On the Outside
How Beautiful We Are
By Kayla Marra
How beautiful we all are. The world is full of unappreciated loveliness and untapped potential. We’re being reminded of that fact by the new pop/country boy band On the Outside.
The group is comprised of young singers Dawson Huckabee, Jon Klaasen, Devin Hayes, Andrew Bloom, and Sam Jenkins. The boys came together in December 2018 from all different parts of the United States to form the group. The band released their debut single “How Did You Know” on June 28, 2019 and have been growing and creating more music ever since!
In March 2020, On the Outside released their hit single about self-love and self-confidence titled “How Beautiful.” This was followed by the #HowBeautifulChallenge, where fans are challenged to create a post on social media with a photo of themself, a family member, or a friend to let the world know how beautiful that individual truly is. The guys partnered up with – and set up a fundraiser for – the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on the mental health of teens and young adults. This song, challenge, and partnership really encompass On the Outside’s purpose – positivity!
We have been covering Devin Hayes as a solo artist for years now, but it was great to finally meet the other guys!
We were lucky enough to sit down with Devin, Sam, Jon, Dawson, and Andrew to speak about the #HowBeautifulChallenge, what they miss most about touring, how they have been handling quarantine, and possible new music coming very soon!
Tell us a bit about On the Outside.
Devin Hayes: We’re a pop/country boy band. On the Outside resembles the differences we have in the music industry and as people. We don’t want to fit in the norm. We don’t want to fit in the box. We’re kind of “on the outside” of this stereotypical box. That’s why we’re called On the Outside. It’s been so great.
You’re all from different areas of the US. How did you come together and decide to form On the Outside?
Andrew Bloom: The band was formed in Nashville. That was kind of the center point of everything, our beginning.
Devin Hayes: The band started with emails from our current manager, Aimee Nadeau. I was a part of those emails. I got it and I was like, “Oh, a boy band opportunity. I’ve already been through three. Maybe this is telling me to go through another one.” I jumped on the call with Aimee. She gave me a quick background on what it is, and I was ecstatic about it. I ran into Jon’s room, who I was living with at the time. Aimee didn’t know that which was really cool. He [Jon] said he got the same email. I was like, “Jon, you got to join this crap, man!”
Jon Klaasen: Yeah. I hopped on a call with Aimee and had a meeting to listen to the songs. I thought it was dope. They said, “Who’s next? Who do we bring on?” Devin and I both knew Andrew from a show called Boy Band, ironically, so we brought him on.
Andrew Bloom: Yeah, they brought me on, and again, we knew each other from the TV show. They told me it was a pop/country boy band. I was like, “Ooh, interesting. Send me the music. I want to see what this is about.” They sent it to me, and I was like, “Oh, this is amazing!” We held an open call for other members. We found Dawson, whom I found on the internet, by the way.
Dawson Huckabee: Yeah, I didn’t go to the open call. I was the only guy who didn’t know any of these guys. They all have ties. But yeah, I’m from a small town. I was still in high school and I still got the opportunity. I hopped on a FaceTime call real quick with Aimee and him (points to Devin) and him (points to Jon).
Devin Hayes: Who am I?! (laughs)
Dawson Huckabee: Devin and Jon! (laughs) Basically, I agreed to do it right away, without much information. Still just going with the flow.
Devin Hayes: Full send!
Andrew Bloom: Then finally, after that, we brought Sam on.
Sam Jenkins: I knew Jon from early 2016, right after he was on American Idol with Andrew. I met Devin a little bit before the band. Then we all met officially. We all got together in Nashville on December 14th, 2018. Then we officially released the project on January 1st, 2019.
What is one moment for each of you that you feel like you’ve realized how far you’ve come together as a group?
Jon Klaasen: There are so many! One of the moments I think that we’ve all had – when we realized that this was something that we’re going to be doing for the rest of our lives – was our first show when we opened up for a guy named Spencer. He’s a friend of ours. No one in the audience knew who we were. We hadn’t done a live show before. By the end of every single one of our songs, everyone was singing our choruses. They were all singing the lyrics! We were like, “Wow, okay. This band is for real. This is happening.” It was just a surreal moment.
Devin Hayes: Another big thing is our relationships in general. Beyond the whole business of it all, we all really love each other. We enjoy being around each other and hanging out, and doing all this stuff.
Sam Jenkins: There’s a new one [relationship] that we just formed. When we shot “How Beautiful,” we had fans come in. They were a part of it. I don’t know if you’ve seen the music video. Eli, the director, and his crew worked with us for “Why Me.” To be able to work with him again was really cool. This time we had a bigger budget, and it was really awesome. To have the fans there, to have Eli there, it was really big [for us]. At the moment we weren’t thinking about all this, but looking back, just wow. It’s like, man, from the beginning to even that moment, so much has changed. People, real-life people – The Outsiders – came all the way across the country to be part of that.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do experience together? Playing a certain venue? Going someplace new?
