Turangi teen joins US boy band

Jackson Owens’ normal life of pig hunting and hangi is about to be turned upside down by what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Turangi 16-year-old flies out to Orlando, Florida tonight to become the fourth member of a newly created boy band, hand selected by the same producer who created the Backstreet Boys. 

It all began when the Tauhara College student was discovered on YouTube last November and flown to America to meet the team and see if he would be the right fit. 

From there the deal with music producer, two-time Grammy nominee Tim Coons, was sealed.

Having started his career performing at Tongariro Area School, Jackson's dad and music coach Bobby Owens said the prospect of sudden international commercial success had come as a shock.

‘‘He has been singing for a few years but we never thought about the whole boy band thing.

‘‘We are definitely taking it all on because we know what a big deal it is.’’ 

Owens said Coons had decided he wanted to do one last project before he retired. 

‘‘He wanted to form another boy band and he spotted Jackson online and got in touch through Facebook. The process only took four or five days and they booked our flights to meet them in November [last year] for three or four days. We got the all clear yesterday morning [to tell people].’’

Jackson is the only member of the boy band who is not American and admits the move to Florida, where they will be based, is a big one. 

‘‘ It’s a once in a lifetime thing and I am very lucky, it's a huge shock,’’ Jackson said.

He said he owed his dad a lot for his achievements. 

‘‘He has been my music coach for quite a while, I pretty much owe it to him for what I’ve been doing and all the people who have supported me in Taupo and Turangi, I want to thank them as well.’’

He said he was looking forward to Orlando and getting stuck in. 

‘‘Just to meet the other boys and get things started and start working and get our first song out that’s my main goal.’’

Jackson said for now he just would be taking every day as it came. 

‘‘I’ll just be learning as I go and taking it step by step.’’