Band newbie puts acting ambitions on hold
It's been a wild six weeks for the youngest member of New Zealand's hottest new boy band.
Jordi Webber, 18, of the freshly formed Titanium has been rehearsing like crazy and living out of a hotel with five other boys after a radio station competition plucked them from obscurity.
Meanwhile, their single, Come on Home, has shot to No 1 in the New Zealand singles charts.
Titanium was on the eve of hitting the road for a countrywide tour when the Southland Times spoke to Jordi, who was on a quick break in a rehearsal studio between blocking some of the moves during their set of eight songs, getting coached on vocals, and generally living an adult life for the first time, outside university hostel life.
His bandmates - Zac Taylor, Andrew Papas, Shaquille Paranihi-Ngauma, Haydn Linsley, and T K Paradza - have also had to mature quickly, dropping school and work commitments to morph into the 2012 Kiwi answer to One Direction, a band they are compared with constantly.
It is a lot of pressure, Webber says.
But this is what they signed up for.
The first performances were in malls around Auckland, which the Rotorua native says was a good pointer to what they could expect on the road through October.
The most definite indicator of things to come: lots of screaming girls.
"For me, that was something new.
"You get used to it. So far there's been nothing crazy - you do get recognised; you get the odd person coming up to you . . ."
If it got any more intense then that, it would be "pretty freaky", he says.
Webber has been a performing arts major in Auckland, so there was some insanity going from the seriousness of an acting class to "boyband" boot camp with his new stagemates, in preparation to deliver live entertainment, he says.
While the thespian-turned-singer says it has been a thrill to develop his vocals, his dream continues to be a foot in the door in Hollywood.
"I always wanted to be an actor," he says, citing The Transformers (the first one) as one of his favourite flicks. "I was always playing outside, cutting up bushes . . . it's definitely not something I'm giving up - it's still a dream I'd like to go for."
The boys do get along pretty well, he says, and the range of ages - the oldest is 27 - means that there are different life experiences coming to the group dynamic.
He says the audience in Invercargill can expect "a lot of energy, some acoustic performances" and even "a soft, quiet moment".
"This has all been pretty unbelievable; pretty trippy," he says of the journey upwards.
It's also his first time travelling almost the entire length of the country. "I'll just see where this all goes - I have no idea where this is taking me."
The Southland Times