Devin Hayes: Going on a road trip together!
Jon Klaasen: There are some very funny stories from that! We went on a road trip for our music video “Just Keep Driving.” It was a four-day trip with four states including California. It was fun.
Dawson Huckabee: We shot a music video ourselves on the road trip. It was the best. We have a lot of memories from that.
Speaking of road trips and traveling, think back to when live performances were a thing. What is your favorite song to perform live?
Sam Jenkins: It depends, because there are harmonies that are fun, and they sound really great. Then there are ones like “Like Yeah,” which are really fun [to perform].
Jon Klaasen: We’ve only ever done a few shows because right when we were about to go on tour, COVID happened. We weren’t able to do a ton of live shows. I don’t know if this will resonate with the guys, but I think when we’re performing to our fans, my favorite song to perform is “How Did You Know.” It was our first single we ever released, and they sing every lyric to the entire song. That’s the only song that I’ve heard literally every word sung. Literally every word. It blew me away.
Andrew Bloom: Things are starting to open back up now. Hopefully we’ll be doing a lot of things with music this summer.
What do you miss most about touring? Would it be the fans? The experience?
Devin Hayes: Interviews with you, Kayla! (laughs)
Andrew Bloom: I’ve got to say I miss the feeling of gratitude and fulfillment from performing. Everything else we do – like recording, writing, interviews, social media, and all that stuff – is great. But the real reason we wanted to be musicians in the first place was to play concerts in front of people. That was the hardest part about quarantine, not being able to do that. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most again.
Devin Hayes: We want to feel that connection with our listeners and start relationships with them. Not only online but in person. The other month, we filmed the “How Beautiful” music video, and we were able to have some fans come out and be a part of that after COVID testing and whatnot. We were able to just kick it with them and experience it when them, it made the whole thing so much better.
Dawson Huckabee: We hadn’t gotten to do that in a long time.
Jon Klaasen: It’s that human experience.
Devin Hayes: After the video, we went to Domino’s and hung out, it was awesome.
On March 8th, you guys announced the release of the “How Beautiful” music video, as well as the #HowBeautifulChallenge. Tell us a bit about the song and what the #HowBeautifulChallenge means to each of you.
Andrew Bloom: The song was one of the first songs that was brought to us when we formed the band. Mike Shimshack, our producer, brought it as a kind of rough idea to us. It’s not only a great message and a great song but the message of the band. This is a band about positivity. It’s not a band about anything else like negatives. It’s all about spreading love and positivity. We love the message. He [Shimshack] wrote it for his daughter, seeing her grow up and going through insecurities and stuff. We put a little spin on it. We thought this was the perfect time to release the song and then we did the challenge as well.
Devin Hayes: The challenge is just all about promoting a better form of movement on social media. We all know that we compare ourselves to other people on social media based on what is perfect to us. Or like, “Oh, I want to look like that,” stuff like that, can really hurt your self-esteem and the way that you think about yourself. So, we came up with this idea to post our friends, our friends’ friends, our fans, our family – people we think about and that we’re grateful for. They need to know or hear that they are truly beautiful no matter what. You put together a simple post of either a picture with them or of them, let them know how beautiful they are, and nominate them to do the same for somebody in their circle or community. It’s like a ripple effect. We tried to put that on social media rather than the other bull crap that we see and spread a positive message that way. It was really cool that we got to do that with the JED Foundation as well because that added a professional element to it. The JED Foundation supports young adults and teens with their emotional health as well, so starting a fundraiser for that was cool. That’s what we’re doing, that’s the message – it’s just expressing each other’s true beauty.
That challenge is definitely so beneficial for both you guys and the fans, considering we are in such a crazy time right now. Do any of you have a favorite lyric in “How Beautiful”? Or one that you think encompasses the goal of the challenge?
Sam Jenkins: There’s a line that Devin has in the second verse and it says, “You think of something that you lack but you have everything.” It’s so interesting because that’s kind of the point of it. It’s not about what you don’t have, what you don’t look like, or what you wish you could be. It’s who you are. You have everything you need. You’re beautiful just the way you are, and that’s a fact!
With all the negativity surrounding all of us right now, do you have any advice on how to stay positive during such an uncertain and difficult time?
Dawson Huckabee: It’s really hard because it’s different for everybody. What works for you might not work for everybody.
Devin Hayes: Exactly, so protect yourself. It doesn’t matter what others think of you. It doesn’t matter what others want you to do or want you to look like. It all starts from you. You need to figure out who you are and dive deep into that.
