Three young Vincentian-Canadian brothers, who carry the stage name, The Melisizwe Brothers, have been crowned winners of Nickelodeon’s “America’s Most Musical Family” during the grand finale of a two-hour music competition on Jan. 16 in Burbank, Ca.
The sibling trio — Marc, 16, Seth, 13, and Zacary, 12, whose parents, Mark and Sherry James, hail from Upper Fair Hall in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — reside with their parents in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The brothers’ win enabled them to obtain a recording contract with Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company; and a US$250,000 cash prize in partnership with Capri Sun 100% Juice.
Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids.
“We are very happy,” said Mark and Sherry James in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview Sunday night. “No doubt, the boys are extremely hard workers.
“As parents, it gives us great joy to see their diligence pays off, while keeping and maintaining their integrity,” they added.
The Melisizwe Brothers (pronounced Mel – Li – Seize – Way) competed all season long against 30 family bands from across North America in front of celebrity judges; Grammy Award-winning global superstar Ciara; digital media sensation David Dobrik; pop icon and Broadway star Debbie Gibson; and show host, singer and television personality Nick Lachey.
During the grand finale, recording artist and show mentor Pete Wentz surprised the final four bands to help prepare them for their performances, while singer/songwriter Blanco Brown took the stage to perform his smash hit “The Git Up,” according to Nickelodeon in a statement.
But it said it was The Melisizwe Brothers’ “jaw-dropping renditions” of “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “7 Years” by Lukas Graham that led to their win.
Nickelodeon said the Melisizwe Brothers were first introduced to audiences this season with a performance of “All of Me” by John Legend that “left the judges in awe, and continued to stand out throughout the competition,” with moving performances of “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men, “Waiting On The World To Change” by John Mayer and “Let It Go” by James Bay.
Following the finale, The Melisizwe Brothers released their new original single, “Stadium,” as part of their contract with Republic Records.
The Melisizwe Brothers can be seen performing their new single “Stadium” on Nickelodeon’s “All That” on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8:30 pm (ET/PT).
Nickelodeon’s America’s Most Musical Family premiered Friday, Nov. 1.
Over the course of the season, it said bands were eliminated through a process of the judges nominating their top picks of the week, and the show’s live studio audience selecting which of those bands should move to the next round.
During the finale, the audience voted The Melisizwe Brothers to be the winning band, Nickelodeon said.
“America’s Most Musical Family” is produced by Industrial Media’s Emmy Award-winning The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), with IPC’s Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman (“Undercover Boss”, “So You Think You Can Dance”), Claire Kosloff and showrunner Jeff Boggs (“Nashville Star”, “Who Will Rock You?)” as executive producers.
On their official website The Melisizwe Brothers said they created the site “for all of our fans to keep up with our very hectic and sometimes borderline exhausting musical happenings.
“We have been blessed with this musical gift many dream of but few actually do,” they said. “We, however, believe that there is a gift in each one of us.
“We encourage you to find what you are gifted at and then work continuously, as we have done, to perfect the gift,” they added. “The world needs it.”
The Melisizwe Brothers also said it’s their “life’s work to express those emotions and feelings that can only be conveyed through music.
“It’s how our spirit takes wing and soars to unfathomable, seemingly unreachable heights,” they said. “I hope that our music does the same for you.”
On Dec. 9, 2016, The Melisizwe Brothers appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and performed “O Holy Night”, on Mar. 18, 2019, on the “Steve Harvey Show.”
They have also appeared at the world-famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, and met “the amazing” Stevie Wonder. They performed on the same stage, at the Apollo, as Diana Ross, the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder.
In addition, on New Year’s Eve 2018, the Melisizwe Brothers sang at Times Square in midtown Manhattan.
According to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio, it wasn’t the first time the three boys reached millions of people.
In 2016, it said their cover of “I’ll be There” by the Jackson 5 went viral on YouTube.
The Melisizwe Brothers said they got their start in 2012 when their
mother’s co-worker gifted the family with a second hand Yamaha keyboard.
Never having played any instruments, the brothers said they toyed with the keyboard and discovered they had latent musical talents and a
passion for music.
Through practice and devotion, they went from the living room of their small town, Leduc, Alberta, to the world stage.
“Everyone has gifts, talents and passions, which bring them alive,” said The Melisizwe Brothers, adding that their story is “a journey of uncovering and nurturing” their gifts, talents and passions, called their “Gold Mind.”
Seth told CBC that they chose the South African name Melisizwe because it means “leaders of the future.”
“Whenever you want to do something you always look for a name with a great meaning and a powerful meaning,” he said.
CBC said it all started with big brother Marc singing Jackson 5 songs.
“This led to each of the boys learning instruments,” it said. “Soon, they were making music in their basement on a regular basis.”
In 2016, parents Mark and Sherry James started posting home videos online to share with family and friends, CBC said.
“People began reaching out to them on Facebook, encouraging them to record more songs,” it said. “Three days after, they posted their ‘I’ll be There video.’ It reached six million people.”
Marc – who was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada, on Mar. 11, 2003 and is the oldest of The Melisizwe Brothers – is the lead guitarist, back-up singer and sometimes lead vocalist.
Seth – who was also born in Toronto, on April 17, 2006, is the second eldest. He is the lead pianist and back-up singer of the group.
Zacary, who was born in Edmonton, on May 19, 2007 and is the youngest of The Melisizwe Brothers – is the lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of the group. Zacary currently plays 11 different instruments.
“I know I’m a kid, but, in my head, I feel like an adult,” Zacary told CBC. “I dream big things in my head when I’m singing. I dream about travelling the world, conquering it with music.”
He advised aspiring singers: “Don’t ever forfeit the game.
“You gotta try,” he said. “You gotta get up. You gotta try again and again.”
Posted 3:47 pm, January 23, 2020
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