Not too many acts from TV talent shows earn an extended life beyond their 15 minutes of fame, but one which has is dance troupe Justice Crew, having won Australia’s Got Talent in 2010.
This week it was reported they have been spotted and signed by US rapper Pit Bull, to release their single Boom Boom in the US.
TV Tonight recently caught up with two of the seven-man act, E-Man and Solo, to hear how the boys have kept their act in the marketplace.
“We had to jump on it really quick and decide what we were doing as a business and how we could make Justice Crew a brand,” says E-Man. “You have to feed seven people, and there’s wages and stuff like that, so everything has to be equalled out. But it just makes us work harder.
“We still have to work as individuals and we all have separate roles. It’s not like one person just follows another. But we’re all business-minded.
“We just have to work harder, and being able to sing has added that extra bit of flavour and more work for us.”
The group was formed from two acts in 2009 and entered Australia’s Got Talent after seeing UK dance act Diversity beat Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent.
“We met through local competitions at Sydney and around Australia. But we all came from different groups. So we just thought why compete? Why not come together? Justice Crew are really about coming together,” says Solo.
Aged 20 – 26, they have built a reputation on giving free dance lessons to kids -something they still make time to incorporate.
“We still do that,” says E-Man. “If we go to rural areas around Australia we’ll try to make time to do a workshop for free. We used to own a studio but we gave it to our creative director because we were always busy and we couldn’t promise kids we would be there 24/7. We have a new rule that if we have a show in the outback or in Sydney we’ll try to run a free workshop. It keeps us grounded and helps us understand who we are.
“A lot of people get carried away with the fame and celebrity life, but if you’ve always got your head switched on and you’re doing it right then you’ll have a successful life. That’s our philosophy.”
Solo says their success has encouraged a lot of young males to take up dance too.
“We’ve had a few thank-yous from Dance Studios for what we do because now they have more boys coming into their studios. So I guess it’s girls and boys we inspire and we just want to keep on getting them dancing and empower them.”
E-Man agrees, “It used to be that boys shouldn’t be dancing so we decided ‘No, it’s cool to dance.’ For us it’s an expression. Breakdancing is cool, doing the flips and stuff …now boys are getting involved in new dance styles and are able to express themselves.”
After winning AGT the troupe was signed to Sony Records as a vocal act, and have since scored ARIA nominations, platinum sales and a #1 in Boom Boom.
But it’s the group’s cultural diversity that is one of their strongest attributes, with members with Filipino, Tongan-Tanzanian, Maldives and Italian heritage.
“It’s the whole thing of bringing everyone in. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are, all that matters is that we have the same passion and the same vision,” says Solo.
“Just respect the person and who they are, not what they look like or their different beliefs. We do this because we love doing it,” E-Man insists.
But with seven members how long will it be before one member wants to leave the band?
Both boys acknowledge they have the structure to endure the inevitable.
“It’s all written, it’s all legal, we did it the smart way. If we break ties it’s out of respect. But I don’t think we’ll break up soon because we’re a family now,” says E-Man.
Solo adds, “But it happens a lot in a group when you have certain players who want to do different things or they have a different vision, and that’s cool. But with Justice Crew right now everyone’s on the same page.”
With US plans now in sight, it doesn’t look like anybody will be wanting out of this talented act anytime soon.