If you happened to tune in to BET for the premiere of the new season of Keyshia Cole's "The Way It Is" last week, you may have caught the sneak peek of another BET reality series "Brothers to BRUTHA" which tells the story of Def Jam's new brother act Brutha. The show follows 5 siblings, Grady, Anthony, Jacob, Poppa (Cheyenne) and Jared -- who range in age from 19 to 25 as they prepare for the release of their album debut. I chopped it up with the Harrell brothers not long ago and got their take on what people can expect from their TV series as well as their self-titled album, due out just before Christmas.
Soul Rebel: Tell me about your television series starting November 18th?
Anthony: It's basically about our struggle as a family to make it in the music business. We have a long lineage of history in the music business, that goes back like 4 or 5 generations, it follows us as we strive to break into the business and strive to make it as a family and forgive one another all the bumps and ups and downs. It's a family show. At the end of the day we stay together as a family.
SR: I know you have other brothers and sisters as well, there are 13 of you guys, are they also going to be on the show?
Grady: There are a lot of family members on the show through the course of the season, but obviously this is our introduction to the world the focus is on us as a group and our Uncle Drano, who manages us.
SR: They said there is gonna be some fighting what could you guys possibly fight about?
Jake: That's how it looks from the outside looking in, but we're brothers, families fight, but at the end of the day we make up. Some families don't, but the beauty with us is we're blood and at the end of the day we're going to forgive each other. So yes, you will see some drama, but we always work it out.
SR: You can't tell me what you fight over? Girls? Who gets to wear the hottest blazer?
Jake: It's stupid stuff, all kinds of stuff, we fight because Jared is always late, we fight because Grady is a smart aleck.
SR: So Grady is the typical bossy oldest brother?
Grady: Yep, I like to hit my brothers off with the subtle sarcasm. It pisses them off. I will give you a preview though. Me and Ant have a pretty knockdown drag out fight in episode one and it's pretty crazy to see. So people have to tune in from the beginning.
SR: Tell me about the album?
Poppa: It's self-titled Brutha. We worked with a lot of people we're very excited to mention. Rodney Jerkins, Ne-Yo, the first single was produced by Elvis Williams and written by Eric Sire, we worked with Jazze Pha, the Corna Boyz, Daron from 112. A lot of greats in the industry.
SR: Who would you say surprised you the most?
Anthony: Probably Elvis Williams, he is a newcomer, he gave us our first single. We went in and it took us a long time, we were there until about 9 in the morning. We helped write with the songwriter Eric Sire. They're newcomers but they were hungry and it's a hit. The first single is "I Can't Hear the Music" ft Fabolous.
SR: Who inspired you guys musically when you were growing up?
Jared: We grew up on Boyz II Men and the Jackson 5, we patterned ourselves after those guys. New Edition of course, we have a high energy stage show so, you know, the greats.
SR: You guys performed for Michael Jackson before right?
Jake: Yeah we had the pleasure of performing at his 45th birthday party, right in front of him. It was incredible, he was standing at the corner of the stage it was crazy. We had mad butterflies, but we held it together, we did "We Are The World."
SR: Is his nose holding up? He's been looking a little frail lately.
Grady: He might look a little frail but I shook his hand and he has a serious grip. In addition to singing for Michael we did a tribute to New Edition at the ASCAP awards. We did "Can You Stand The Rain" and "If It Isn't Love" all six members were there it was a dream come true.
SR: Did you guys get any advice from Michael or New Edition?
Anthony: We didn't get a chance to sit down with them, but we were there as they were giving their acceptance speech and just seeing them all there together they're an example to us and we learn just by looking at them.
Grady: After our performance we walked off stage to greet them and they said they were proud of us. The next day Ralph Tresvant was on the radio talking about us and how we are the next hot group, it felt great.
SR: I hope you realize how lucky you are to have this show. Whose idea was it?
Grady: My uncle Drano is a genius. He had this idea. No one has every been introduced to the world as a new artist in this way. But my uncle came up with the concept and got with James Dubose and the next thing we know we had cameras following us around documenting our lives. It's a blessing to have your life put out there and promoted with your album.
SR: Do you guys ever fight over who sings lead?
Anthony: That's one thing we don't fight ever and I don't think we ever will fight over because my Uncle Drano is boss at the end of the day, and he has a really good ear so he says who is going to sound good. We know who is going to sing what harmony part because we know pretty much whose voice is going to fit that range, but we never fight over who will fight lead. Never.
SR: You guys have three other brothers, you ever worry about if you step out of line your Uncle can just pull up a spare, Tito or somebody, to replace you?
Grady:We're gonna be together forever. That's what makes us different from other groups. Our bond is unbreakable, Ant could punch me in the teeth and I'll go onstage singing with him with no teeth.
SR: Who are you guys looking forward to working with in the future?
Anthony: I'm looking forward to working with R.Kelly.
Jared: I'm definitely working forward to working with Dr. Dre.
Grady: I'd love to do a track with Michael Jackson.
Jake: I have so many but I'm gonna have to concur with Jared and say Dr. Dre because we rep the west coast.
Poppa: I'm gonna have to concur with all my brothers.
SR: Poppa your real name is Cheyenne, why do they call you Poppa?
Poppa: Since I was born my dad says I've been acting like an old man, and it stuck, everyone calls me that. When I was younger I wasn't going out playing, I was chillin, watching the kids playing.
SR: How did you guys choose the songs for your YouTube Acapellas?
Anthony: We've been practicing forever so we have so many acapellas in our arsenal, from Jodeci, R.Kelly, so many different people so when our uncle told us we were going to do this we were ready for it.
SR: What are you most excited about in the next month ahead, the tv show, the album, going on tour?
In Unison: The Album.
Jake: The tv show is an added incentive but this is something we've been working toward our whole lives, since we were little boys. It's an absolute dream come true.
"Brothers to Brutha" premieres tonight at 10:30 pm EST on BET. The series is dedicated to the memory of Shakir Stewart. Brutha the album hits stores December 23rd. Visit myspace/thisisbrutha for more information on the group.