Emblem3 is back after a short break, but the pop rock trio’s reunion is bittersweet. According to 19-year-old Keaton Stromberg, 22-year-old Wesley Stromberg, and 23-year-old Drew Chadwick, their group was planning a tour with Christina Grimmie before the 22-year-old singer was tragically shot and killed during a meet and greet with fans. The guys of Emblem3 recently talked about their memories of Christina and whether The Voice star’s murder will affect the way they interact with their fans.
Just like Christina Grimmie, Emblem3 found fame on a reality singing competition. However, the group won the hearts of millions of teen girls by performing on The X Factor, not The Voice. The guys only finished fourth in 2012, but they were often compared to another group of super-successful, good-looking guys that had similarly managed to impress Simon Cowell: Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction fame.
Just like One Direction, Emblem3 decided to take a break after a short time together. Drew Chadwick left the band to pursue a solo career in 2014, but the group got back together late last year. They released their latest EP, Waking Up, in February, and they’re currently on tour.
During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Emblem3 revealed that Christina Grimmie and the band she was touring with when she was killed, Before You Exit, were supposed to join them at some point during their Waking Up tour.
“Both of them [Christina and Before You Exit] were supposed to open for us on this tour,” Drew Chadwick revealed. “So, we had this more direct personal thing with them ’cause we’re like, wait, that would have happened at our gig. But even more than that, it’s like, we knew Christina and she hung out with us a lot.”
The guys connected with Christina when they toured with Selena Gomez in 2013. As Rolling Stone reports, Selena and Christina were extremely close; Selena’s stepfather was Christina’s manager, and the girls had known each other since they were young teens. She was considered a part of Selena Gomez’s family.
Drew Chadwick called Christina Grimmie’s death “surreal,” and Keaton Stromberg is in such a state of shock that he doesn’t know how to react to the loss of his friend.
“Do I mourn for a really long time? ‘Cause I could easily just freak out about it, or do I just keep living my life?”
Emblem3 had texted Christina Grimmie about making a few YouTube videos together shortly before she was killed.
“We were in Orlando three or four days before all of this happened. It just, it hits home because we’re in the same world, we’re out there touring, playing these same venues, similar venues, and you never know what kind of people are in the audience,” Keaton said.
According to TMZ, the man who killed Christina Grimmie was obsessed with her and told coworkers that he wanted to marry her. He underwent plastic surgery in the hopes that changing his look would help him woo the singer.
Grimmie’s death has made the guys of Emblem3 a little more aware of the importance of having effective security, but they revealed that do not plan on canceling their meet and greets.
Emblem3 may be in mourning, but the band hopes that they’ll have their fans smiling with them by the end of the summer. The group recently shared the new music video for “End of the Summer” with Entertainment Tonight, but it’s probably best enjoyed while it’s still summer; all those beach scenes might make fans miss the sun and the sand when the end of the summer does get here.
Emblem3 is “technically independent” after opting not to renew their record contract, so they don’t have to answer to Simon Cowell anymore. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Drew Chadwick wasn’t a fan of Cowell’s push to mold the band into the next One Direction on The X Factor, and the guys are seemingly enjoying the freedom to do whatever they want now that they’re on their own. During an interview with Peninsula Daily News, Drew said that Emblem3 views Waking Up as a warm up for bigger and better things.
“When we get back we’ll be producing our next album. It’s going to be next level sick… We want to work with a lot of big producers and get as much hype behind it as we can,” he said.
Are you happy that Emblem3 can do its own thing now, and are you sad that the guys won’t be touring with Christina Grimmie? Sound off below!
[Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Race To Erase MS]