His friends in Jump5 call him "the shy one," but Brandon Hargest has the quiet confidence of a leader. "He's the brainiac," sister Brittany reveals. "And he's more sensitive than the rest of the group." True enough, but Brandon loves performing before huge audiences more than anything. How shy is that? Seeing Brittany light up the stage when they were very young was enough to convince Brandon to pursue the limelight too. Unleashing his natural talent, he quickly followed in her footsteps landing music videos, a gig at Opryland USA and television commercials-including a memorable spot for Garth Brooks' 1998 Double Live CD. Brandon's Jump5 experience has been nothing less than fantastic. "Now, we're even more mature," he says. "And when we perform, we love to see the audience reactions, to see kids having a good time and singing along." When not performing, Brandon can usually be found with a game boy in hand, a sketch pad ("I like to draw Japanese anime," he notes), or with his face buried in a book. As for spending his days with little sister in tow, Brandon has the right attitude. As he points out, "I never feel too far from home because I have someone from my family there."
Talk about a quick study. Brittany Hargest took up singing and dance lessons at the tender age of two, and almost immediately began appearing in commercials and music videos. Like her group mates, Brittany studied voice, piano, guitar, gymnastics, and dance, becoming in time a seasoned stage presence. "Performing gives me a rush," she says. "It creates this huge amount of energy." Being in Jump5 has meant dealing with the whirlwind of success, but it's been made easier for Brittany because of the closeness the group members share. "We work together well," she notes, "because we've known each other forever." As for having a brother in the group, she says, " I get to have part of my family traveling around with me. But Brandon isn't overprotective." Brittany enjoys other pursuits beyond music, including fashion design and interior decorating. But her main message to kids is remarkably sophisticated for a 14-year-old: "As a kid, don't take life for granted," she says. "Have fun with every moment of your life. Don't take things too seriously. And always be yourself."
Most teens have a streak of fearlessness, but Jump5's Chris Fedun is especially daring. "Chris isn't afraid to try anything," says group-mate Libby. "He's the major gymnast in the group, and he doesn't even stretch!" Chris started playing sports when he was five, later switching gears after a memorable taste of the entertainment world. "I was on stage once at Opryland USA," he recalls. "That's where I realized I like getting in front of a crowd and seeing people smile." He studied voice, piano, guitar, and gymnastics, as well as jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop dancing. As for being in Jump5, Chris feels blessed every day. "We're really positive kids," he says. "We think anyone can listen to our music and get something out of it." In school, Chris excels in History. He also loves the recording studio, and hopes to expand into songwriting and production someday. For now he's content with the hectic pace of the group's schedule. "This is normal life for me," he laughs.
Libby doesn't remember how old she was when she started singing. "I guess when I began to talk," she laughs. "I was obsessed with Gloria Estefan, and I would always sing along, even if I wasn't in tune." By age five, she was hard at work in dance class. Following in the footsteps of her singer/actress mother, Libby became a regular in the local studios, recording a self-titled CD while in third grade and starring in several TV commercials. Having know her Jump5 colleagues for so long, the group's hectic schedule feels more like play than work. "We work really hard," says Libby, "but we get along so well, it's all worth it. We love what we do, but we don't let it get to our heads and we don't take it too seriously." On stage and off, Libby's group mates look up to her. "Libby doesn't care what anyone thinks about her," Brittany reveals. "If she wants to do something, she'll do it."
Nashville native Lesley Moore gets her can-do attitude from her mom, who single-handedly raised her daughter after the death of her husband when Lesley was only three. Lesley started singing and dancing at age four, and she appeared in many commercials and music videos before joining Jump5. "Being on stage is home to me," says Lesley. "I get a lot of energy from the audience." Until last year, Lesley attended public school, and was very active in cheerleading, basketball, gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop dancing. But nothing beats her experience with Jump5. "I'm having so much fun," says Lesley. "My friends and family keep me grounded." Traveling is one of the fringe benefits of being in Jump5, according to Lesley. "I love to see the sights in this country," she says. "I love to hear the different accents. Of course, I don't think I have one, but other people say I sound so country!" Most important for Lesley is sharing her enthusiasm and hopeful spirit with kids everywhere. "We want to send out a positive message," she says. "That message is: have fun, live your dreams, and never give up."
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