Saturday, March 8, 2008

Deep Side

Roots: For the patrons at a Fort Lauderdale IHOP, breakfast is business as usual—that is, until Deep Side begins to sing. “Girl, I wanna make home with you,” they croon. “Spend my life and get grown with you.” left Though barely old enough to order drinks, the R&B quartet has fans of all ages in a swoon. Two 40-something women, a few booths over, can attest to that. “I’d take them home,” one says. “Sho would.’’

Even their manager, Jonathan Wright, who first saw them perform at a high school talent show in 1999, can bear witness to their lasting impression: “I believed in them so much that I cashed in my retirement and sold my house to fund them.” That magnetism and youthful appearance have carried the Florida-based group—Karlen “Pretti Sly” Moodliyar, 21; Rudy “Rude Boi” Huggins, 21; Brent “Penny” Pendergast, 21; and Mike “Ezay” Espinosa, 22—through years of talent shows and a cappella auditions. Still, while no boy band wants to acknowledge their bubble gum appeal—Deep Side flatly rejects it. “People expect us to sound all boy band-ish,” says Rude Boi. “Someone puts four cute dudes together and makes them dance and sing. We’re not like that.” And to prove it, their still-untitled major-label debut brims with grinding grooves, such as the insistently sexual “Let’s Make Love,” featuring R. Kelly. Other blatant come-ons, like the titillating “Wet” and the tasty “Yum Yum,” plainly state the album’s explicit tone. “We’re young guys, and that’s basically where we’re at right now,” says Ezay. Beyond just bump and grind, their musical skills range widely—a truth Deep Side is counting on as they set sight on a national audience.

“We’re more than just smooth playas,” says Sly. “We’ve got a deeper side, like our name says. People only need to hear us.” That shouldn’t be a problem—just ask those hungry ladies at IHOPb>

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