by millions of Australians every step of the way as they embarked on their quest to become Popstars.

Jason Bird, 21, a born performer from Perth who would entertain his family with his impersonations of his favourite pop stars. The dancer and choreographer worked in Singapore for six months before pursuing his passion for a musical career with his brother Simon in Melbourne.

Anna Belperio, 21, who hails from Adelaide, can thank her mum for playing Tom Jones songs which made her jump around the room. After a brief attempt at learning guitar, she switched to electronic organ and since the age of six has competed every year in the prestigious Yamaha International Festival, finishing as state finalist twice.

Tamara Jaber, 18, was another early starter, impressing her family with her singing and dancing when she was three. She has studied at the Newtown Performing Arts High School, representing Australia to win the American Song and Dance Championships. She completed a Diploma Of Music at the Australian Institute of Music and went on to perform with John Farnham and Tina Arena.

Simon Ditcham, 23, formed his first band with schoolmates and after several line-up changes, Serby built a solid reputation in his hometown of Hobart. After completing a Bachelor of Environmental Design and working in an architectural firm, he decided last year to follow his passion for music and performing.

Daniela Scala, 19, was encouraged to study music by her mother, a trained opera singer. The Adelaide singer also grew to love playing the piano and composing and recently completed songs for a new Australian film. Her beautiful voice has taken her to Italy where after a month of gigs, the locals thought she was a well-known Australian pop star.

Five very different people from very different backgrounds who share the same dream of pursuing a musical career.

And now they start on their journey as one - introducing Scandal'us.

Their debut single, Me Myself & I, is an explosive slice of contemporary, edgy rhythm and blues which tips its hat at all five members' love of the power of pop - that infectious hook or catchy chorus which stays in your head all day no matter how hard you to shake it.

Produced by Paul Gray and Craig Porteils, for Song Zu Records, Me Myself & I was written by Scandinavian hitmaker Fred Johansson and remixed by Gary Kee, who was responsible for the sound of Gwyneth Paltrow's recent No 1 hit, Cruisin'.

Jason Bird remembers the first time the five members of Scandal'us heard the song and wanted it for their first single.

"We all fell in love with it straight away. There were a few songs we were contemplating but this was the one we pushed for to be our first single," he said.

"We all have similar tastes in music and the direction we want to go in, which was very fortunate"

"At the end of the day, we will always be into pop and that's what we love and what this is all about."

Me Myself & I is new ground for an Australian act, taking the staccato rhythm and blues of Destiny's Child and throwing in the Latino groove of Jennifer Lopez. The amazing video was produced by ARIA award winner, Mark Hartley, responsible for the visually sumptuous clips of Bardot and Madison Avenue, and choreographed by the inimitable Kelly Abbey.

"All these things that we're into have been with us all our lives and now it comes together as Scandal'us," Jason said.

Scandal'us gelled instantly as a group, fuelled by determination and endless energy to endure the long nights in the studio and a gruelling schedule to finish recording their debut album in just over nine weeks.

And, of course, the ever-present television cameras remain, continuing to record their development for the Seven Network program which has been the biggest rating program in Australia this year, even knocking off the Academy Awards and regularly attracting more than two million viewers nationally.

After everything they had been through during the dramatic audition process, which culminated in their selection following the intensive Gold Coast workshop, they felt they had known each other their entire lives.

You can tell it by their easy comradery, the affection and respect they show each other and the constant laughs.

"The judges could have thrown any of us together from the Gold Coast because talent-wise, everyone was just so good," Jason said.

"The one thing you really hope for is that the group gels and that happened so instantly it was amazing."

"When we listened to demos for the first time, we could tell straight away who should do which part."

"Everything has been so much fun and feels so natural, even though I was pretty nervous the first time I stepped in front of a mike in the recording studio."

"Since then, it's sometimes hard to get a take done because we're cracking up all the time. There'll be a very good blooper tape at the end of this"

Jason admits the members of Scandal'us are still coming to terms with being chosen as Popstars.

"It is something you have dreamed of all your life and waited for and worked for and suddenly you are doing it, recording your first album," he said.

"I'm having the time of my life, doing exactly what I want to do with four excellent people and the help of a lot of other people along the way."

"I can't wait to keep going."


 




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