The future appears to be a lot less uncertain for the Orange County-based band Undecided Future after winning the opportunity of a lifetime — a duet performance with their idol and multi-platinum recording artist Jason Derulo.
The five-member funk and R&B group won the duet opportunity after submitting a video of themselves playing Derulo's hit song "Trumpets" to the YouTube series "Best. Cover. Ever." — a global singing competition that invites aspiring singer-songwriters to submit cover performances in hopes of being selected to perform with the artist.
Derulo, who selected Undecided Future out of thousands of submissions from all over the world, said he immediately saw something special in the group.
"The band was so confident and had a good mix of funk and pop," Derulo said by phone. "The lead singer also has a great voice. I thought they had a really cool sound and moves."
The music video of the duet performance, which premiered on YouTube Nov. 20, has received over 75,000 views since its debut and it features the band performing Derulo's hit song "Want to Want Me" alongside the pop singer.
Rapper Ludacris, official host and producer of the show, and Derulo surprised the band with the win.
"It was pretty nuts performing for them both side-by-side because they have been icons in music for so long," said Matt Isaac, Undecided Future's lead singer. "We really had to give them our all, and I think we have been motivated by the whole process ever since."
The band's other members include Cole Frederick (guitarist), Matisse Passillas (drums), Nick Stone (keyboard) and Hayden Lyskoski (bassist).
"We love Jason," Frederick said. "Having that experience has shown us what the quality of the industry is right now and we got a peek into what we should be doing and how we should be doing it."
The group met as freshmen and graduated from the Santa Ana-based Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 2015. They have played in venues and festivals throughout O.C. and Los Angeles for six years.
Derulo, who also graduated from a performing arts school — The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City — compared the YouTube contest opportunity to his early career days as a songwriter for various music artists, such as rapper Sean Kingston and group Danity Kane.
"Being a ghostwriter in the beginning of my career really gave me a lot of opportunities in my start to write for different artists, so I'd say that is where I got a similar platform or opportunity to showcase my music," Derulo said.
During the contest filming, bassist Lyskoski was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for testicular cancer, so musician Kendrick Park filled in as the bass player.
"We are honored that Jason chose us and thankful that he gave these guys the love when I necessarily couldn't do that during that time," said Lyskoski.
To celebrate their contest victory, the group returned to OCSA to perform a lunchtime concert for their alma mater on Dec. 1.
"This concert (was) special because it's been a while since we played there and we're so stoked, because we're better musicians now," Frederick said. "It's cool to show all the students who are in the same program we were in that there is something that their hard work could lead to."
The group performed their original songs at the campus performance and gave OCSA students a free advanced copy of their newest single, "Intoxicated," which released Dec. 5.
The band has upcoming events planned, including the pending release of their new music video for "Intoxicated," a live show in Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Dec. 22 and a performance at the Springboard Festival in San Diego in mid-January.
As a part of winning the contest, Derulo also gave an all-expenses paid trip to the band to perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas in March 2018.
"We just feel like our music is something that most people can vibe to and we just really want the world to see us," Isaac said. "Our duty in life is to make people happy and spread our love and entertainment through our music."