They say that trouble comes in threes, and trouble is exactly what you might expect from three brothers who are all in their teens or just beyond. That is, unless the three young men in question are Zach (21), Jacob (19) and Nich (18) Oswald, professionally known as OBB. Sure the trio squabbles a little bit now and then, especially when it comes to Italian dessert pastries, but they’re too busy and focused to get wrapped up in too much sibling rivalry. OBB is a pop-oriented vocal group that includes a Christian message in their music, and every song on their new self-titled five-song E.P. for Curb Records has mass appeal, especially current hit single “Come on Home.” The guys are keeping a level head during their ascension to fame which at the moment shows no apparent limitations. While loading in for a show in Mississippi, Zach called to tell us a little bit about OBB’s beginnings, the new E.P. and the battle over those Italian pastries.
Examiner: Tell me about your first taste of national fame during The Early Show’s “Singing Family Face Off” where OBB took third place.
Zach Oswald: It was a really cool experience, for sure, going from just being normal kids with a lawn mowing company and the next thing you know we’re on national television playing for millions of viewers. I think my brother Nich (pronounced “Nick”) was only 12-years-old at the time.
E: Wasn’t it your grandmother that urged you to enter the competition?
ZO: With it being The Early Show, it’s on very early in the morning and me and my brothers were not normally up at that time. But our grandma gets up early and watches the news and everything and she saw this advertisement that they were looking for family bands for a battle of the bands. She called up and said “I think you guys can win this thing!” So we did it kind of to make grandma happy. We sent a video in and the next thing you know they’re calling us wanting to use the video as a teaser to get more bands to participate. So every morning they were playing a few seconds of our video. Then they wanted to come meet with us and we thought “Oh, my goodness, this is crazy!” They came to the house and told us we were in the top twenty and to be ready on a certain day in case they ended up choosing us. On that day we got up early and there was a truck with a huge satellite dish outside our home. We’re watching it on TV as the announcer is running down our road and then up to our door! It was really cool. A lot of people don’t get an opportunity like that. We were pretty pumped.
E: So grandma could say “I told you so!”
ZO: And she does! “It all started with grandma! Don’t forget!”
E: It wasn’t long after that that Curb Records came knocking. Tell me about that.
ZO: The Early Show opened so many doors. We continued playing, going out and performing, and we started getting a lot of label interest. People came and met with us and we got a bunch of free dinners and that was fun. We liked many of the labels but they weren’t offering anything like Curb. We just felt like we fit really well with them. They had a great plan for what they wanted to do with us, and the list of artists they’ve had is very impressive. They came to one of our shows down in Georgia at an outdoor festival and stood out in the heat and got all sweaty; the show was in hot Atlanta of course. We went out to lunch with them afterwards and felt we had a really good connection and ended up signing within a couple months. Three months after our signing they put us on the largest tour in the world for the year’s first quarter (The Winter Jam Spectacular) which was really awesome to be a part of. We’re really enjoying being a part of their team.
E: Did you have a favorite moment from that tour?
ZO: Yes. In Tampa, Florida we played this huge arena, 15,000 capacity and sold out. We had already played our set and were hanging out backstage and the people in charge of the tour came to us and told us that they had some people who couldn’t get in, and would we mind playing for them. So we’re like, sure, and we grabbed our acoustic guitars and were heading upstairs thinking there might be a few hundred people there. We go outside and there were over 9000 people who had come and didn’t get in! It was crazy, being outside and playing an acoustic set for 9000 people. It was one of my favorite experiences.
E: And I bet you made 9000 fans for life.
ZO: We have a lot of fans in Tampa now.
E: Today you’re doing something a bit smaller with your gig in Summit, Mississippi. What’s your day been like?
ZO: We got up at 6:00 AM to leave Atlanta to head down here. The venue has a good sound system so we didn’t need to bring our own; we’re traveling light with our small trailer. We drove all morning and got here and started setting up. We really like to put on an amazing show whether we’re playing for a couple hundred people or a couple thousand people. We want to put on the best show possible so we brought all our lights and our fog machine. I love these small venues because you really feel like you get to see everybody when you’re up there playing. Were more connected when we can see everybody’s face and we’re all going crazy together.
E: The E.P. has five songs on it; what else do you play during your set?
ZO: We normally play an hour to an hour and a half. We’ve written enough songs to do probably about an album and a half so we’re going through and playing them live right now to see how people react to them and see which ones we should put on the album. Some of the songs we’re doing right now that have been going over really well are “Wake Me Up” which has a very acoustic feel to it and “All Eyes On You” which is kind of a fun, rockin’ song where everybody ends up jumping and going nuts. Another one we’ve been playing that we’re really excited about is called “Bright Side.” It’s about how we don’t live a perfect life but we’re going to live looking at the bright side.
E: Your song “Wildfire” is kind of about that, living to the fullest with a positive attitude. OBB seems to be doing exactly that right now.
ZO: Yes, we are! That’s a really fun song that we like to close the night with. It’s a really hyped-up song that we can all get behind. We’re living that song and hopefully the message will spread kind of like a wildfire everywhere we go and everywhere we play.
E: Okay, now let’s get the real story on the cooking situation. Your brother Nich won the Oswald family cook-off, but you claim that you in fact are the better cook. What’s a dish you make that Nich can’t touch you on?
ZO: That would be cannolis. I am a master of the cannolis! (Laughs) I love ’em. My mom is from New York and I love cannolis from New York so I figured “I better learn to make these.” Mine are much better than Nich’s. His end up falling apart. (More laughter)
E: And I bet you guard your recipe with your life.
ZO: Oh yes, definitely. They will never ever know my secret!
Visit the official OBB website