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Rudloff is Part of New Trend in Pop Music
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012 2:58 AM EDT
by Jeremy Morlock

Boy bands are back, and East Aurora native Colton Rudloff is part of the new wave. The recent “British Invasion” of One Direction and The Wanted may be leading the trend now, but Rudloff’s band Midnight Red has been gaining fans at live shows and is getting radio play with its new single “Hell Yeah.”

MTV’s Buzzworthy Blog said of the song “…if it hasn't already, it'll become your new favorite ‘getting ready’ song from now until you're too old to party.” The “Hell Yeah” music video, which can be seen on YouTube or purchased through iTunes, showcases not just the song’s infectious beat, upbeat lyrics and smooth vocals, but also the dance moves of Midnight Red’s members.

“I think it’s the best possible way for Midnight Red to debut ourselves to the music industry,” Rudloff said of the single. “Everyone in the group gets their own part, and the song just fits us like a glove. Each person has their own different take on their part… It’s really current, and it’s going to be able to play in the clubs and also it’s not too dancy for radio.”

Rudloff, now 23, moved to California in March 2009 to become the lead singer of a cover band that was getting started. "Two months in, it wasn't going so well,” he recalled in an interview with the Advertiser. “I got an email from a woman who was the mother of a kid in this boy band. They were looking for a fifth and final member, and had auditioned a bunch of people. They'd gone to some record labels that said they needed a fifth member, and they search YouTube and found my video... I auditioned in this guy's living room and they put me in the group right then."

He had always planned to work as a solo artist or lead singer, but “I took the leap of faith to switch my journey,” Rudloff said. “I worked harder in the first three days rehearsing with them than I had ever worked with the other group or by myself. I was like ‘this is what I came here for.’ I came here to work hard and do something spectacular, so it just felt right.”

Asked what he likes best about being a part of Midnight Red, Rudloff said, “There's a camaraderie between the five of us… My favorite part is getting to work with these four other guys who are just as talented—they make me better and I make them better. We really work off each other, and that's something I never thought I would have, so that’s been really special.”

Midnight Red opened for New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys at a series of concerts last year, starting with a show at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on July 3, 2011. The band traveled for shows in 16 cities. “There were eight people plus all our luggage for two weeks of travel in this 11-person van, so it wasn’t luxury, but it was the coolest experience ever,” Rudloff recalled. “People weren’t coming to the shows to see Midnight Red, but we were doing all we could each night to show people who we were and to put on a show.”

The tour got the band some attention, as did its debut single, “One Club At A Time.” In late 2011, Interscope Records flew Midnight Red to Paris, where the band spent 10 days recording the bulk of its upcoming album, including the single “Hell Yeah.” It’s produced by RedOne, who has produced hit singles including Lady Gaga's "Just Dance," "Poker Face," and “Bad Romance,” Enrique Iglesias’ “I Like It,” Jennifer Lopez’ “On the Floor,” Havana Brown’s “We Run the Night,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” The single was released in June, and caught the attention of KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, the flagship of the Kiss-FM top 40 brand and one of the nation’s largest music stations. “Our single had dropped on a Tuesday, and in less than a week we were getting a call from KIIS-FM to come perform [live on June 27] and interview for their Weekend Mix Tape,” Rudloff said. “Ryan Seacrest posted our video on his website. For a new group, it’s the most massive opportunity ever.”

Being a member of Midnight Red is fun, but Rudloff acknowledged that there are challenges. Rudloff, a self-described worrywart, has to adjust to schedules that can change on short notice, and said, “In this business I don’t know what’s going to happen a month from today, but I have to be prepared for it.”

Rudloff also said he misses East Aurora and Western New York “I don’t want people to think I’m always homesick, but it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind.”

The band’s performances involve lots of carefully choreographed dance moves. Rudloff didn’t really think of himself as a dancer (though he took dance lessons at Aurora Ballet during his elementary school years), and had some catching up to do when he joined the band. “Lots of people are dancers or people are singers, and can focus on just one. [In Midnight Red,] you really have to be conscious of making sure that both get tended to. It’s not like we’re lip-syncing; we’re actually singing and dancing,” he said.

The video for “Hell Yeah” includes dance moves that took 10 days to choreograph and rehearse, and Rudloff said that the shoot included a special challenge: the music video was filmed at a rented motel, and includes dance scenes in an empty pool. “That pool was fun to dance in, but also very difficult because of all the angles and dips,” Rudloff said. “But it was really awesome, it just felt like a movie. It was such a cool vibe.”

Rudloff—noting the Buffalo area’s “city of neighbors” attitude and pride in the locally grown Goo Goo Dolls—hopes his own music can be “something for the younger generation to root for.” He thinks local listeners will enjoy the music, and added, “You can request to the radio stations that they play Midnight Red’s ‘Hell Yeah’.”