A fresh new force on today’s pop landscape, Midnight Red is a five-piece act with an edgy yet all-American twist on the boy-band resurgence. United by their intensely pure talent and passion for music of all kinds, Midnight Red’s members hail from all over the U.S.: Joey Diggs, Jr. is a Los Angeles native, Thomas Augusto was raised in rural Texas, Anthony Ladao is from Seattle, Eric Secharia grew up in Burbank, and Colton Rudloff comes from Buffalo, New York. As the second signing to the partnership between Grammy Award-winning producer/songwriter RedOne’s 2101 Records and Capitol Music Group, Midnight Red is now teaming up with RedOne (Lady Gaga, U2, J.Lo, Pitbull) to create a debut album that showcases their powerhouse vocals and harnesses the combustible energy of their live show.
Based in Los Angeles, Midnight Red first flaunted their harmonic power on the 2012 single “Hell Yeah” (a beat-soaked party anthem whose accompanying video also revealed their killer dancing skills—as well as helped the group rack up its five million digital impressions). Breezy-sweet but just as catchy, Midnight Red’s follow-up single “Take Me Home” is now gracing movie theaters across the country as part of Coca Cola’s summer promotion in partnership with iHeartRadio. With a 16-date gig opening for New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys already under their belt, Midnight Red is also touring the U.S. on their sold-out Pop Explosion tour—all while gearing up for a fiery debut that fuses dance, pop, and hip-hop and unveils the group’s affinity for artists as eclectic as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Radiohead, No Doubt, Justin Timberlake, and Bruno Mars.
Near-lifelong singers and dancers hailing from wildly different backgrounds, Midnight Red saw its inception when Anthony and Eric met through their mutual vocal coach. A star dancer for Monsters of HipHop, Anthony had tried out as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson at age 12, then made it to the final round of auditions only to find he was too young to go on tour. After Anthony connected with Eric (through a vocal coach), the two reached out to Thomas, who soon relocated to L.A. from his rural Texas hometown to join the group. A self-described music obsessive “raised by MTV,” Thomas devoted his high school years to scouting out any opportunity to sing onstage, and had crossed paths with Eric through a singing competition when he was 15. Next, the group tracked down Colton after stumbling across a YouTube video of the aspiring singer/school-chorus star covering Jesse McCartney’s “Leavin.’” To round out the lineup, Midnight Red’s then-manager tapped Joey, another aspiring singer who was attending California State University, Northridge (and whose singer/songwriter father, Joey Diggs Sr., had recorded vocals with the likes of Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, and Rod Stewart).
Taking their name from a message Joey received in a dream, the solidified lineup Midnight Red began devoting their days to rehearsing in a garage deep in Orange County. “We’d be in that garage for hours and hours, in the middle of the summer when it was about 100 degrees out, rehearsing the same three songs over and over,” recalls Eric. After landing a meeting with RedOne, the group headed to Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood to show the hitmaker their act. “We went out to the middle of the lot and blasted our music from someone’s car and started dancing and singing without microphones,” says Thomas. “Pretty soon a whole crowd gathered around to see our little impromptu show.” Immediately sold on Midnight Red, RedOne joined forces with the group—a move that helped pave the way for their touring with New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys in summer 2011. “At that point the biggest show we’d played was a block party with about 80 people,” says Thomas. “And then all of sudden we’re onstage in Las Vegas, performing for a crowd of 12,000.”
Soon scoring opening slots for mega-stars like Carly Rae Jepsen, Midnight Red quickly earned a reputation as a magnetic live act with limitless energy. “That experience of connecting with people through music, bringing them some kind of joy by doing what we love—it’s just an awesome, amazing feeling,” says Anthony of performing live. In making their full-length debut, Midnight Red focused on channeling that joy into a selection of songs that include both beat-heavy club bangers and harmony-powered ballads. Produced by RedOne, the album celebrates the group’s versatility by merging musical styles from hip-hop to rock, but ultimately prizes well-crafted melody above all else. “One of our goals is to put out songs that really stand the test of time,” says Colton. “The kind of song you could hear years from now, and right away it would take you back to the first time you ever heard it.”
As they continue to earn a frenzied fanbase through the success of “Hell Yeah” and “Take Me Home” (along with a soulful cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” that’s garnered nearly 2 million YouTube views to date), Midnight Red make a point of sustaining the same work ethic that powered them through their early days. “We’re always pushing ourselves so we’re ready to handle whatever comes our way,” notes Joey. And while each member brings his own singular sensibility—Anthony is the dance maestro, Joey’s musical knowledge encompasses “everything from Bollywood to Garth Brooks,” Thomas is a fiend for rock-and-roll and punk rock, Colton pairs his small-town charm with long-honed vocal chops, and Eric considers himself the comedian of the quintet—their shared dedication has created a rare synergy within Midnight Red. “We’ve got a chemistry that’s bled over into everything, not just on a social level but on a working level,” says Thomas. “We’ve learned how everyone works and what their strengths are, so now we sing better together and dance better together. That dynamic between us just keeps getting stronger and stronger.”