Straight off the bat, they weren’t your average X Factor contestants. Three farm boys from Mudgee, NSW, raised without electricity, running water or sewerage, just so that their mother could afford to buy them instruments and drive them across country to their shows.
Makirum, Tayzin and Shardyn Fahey-Leigh have clocked up six Tamworth Country Music Festivals already. At their first, aged just 10, 11, and 12 years old respectively, Mak was so small that he could barely hold a guitar, but that didn’t stop the crowd going wild. “There was one guy who was so drunk that he thought that if he lit himself on fire he could put it out with a whip,” recalls Mak. “They had to throw buckets of water on him as we were playing.” And if you can keep singing through that, you can handle a live TV performance to an X Factor audience of over 1.4 million.
Yep, there aren’t many kids who could tour arenas with Hugh Jackman in The Boy from Oz, like Shardyn, who’s the oldest brother at 22. And few kids would have the commitment to rehearse three hours a day with the Australian Opera’s Children’s Chorus, like Tayzin, now 21. “It helped my ability to both drown the others out and shout at them from the other end of the farm,” Tay says of this.
Even the youngest and most vocal member of Brothers 3, Mak – now 20 – found fame as the kid with the bowl cut in the Macca’s ads, before progressing to film, TV and stage roles like his siblings. Mak also joined Shar in the musical Quambadook, about the life of country star John Williamson, and it was this experience that sealed the brothers’ love of country music, spurring them to release four independent albums before they’d even hit our screens on The X Factor.
Their harmonious take on country-folk was the surprise hit of the sixth season. Brothers 3 auditioned with a daring cover of ‘Safe & Sound’ by Taylor Swift and were voted in by all four judges – Redfoo, Ronan Keating, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and their eventual mentor, Dannii Minogue – before battling on to the grand final.
After an exhilarating battle, Brothers 3 placed third. Free from the schedule of TV, they hit the road, touring extensively before they inked a record deal with Warner Music Australia.
In 2015 they released Brothers Never Part – not just a single, it’s a mission statement. “Brothers Never Part is about our experience after The X Factor,” explains Makirum. “We learned so much throughout the entire process; it pushed us beyond our limits each week. As brothers, we became even closer and it helped us realise that whilst we could easily just do pop covers, it was important to stay true to our country roots in some of our material and to write a few of our own songs.”
Written with Daniel Skeed and produced by Matt Fell, Brothers Never Part shows off the boys’ harmony vocals, overlaying mandolin and banjo lines from Shardyn and some stunning Spaghetti Western flourishes.
Following their country hit Brothers Never Part , Brothers3 continue their trail blazing work reshaping Australian modern country music with the release of their new studio album (of the same name) Brothers Never Part on January 15, 2016. Brothers3 has also announced the ‘Brothers Never Part’ east coast 32 date tour.
Commencing in March, the tour will travel through the wilds of their home state of NSW with a visit to our nation’s capital, along the long and winding roads of Victoria, finishing in the Sunshine State in July.
Despite their country-folk roots, Brothers3 isn’t afraid of the pop end of the spectrum that’s seen Taylor Swift inspire new audiences. Set to be a live stormer, new single C’mon is a sing-along anthem that starts as a pretty piano ballad before bursting into an epic chorus. It’s co-written with pop writer Michael Fatkin and showcases the full force of Mak’s vocal range.
Despite their youth, Brothers3 tackle the Tamworth Country Music 2016 Festival for their seventh year, with eight performances including three headline shows. The band will also be attending the Golden Guitars where they are nominated for Best New Talent.
New album, Brothers Never Part features original tracks and a selection of covers. Fan favourites from their performance on The X Factor, and covers of Elvis’s Always on My Mind and Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, among others, demonstrate the depth with which these young performers can take on even the most unlikely of genres and make them their own.