A killer pop band is only as good as its chemistry and Los Angeles' new sensation My Crazy Girlfriend knows a lot about that: Myah Marie, Bennett Armstrong, Justyn Armstrong, and Cosmo are best friends and a pair of twins that have taken their love for delicious hooks and irresistible hip-hop to the next level on their Capitol debut EP, CRAZY STUPID LOVE (out March 25, 2014).
Before the four members of My Crazy Girlfriend collided in L.A. — and made one of the most cross-pollinated, genre-mashing pop albums of the year — they were making moves on their own. Myah Marie has been singing since she was 2 years old and writing songs since she was 8. "My dad kicked me out when I was 16 after I threw a huge party, and all I had at my friend's house was my little MacBook. I discovered Garage Band and wrote this dramatic song and put it on MySpace," she says. It was an epic turning point. She got contacted by a rep for a pair of rhyme-spitting, song-writing twins (the Armstrong brothers) and started collaborating with them, but she was also pursuing her own sound, moving to Vegas to sing over dance tracks (where she shared a house with budding EDM wunderkind Avicii) and crooning backup on Britney Spears albums.
Fraternal twins Bennett and Justyn Armstrong — the sons of a Viennese pianist and a backup singer for the Platters — also got their start at a very young age. The pair, who grew up on a diet of Green Day, No Doubt, and N.W.A, was discovered in a mall by Tricky Stewart at age 11 and moved to Atlanta for a crash course in the music biz before they got out of high school. When they returned to L.A., "Our mom would go without electricity so we could record at home," Justyn says. As hip-hip duo 2XL, the pair released a 2007 LP called Neighborhood Rapstar on Tommy Boy, then inked a songwriting deal with hitmaker Kara DioGuardi.
Cosmo also spent time in a studio as a child: Her father was a writer and rapper in Seattle who took his young daughter to work when he was recording with Sir Mix-A-Lot. As a pre-teen in Portland, Cosmo and her friends would simply "be TLC," she laughs. "I was Left Eye, and we would memorize all the songs and perform them." She relocated to Los Angeles at 18 and fell in with a group of music-making pals that included Bennett and Justyn while she was working on dance music with a hip-hop edge.
At first, the foursome casually worked on each other's music — writing songs, making suggestions, seeing each other through the ups and downs. And for a while, there were a lot of downs. Myah and Bennett rented an apartment in the Hollywood Towers — directly across the street from Capitol Records' iconic building — and gazed at what would become their future label while undergoing one of the hardest times of their lives. "We got evicted because we couldn't afford it and we were all so frustrated," Myah explains. "None of our songs were getting placed, nothing was happening, and that was the moment we were like, okay, we need to focus on one thing and do us." Somebody suggested, "Why don't you guys form like, the Avengers?" Bennett recalls. So they did.
When My Crazy Girlfriend came together, everything changed for the group, and they clicked as a team immediately. "They're all fiery Aries and I'm the hippie, free-spirit, beatnik Aquarius," Cosmo says. "I think we definitely have a really significant bond. No matter what, no one is going anywhere."
That unique chemistry can be heard all over CRAZY STUPID LOVE EP. Lead single "Go F**k Yourself" — an upbeat, wickedly clever tune that crosses all genres — is a perfect example of how My Crazy Girlfriend can gel. "We're into twisting lyrics and making them unique," Myah says. "It's not just one vocal, there's four people that we have to fit on a song. If you have ADD it's perfect." The song starts with a beautifully sung vocal before exploding into a propulsive groove that segues into a heartfelt rap. All the elements unite for the track's chorus, which the group explains is a fun play on words.
My Crazy Girlfriend - Go F**k Yourself (Lyric Video)
The beautifully melodic hook of "Crazy Stupid Love" is impossible to get out of your head — and explains who My Crazy Girlfriend really are: "We're crazy, we're stupid, and we love to love," Myah laughs. Bennett says it's his favorite track because, "We wanted to tie all our influences into a record that sounded new and fresh." (The brothers produced the song, which was co-written by Kasey Livingston and their frequent collaborator David "DQ" Quiñones.)
The group explores its darkest times on the slow-rolling, introspective track "American Beauty" (which features impressive Alanis Morissette-inspired vocals from Myah Marie, and a slick verse from Cosmo) but brings the party back on "Fall Down," which Bennett says, "Has a ska, No Doubt, hip-hop vibe I like a lot. Massive drums and over-amped guitars." That one is Cosmo's favorite because "It has a summer sun vibe, and island-y kind of sound and it's really interactive between the four of us." The track opens with a few plucks of surfy guitar before jumping right into a bouncy Cali groove that's the perfect mixed of chilled-out and amped-up.
All four members of My Crazy Girlfriend agree No Doubt, Gym Class Heroes, and Green Day have been huge influences over the years. But their own sound is, well, crazy unique.
"We wanted to come up with something that's new but timeless, and that's why we wanted the majority of our stuff to be organic based and have organic elements," Justyn says. "It's awesome to be doing this all together," Bennett adds. "We feel like one unit, in the studio and out."
Download "Go F**k Yourself" here: http://smarturl.it/MCGFgfy