Hot Zoners, there’s a new male R&B group on the radar and they go by the name of 4EY The Future. Humming, coming at you from the DMV area, Michael “Kenny Iko” Timmons, Demetrius “MechieSoCrazy” Harris, and Leo Amari, recaptures the swagger of golden era male R&B bands and mixes it with fresh talent.
Despite comparisons to Mindless Behavior and British quartet, JLS the trio dares to stand out with their own unique style, boasting savvy vocals and stellar dance moves. The group first gained major recognition on the Zaytoven produced “Scoot Over” last February.
The visual sparked a craze among YouTubers who uploaded their own versions of the “Scoot Ova” dance to MTV.com, VH1.com, WPGC CBS Local, and My Fox DC.
Since then, 4EY The Future has followed up with the visual to the Young Berg assisted “No Time To Waste,” featuring Wale. Both “Scoot Ova” and “No Time To Waste” are featured on 4Ever, the group’s forthcoming debut album. Currently, the dynamic trio is preparing for their highly anticipated “No Parents Allowed” tour, slated to start on Nov. 9, in Greensboro, NC. I recently caught up with Kenny Iko, MechieSoCrazy, and Leo Amari to chat about music, their relationship statuses, anti-bullying campaign, and more.
THZ USA: Where in the DMV are you guys originally from?
Kenny Iko: This is Kenny, and I’m from Northeast D.C.
Leo Amari: This is Leo, and I am from Hyattsville, Maryland.
MechieSoCrazy: This is Mechie, and I’m also from Northeast D.C.
THZ USA: For all the curious fans—the ladies especially—please state your date of birth and zodiac sign.
Leo Amari: This is Leo and I’m actually a Leo. My birthday is July 27, 1995, baby!
MechieSoCrazy: My birthday is June 12, and I was born 1996, Gemini.
Kenny Iko: My birthday is April 15, 1995. I am an Aries.
THZ USA: How long have you been in the music business, and how long have you been performing?
Leo Amari: It’s actually crazy, ’cause I first started off doing everything from behind the scenes. I was doing more video production and producing. Then I got into singing about three to five years ago.
MechieSoCrazy: I’ve been singing and performing my whole life, but I’ve been in the business for about four, five years now.
Kenny Iko: I’ve been singing my whole life too. I did my solo thing. I’ve also sung with go-go bands and in the church choir. I joined the business three years ago.
THZ USA: What motivated you to start a music career? Leo, I think you said you started off at your Pentecostal church?
Leo Amari: I actually started rapping at first, and then I got into the whole production side of everything around middle school. That’s how I actually started off; then my mom saw my talent and she wanted me to join the choir.
Kenny Iko: I’ve always loved music. I got it a lot from my mother’s side of my family. Everyone on my mother’s side sung gospel, and my Godfather was a gospel artist. I admired him. He inspired me a lot…and also just the love of music. He and Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and artists like that, made me want to do it. So, in elementary school, I did my first performance for my school talent show with my little sister. Ever since then I’ve just been singing every day [chuckles].
MechieSoCrazy: I actually got started in the church. My mom and my God mom kept me in the church as far as the choir. What inspired me was my family. They are all entertainers in their own way and singing and performing was just my lane. It inspired me and of course, watching Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Usher and everybody like that inspired me to do what I wanted to do.
THZ USA: I think one of you taught yourselves how to dance, sing, and produce. Who was that?
Leo Amari: That’s Leo Amari [laughs] I taught myself all three. I actually learned from YouTube. YouTube is a very helpful tool. I feel like everybody should definitely use YouTube to learn because it’s a lot of information there and if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it [laughs]. I literally taught myself everything I wanted to get involved with on YouTube. I also learned to cut hair from YouTube as well.
THZ USA: You guys have a single out called ‘No Time To Waste.’ What’s the concept of the video and song? Leo, you want to answer that question?
Leo Amari: I feel like the song actually speaks for itself. It’s telling the female to come here, there’s no time to waste, or just trying to get your goals accomplished, and there’s no time to waste for that. When we first recorded the song, we went to L.A. We got connected with Young Berg and were just in the studio vibing out to see how everything would go, and we came up with ‘No Time To Waste.’ We knew that was going to be the single once we did it.
THZ USA: Today, a lot of artists are embracing the 80s and 90s hip hop/R&B era, from the fashion to the music. How does that influence your music and style?
MechieSoCrazy: I think everything that happened back then is just looping back around now. Us just watching YouTube and doing our research on artists is how we picked who we are. By watching New Edition and all the great artists we took a piece of everyone to create who we are. I think that we all have our own sense of fashion. What makes us so unique is we put our group together to create the one band that we are.
THZ USA: What’s your favorite male group or artist?
Leo Amari: My favorite male group is Boyz II Men and my favorite artist is Usher.
Kenny Iko: I’d say Jodeci is probably one of my favorite groups, and my favorite artist, of course, is Michael Jackson.
MechieSoCrazy: I’m going to say the Jackson 5, and my favorite artist is Chris Brown.