Andrew Bloom: Going off of figuring out who you are, take this time during this different situation in life and try different things and work on different skills. Work on tasks. Maybe try a new one. Really find out who you are and who you want.
Dawson Huckabee: Once you find what makes you happy, keep going with it.
Jon Klaasen: Don’t just do all of this by yourself and on your own. You need to form your own opinions but find people you can surround yourself with that you enjoy. Look at their life. If their life is something that you would like as well, then that’s the kind of friend that you should have.
Devin Hayes: You are who you surround yourself with.
Jon Klaasen: Exactly. If you have a bunch of negativity around you, then you don’t have the right framework.
Devin Hayes: Right, you got some work to do. Also, you can’t blame your own problems on the world. I see that happening so much now. Everyone’s so insecure about themselves that they don’t want to take the blame or take fault. Like, “It’s the world’s fault!” or, “It’s social media’s fault!” Things start with you too. So really look at yourself in the mirror and figure out what you got to work on for yourself.
Dawson Huckabee: Control your intake. Like what you consume and what you spend your time on. That reflects exactly what you start showing yourself acting like.
Outside of music, what are your hobbies and interests? Have you picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?
Jon Klaasen: I have one hundred percent picked up new hobbies.
Devin Hayes: Yeah, we do what Jon does!
Jon Klaasen: I’m like the hobby guy of the group. I like camping, golfing, and I recently found a new hobby – croquet! We got a croquet set. If anything sounds fun, I just go for it and I bring the guys with me.
Devin Hayes: I like shopping. I like drinking coffee, working out, making music, talking to fans in our free time.
Sam Jenkins: Thrift shopping!
Dawson Huckabee: We love sports, though.
Devin Hayes: When’s the last time we did, though?
Dawson Huckabee: It’s been a minute.
Sam Jenkins: For the record, last week we went out to the beach!
It’s been a year since quarantine started but thankfully things are starting to look up. What is one thing besides tour you’re each looking forward to once restrictions are fully lifted?
Andrew Bloom: I was going to say touring!
Dawson Huckabee: Going to a concert!
Devin Hayes: I turned 21 during quarantine, so I’d love to go to the bar life. Just go party with some crazy people, on Nashville’s Broadway or something.
Jon Klaasen: You know what I miss? Being able to meet someone, a complete stranger, and giving them a hug.
Sam Jenkins: I want to go to the movies.
Andrew Bloom: I want to just go to a concert!
Jon Klaasen: I want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with human beings.
Devin Hayes: I want to be in a mosh-pit.
Dawson Huckabee: This is the worst period of time ever for huggers.
Jon Klaasen: That’s me!
Dawson Huckabee: And that’s me. It’s been really difficult that that’s not acceptable anymore.
Thinking back to concerts a year and a half ago, you’d be shoulder-to-shoulder with someone sharing a water bottle. That’s so insane to think about! So, if you guys can say, do you have any new music or exciting projects on the way for your fans to look forward to?
Devin Hayes: We’re working on something right now.
Andrew Bloom: We’re finishing up our next release right now.
Devin Hayes: We wrote it!
Sam Jenkins: It’s beautiful. It’s a really great song.
Jon Klaasen: And this year, we have some things in the works that will be the biggest highlight.
Dawson Huckabee: We’re definitely releasing more music this year!
Devin Hayes: We’re going on a world tour! (laughs)
Sam Jenkins: No we’re not!
You never know!
Sam Jenkins: There’s a lot of things going on this year. We are very excited.
Jon Klaasen: Yes, new music is coming soon. Very, very soon.
Do you guys have anything you’d like to say to the Outsiders and your supporters?
Sam Jenkins: Yeah, we love you!
Dawson Huckabee: Thank you guys for sticking with us through all this.
Devin Hayes: For real, we wouldn’t be a band without them!
Jon Klaasen: Each and every one of you goes above and beyond in everything that we ask, everything that we do. You come up with your own challenges and do your own things. You guys inspire us more than you know. Everyone talks about how On the Outside inspires the Outsiders but no, Outsiders, you inspire On the Outside and we love you.
Sam Jenkins: We check your edits every single day. You guys really bring us a lot of hope, inspiration, and validation.
Andrew Bloom: I want to say thank you for spreading the culture because that was the main goal of this band. Not just to make great music, but to create a culture with our fans. Our fandom man, they have really just taken that culture and ran with it.
Devin Hayes: Are you an Outsider, Kayla?
Of course, especially after this! How could I not be?
Make sure to check out On the Outside’s latest single “How Beautiful,” streaming now on every platform! Also, check out our interviews with Devin over the years on our YouTube channel!
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 4, 2021.
Photos ©2021. Courtesy of On the Outside. All rights reserved.