More than 15 years after they were first formed, Mumbaikars were able to witness British-Irish pop rock band The Wanted for the very first time in India earlier this May. They left no stone unturned as they performed some of their most popular hits including ‘Glad You Came’ and ‘Chasing The Sun’ to a crowd that did not take long to let their hair down and jump and sing along with them. 

With such a large fan base in India, ask them how it feels to be here, and Max quickly says, “Just being in India and knowing that we get to perform here is so exciting for us. Being on stage and feeling the heat, you know you`re in a different place because it is very hot. It`s our first show in a really long time.” A mix of millennials. 

Dealing with Tom Parker’s death 
On a two-city tour in India, Mumbaikars were able to witness vocalists Max George and Siva Kaneswaran, one part of the formerly five-member band that originally also had Jay McGuiness, Nathan Sykes, and the late Tom Parker. The duo was brought down by KCT Entertainment as they performed at Dublin Square in Phoenix Marketcity Kurla before making their way to Bengaluru. 

The last time they performed at a concert was during their ‘Most Wanted: The Greatest Hits Tour’ in 2022, following their hiatus for seven years between 2014 – 2021. Unfortunately, soon after, Parker passed away in March 2022, two years after being diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 glioblastoma in 2020. 

It has been two years since then but then band is still dealing with it and the period hasn’t been easy Max shares, “Life rolls difficult things at you and everyone has to cope with it in their own way. It`s been a tough time for all of us, but we are doing the best we can. We are trying to be the best people we can be.” Siva adds, “Time heals all wounds and especially with losing Tom. We are trying to give each other and our families time and space.”

Evolving beyond the ‘boy band’ tag
In the time the band has been active since 2009, they have released albums – `The Wanted` (2010), Battleground (2011) and `Word of Mouth` (2013) before they went on a hiatus. With the world moving on, even their music evolved over time in more ways than one. Being an integral part of the band, Siva sheds light, “We started in the UK with strings essentially and we were quite like Coldplay in the beginning. Then, we kind of evolved into more dance and pop music, which was `Glad You Came`. We found out from performing that fans really like upbeat dance music.” 

So, the band kept on rolling, he says, and made tracks like `Chasing The Sun`, `I Found You`. “They were tracks that made people jump. That made us feel good and we judged all this from the reaction of crowd.”

Being a boy band in their own right, The Wanted aren’t anything like most 80s and 90s kids grew up to with a lot of music, song and dance. So, how have they seen the very concept of boy bands evolve, after they themselves were selected after auditions more than 15 years ago. “The 90s boy bands were different,” starts Siva, with George adding, “Especially with their use of dance moves. We personally never focused on boy bands really. We just focused on ourselves. I don`t think we are like anyone else, but I don`t know if that makes us better or worse, but we are what we are.” 

While music is still a far-fetched thought for now, the bug of touring again has bit them. “Since this is the first time that we have done a gig and in India, we want to do more of these. We are going to keep touring,” says Siva, who incidentally also has Tamil roots in South Asia. 

This trip gave him the opportunity to reconnect with it in some way in India. “We walked through the slums, and it was a very humbling experience. It is my first time in India, and it felt good,” he adds, while Max endearingly concludes, “I feel like Siva fitted in. We were looking for our tour guide and he didn`t recognise Siva because he thought he was a local, and then he saw me and said, `Oh, there you are` and that`s how it was.” While George stood out a lot, Kasi says it is only the start of their visits to India and they would definitely want to do more. “I can`t wait to tell my family in Sri Lanka and Singapore, `I went to India!,” he concludes excitedly.