THZ USA: Who are your personal influences outside of music artistry?
Leo Amari: Somebody’s who has inspired me and gives me motivation is my mother. My mother is my number one fan; she’s always there for me when it’s hard. Every morning, she always sends me inspirational posts to keep me lifted up every day. So I just love her for that.
Kenny Iko: I would say, my father, ’cause he’s one guy who you could say has been to hell and back. He’s the example of a stand-up guy. He’s been through the jails. He’s been arrested. He’s done all that stuff, but he turned his life around once he found out he had kids. Once he had my brother and me, he gave his life to Christ and he’s been so supportive. He just wants the best for us–me, my brother, and my sister. So that’s how he motivates me, every day.
MechieSoCrazy: Just our family in general. I think all three of us are very family oriented. Our core family like our brothers, our sisters, our moms, are pretty much the core of where we get our motivation from.
THZ USA: What’s the concept behind the name 4EY The Future, and why? Kenny, you want to answer that?
Kenny Iko: 4EY The Future, stands for 4 Ever Young and it’s just a representation of being ’cause when you’re young you dream a lot. There’s nothing that isn’t meant for you. No doors have been shut in your face, or you’re still inspired. So we want everyone to live like that. If everyone lived like that more dreams would be fulfilled. More people would be happy. More people would live happier lives and healthier lives…’cause you’re not worried about the problems and the negative energy. You’re all positive and inspired, so we want everyone to be forever young.
THZ USA: Could you tell me more about your philanthropy campaign?
Kenny Iko: Yeah, we have the Tease Free Bullying campaign that we’re definitely affiliated with and really support. It’s pretty much about helping kids get a place to learn about being bullied or a place to go. Usually, when kids are getting bullied they don’t know who to talk to. They’re scared to talk to people, they’re embarrassed. It’s not really a lot of outlets for those kids. I can definitely speak from experience ’cause in middle school, I was bullied a lot.
THZ USA: Judging from your appearances, I see that 4EY The Future likes to keep it so fresh and so clean, so clean. Any fashion endeavors on the radar as of now?
MechieSoCrazy: We’re definitely going to start our own clothing line. Right now we’re pretty focused on what we got going on right now at hand, which is the ‘No Time To Waste’ single featuring Wale. We got the ‘No Parents Allowed’ tour that we’ve got coming up, but you’re definitely going to be getting a clothing line from us. We have not finalized it yet, but it’s soon-to-come.
THZ USA: Back to what the ladies would like to know. What do you guys look for in a girl?
Leo Amari: Ahh man, see I’m not super picky with the ladies…but I am super picky with the ladies because she has to fulfill my mom’s shoes. She definitely has to be a woman who can cater to my mother. If you like me you first have to go through my mother. She’s able to read somebody in like five minutes. So I’ll let her be around you for five minutes and then I’ll get back to you to let you know if I like you or not [laughs] ’cause she’ll tell me.
Kenny Iko: I’m a lover. I don’t look for anything. I’m a free-spirited type of guy. I know she has to be beautiful, she has to be smart, funny, adventurous. If I don’t look it’s going to happen, you know what I’m saying.
MeechieSoCrazy: She’s just got to have a pretty smile with a nice personality.
THZ USA: What’s your favorite meal?
Leo Amari: I love shrimp and chicken Alfredo. I could eat it every day.
Kenny Iko: I like pizza and applesauce. Give me some applesauce with some pepperoni pizza and I’ll be good to go.
MechieSoCrazy: Blackened salmon is my favorite.
THZ USA: What’s your favorite hangout spot or things to do in your spare time?
Leo Amari: My favorite hangout spot is at home. I’m a homebody, I love to watch movies on Netflix.
Kenny Iko: I love camping, mountain climbing, and going to the beach.
MechieSoCrazy: Just like Leo, I can stay at home, but I’ll just call a lot of friends and family members over. I like to do stuff at home. Instead of going to a club I’ll just have a party or a get together at my place.
THZ USA: Name something that you absolutely dislike? Mechie, I think you said you don’t like stinky breath right?
MechieSoCrazy: [Laughs] It’s not just stinky breath. I don’t like people that know their breath stinks and just don’t do nothing about it. Like, come on, if your breath stinks don’t talk. Talk the opposite way, or be like ‘my breath stinks’ and then back up a little bit with courtesy. I think that’s disrespectful. Don’t talk in my face if your breath stinks. There’s no way that you can not know that your breath stinks. If somebody says they didn’t know it stunk, that’s a lie. You can taste when your breath stinks.
Kenny Iko: I feel like everyone is equal so I don’t like racism. I don’t like judging people by the color of their skin, that type stuff.
Leo Amari: I definitely don’t like bullying because I used to be bullied in elementary school.
THZ USA: Why do you think people bully others?
Leo Amari: I feel like they have lots of insecurities and things to get together with themselves. I won’t even say it’s the people—it’s the environment, because if they have a good environment they wouldn’t have to feel like they need to hurt people to make themselves feel better.
Find out more on 4EY The Future here.