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The new age of  interactive reality tv talent shows like American Idol, The Voice and X-Factor have created superstars like Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood, but for every artist who had some success there are many more who had their 15 minutes of fame and that was that.

Some famed musicians including Sir Elton John have openly criticized American Idol and other television singing competitions because they “vault you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard. Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke [X-Factor winners] are at the mercy of the next song they can get”. However, despite his views, singing competitions have been helpful in discovering new talent and creating hit songs, but not in establishing a loyal fan base for an artist.
BLUSH Band and Justin Bieber
Enter the Pan-Asian girl group Blush, which is made up of the winners of an American-style TV competition show named Project Lotus, and is based in Hong Kong. After the band’s creation, the girls began to work with seasoned songwriters like Eliot Kennedy who has created chart topping songs in the the American and British pop markets (like the Spice Girls' "Say You'll Be There" and Celine Dion's "Let's Talk About Love"). Blush quickly made history as the first Asian group to earn the Top 3 spot on a major U.S. chart with their debut single. They also became the first Asian artists to have two singles reach the Top 10, one of which, “Dance On”  reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart this past January. And with that spectacular move, left household names like Rihanna, David Guetta, and Kelly Clarkson, in the dust.

“I would say for all of us we don’t think of success as a finishing point. Success is a process that you need to keep doing and keep learning, growing,” Budhrani told Reuters in an interview last February.

The members of Blush are Alisha Budhrani, a dancer from India; Victoria Chan, a singer with a show tunes background from Hong Kong; Natsuko Danjo, a hip-hop enthusiast from Japan; Angeli Flores, a Filipino R&B singer; and Ji Hae Lee, a singer from Korea. The show was created by top music executives Jon Niermann, Brian Grant) and producer Eliot Kennedy who has worked in talent development for the UK version of The X Factor, won a Grammy (for Best Gospel Performance) for a song for Aretha Franklin and Mary J Blige (“Never Gonna Break My Faith”), and has worked with The Spice Girls ('Say You'll Be There'), S Club 7 and songwriter Bryan Adams.

Even though the members of Blush are from Asia, their production team’s experience is in English speaking countries, and the band is focusing on breaking into the Western market. Besides making songs that reach the top of the Billboard charts, Blush has also opened for the American superstar Justin Bieber when he did a show in Hong Kong, and they performed their song “Undivided’” with Snoop Dogg on the U.S. reality show, So You Think You Can Dance.
BLUSH Band with Snoop Dogg
In addition, Blush made history again with the music video for “Undivided”, the first music video to be created solely utilizing the Brushes App for iPad.

Many talented musicians have attained success in their home country, but the huge English-speaking market eludes them. But Blush just may be a rare example of a foreign band with extra-special star power who have found a way to meet the right people, ie. experienced producers, managers, promoters and record executives by harnessing the power of English- speaking reality shows like American Idol, X-Factor and The Voice. Others may not have been so smart, or so lucky.

“I never expected to be an international singer. When I was a little girl I just dreamed of singing in the Philippines, but now I have the opportunity to share my music, my talent with the world. So I’m really thankful,” said Flores in the Reuters interview.

Whether musicians with no industry connections work their way up in seedy clubs, or if they gain a coveted spot on a singing competition with millions of viewers, the essential factor for any successful career is always the same- at the end of the day, it’s the talent that counts!

Blush’s hit songs “Dance On’” and “Undivided” will be featured on the group’s upcoming debut EP, due out this spring. / Issue 133 - September 6247
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