Riyadh – :
Now United – the global music group with millions of young fans around the world – in partnership with Pepsi® today kicked off virtual auditions to select their newest member from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. The group, which features 15 young artists from 15 different countries around the world, has grown rapidly in popularity over the last year. They currently have 1 billion views on their YouTube channel, including more than 11 million views of their latest song, “Feel It Now,” as well as a nomination for “Best Group” at the prestigious MTV Video Music Awards in New York last month.
The group, with the support of Pepsi, announced that they were on the hunt for a new member from the region in November 2019 when they were last in the UAE for the launch of Pepsi black. Since then, they have reviewed thousands of potential group members from cities across MENA, one of the band’s most engaged #uniter fanbases, before members of the band and their team gathered this week in Dubai to make the final selection. Watch Now United members Josh Beauchamp and Heyoon Jeong discuss the search and the partnership with Pepsi.
Over the next week, the band’s millions of fans around the world will watch as Now United group members, together with top choreographer Kyle Hanagami, internationally renowned casting director Kerrie Mailey, and group creator Simon Fuller, narrow down the entries from the shortlist of exceptionally talented 13 finalists from across the region. To become Now United’s 16th member, they will need to demonstrate not only exceptional talent but also an appreciation of the values which make Now United a unique pop act. The finalists represent a diverse range of countries from the Middle East and North Africa including UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia together to showcase some of the region’s finest young musical talent.
In observance of social distancing, finalists will audition virtually from their home countries.
Simon Fuller says: “The addition of a new member to Now United is a huge moment for us. We’ve had an amazing response and have seen remarkable quality and diversity in the talent across the Middle East and North Africa. It is going to be quite a challenge to choose just one person. We are looking for someone extraordinary, with undeniable talent, passion and a wonderful positive spirit. They should be an inspiration to our fans all over the world and represent this incredible region with pride and joy. I can’t wait to see who the next member will be!”
With their strong music history and credentials, Pepsi is proud to support Now United in their journey to find a new member. In 2018, Pepsi joined forces with the group, and the following year recorded a refreshed Pepsi jingle and music video filmed in the Philippines that served as the heartbeat of the brand’s 2019 international FOR THE LOVE OF IT platform launch. Since then, the partnership with Pepsi has helped drive the group’s international growth.
Commenting on the search, Tamer El Rafie, Vice President, Beverage Marketing, PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia, commented: “The diversity, passion and vibrancy of Now United has captured the hearts and entertained millions around the world. We’re proud to welcome the band back to the region for the final phase of this talent search. Pepsi has been supporting both global and local stars for decades, and as we near a decision to find a new band member from MENA, we’re energized to celebrate our brand’s legacy and spotlight the region’s newest talent in our ongoing quest to support music and creative expression.”
Now United’s Canadian member Josh Beauchamp says: “I remember the excitement I felt about being given the chance by Simon to be a part of Now United, and I know each of the amazing singers and dancers from across the region will be feeling the same right now. Now United has changed my life, connecting me with the most incredible and loyal fans and giving me the chance to work with the best experts in the world, like Kyle, to stretch me as an artist. I know whoever is chosen is going to inspire followers from the own country and across the world, with their unique talent and their personal journey in the group.”
Introduced in 2017 by Simon Fuller, the first Now United band members hailed from 14 different countries across the globe.