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Music Spotlight : NLT

NLT (an abbreviation for Not Like Them) we’re on there way to becoming one of the biggest boyband’s before disbanding in 2009. Consisting of members Travis Garland, Kevin McHale, Justin Joseph “JJ” Thorne and Vahe “V” Sevani, they were discovered my music mogul Chris Stokes and signed to TUG entertainment in 2006. Their debut single “That Girl” was released in March of 2007, which lead to them opening for the Pussycat Dolls the following month. It was their second single “She Said, I Said (Time We Let Go)” which was produced by Timbaland was where this group really started to take traction. It peaked at number 65 on the Billboard Pop 100, and amassed a lot of radio airplay, with the the music video amassing over 4 million views to date. The third single “Karma” was released in 2008 and also produced by Timbaland, which was going to lead into the launch of their debut album “Not Like Them” in the summer of 2007, but the release was pushed back and ultimately cancelled.

The short lived boy band will most likely be remembered for what happened after their break up, as opposed to what occurred during their brief existence. For fans of pop music NLT’s song will probably never be forgotten, and their will be that small hope in the back of your mind that this phenomenon will make a comeback. The group was assembled by producer Chris Stokes booked a local dance studio in Los Angeles to hold rehearsals for a different group, B2K. The studio’s owners had a son, Vahe Sevani, with musical aspirations of his own. Stokes told the owners that his demo would be given a shot as long as he was part of a group, Sevani began seeking out additional singers.

He acquired help firstly from Justin Thorne, who he had worked with on a dance video, and had also appeared on a B2K music video funny enough. Not long after performer Kevin McHale was found through a talent agency, who referred them also to an actor by the name of Travis Garland, the fourth addition. Now a quartet, Stokes signed the group to his TUG Entertainment label which already had a long list of successful artists including Marques Houston (my personal favorite) to help collaborate material together with producers Timbaland and the Underdogs for an album. The debut album which was going to be called “Not Like Them” was set for a 2007 release, already having singles like “That Girl”, “She Said, I Said” and “Karma” under their belts. But before it could materialize the album was cancelled, and left with nothing to promote NLT called it quits in 2009.

NLT we’re destined to be the biggest pop group in America and possibly the world, and could of shared the same success as boybands like One Direction, ‘NSYNC and Backstreetboys. The difference though would of been the urban influence in NLT’s music, which strayed away from your traditional candy coated pop songs. With Chris Stokes behind them success would of been built into their nature having founded two previous multi-platinum selling groups in B2K and Immature (IMX).

Kevin McHale was the first NLT member to take the initial steps into the solo front, by getting a lead role in the hit TV show “Glee”, appearing as a disabled choir student Artie Abrams. It was through Glee that McHale made his official debut on CD, and he performed on multiple songs on the shows soundtrack. “JJ” Thorne went on to be apart of another now disbanded group called One Call, that he formed with Anthony “AG” Gamlieli and two former members of Menudo, Chris Moy and Jose Bordonada. They were formed by music executive Johnny Wright who managed successful groups like Backstreet Boys, ‘NSYNC, and the Jonas Brothers. They were produced by Rodney “DarkChild” Jerkins, and in 2011 the group disbanded. They also were dropped by Jive Records before their closure, and their debut album was canceled. “V” Sevani was probably the quietest of the lot when it came to the aftermath of the group, he went on to release an album “Steps” for free download on his website, and a single also for free download. Since then Sevani has been incognito.

Meanwhile, Travis Garland continues working on R&B-influenced music and covers that he releases on YouTube. His voice is probably one of the best male voices I’ve ever heard, and he’s used it to his advantage with the blessing of Perez Hilton, who managed to secure him a high-profile appearance on American Idol in 2010, to perform his debut solo single “Believe”. Garland has also released a self titled debut album along with a series of mixtapes;

  • 2011: The Last Man Standing
  • 2012: Fashionably Late
  • 2013: Fashionably Late vol. II
  • 2015: UPPERS+DOWNERS vol. I
  • 2017: Travis Garland

While NLT did not officially release a full album, they did have a number of songs released publicly. If you haven’t heard their music yet don’t give it a miss, because like myself you’ll be hoping they finally release that album.



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Written by Neill Frazer

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