Emblem3 — Wesley Stromberg (from left), Drew Chadwick and Keaton Stromberg — are on tour with Selena Gomez. | KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
Selena Gomez; Emblem3, 7 p.m. Nov. 22, Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. $24-$68.50. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster
For reggae/hip-hop hybrid Emblem3, losing on a reality show meant winning in real life.
Brothers Wesley, 19, and Keaton Stromberg, 17, and buddy Drew Chadwick, 21, were hoping to kick off their music career when they auditioned for the second season of “The X Factor” in 2012. Instead, the trio came in fourth.
Since then, Simon Cowell signed them to his label Syco, Selena Gomez gave them the opening spot on her North American tour (rolling into the Allstate Arena on Nov. 22) and they’ve partied with the Kardashians at Christmas.
“They’re a really cool and fun family — Kris [Jenner] is crazy,” says Wes. “Bruce showed me all his cars and remote-control helicopters. He said anytime I want to go to the track, I was welcome to come along.”
The group’s first album, “Nothing to Lose,” made its debut at No. 7 on the Billboard album chart. First single, “Chloe (You’re the One I Want)” has sold more than 330,000 tracks to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The group has 800,000 Twitter followers, 360,000 Instagram fans and 770,000 Facebook friends. Plus, Emblem3 won the 2013 Teen Choice Award for breakout band. No big deal.
Of the group’s legions of fans, two stand out. One fan was so nervous, “she vomited during a meet-and-greet with us,” says Keaton. “Of course, I still gave her an autograph! I felt bad for her.”
Another fan showed her puppy love by sending them a dog. Yes, “an actual dog,” says Wes. “His name is Sampson and he’s a Westie terrier. He’s the cutest dog in the whole world.”
The guys met Khloe Kardashian when she was a host on “X Factor” and decided to name their hit song “Chloe” after her. But the song isn’t about her. “The song was written before we met her — ‘Chloe’ is about anybody who’s ever struggled with their looks or physical disabilities,” says Wes. “It’s about hanging in there and knowing that one day you’ll shine bright and looks won’t matter.”
The bandmates have traveled a long way since leaving their little town of Sequim, Wash., and they want to share the journey with their fans. Since the video for “3000 Miles” appeared on Vevo on Oct. 11, and it pulled in a million-plus page views.
“We show some home footage of when we were kids,” says Wes. “‘3000’ Miles is about putting the band together.”
Adds Keaton: “I’m from this little town of 6,000 people and now I’m known all over the world. I’m so grateful that so many people appreciate our talent.”
But the music industry is an unforgiving one, and there are plenty of talented artists who have fallen off the radar. Wes and Keaton aren’t fazed, thanks to the band’s stint on “X Factor.”
“We learned everything we need to know about the industry. The whole experience was a lot more intense than the real industry is [in that] you’re never really safe,” says Wes. “It’s a lot like ‘The Hunger Games.’”
Gannett News Service