Former high school friends now making beautiful music together

caines | 3/21/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Most young Black men in their early 20s are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Many have big dreams but dont have a realistic plan to achieve those goals. But then again, the four friends who make up the group Unselfish are far from ordinary. And after putting on a show-stopping performance last week at Jazz in the Gardens it appears that the skys the limit for Miamis newest singing sensation. Opening for both the Saturday and Sunday shows, the group belted out songs that even seasoned vocalists might not attempt, including hits by Adele, Maxwell and Boyz II Men performed to a cappella perfection. But how did they meet and whats up next for Unselfish? After all, they werent childhood friends and lived in different neighborhoods. Each sang in a different church choir and each graduated from a different area school: Miami Springs, Northwestern, Central and Booker T. Washington. Antwan Jackson, 23, who often speaks on behalf of the remaining members, Brandon Jackson, 21, Kevin Taylor, 22 and Anthony Frazier, 24, explains. We were all dancing either at our schools or with other groups here in Miami and each of us had dreams of being entertainers, he said. We had seen each other around and liked each others vibe. We realized that there were very few male groups that could both sing and dance. And after we started singing together and saw how well our voices blended, we began to believe that we had something special. And so, in the style of their favorite groups, which they say include The Manhattans, Take 6 and of course, Boyz II Men, the four became one just over a year ago. Like our name implies, we want to do all kinds of music while combining an old school flavor with a contemporary style, they said. We think we can bridge the gap. When people hear us they say we take them back. But we want to reach folks from our own generation too. The four say that their rehearsals are intense and that they run every morning while singing so that theyre ready when its time to go onstage. And theyre taking voice lessons to improve on their innate vocal abilities. And theyve been getting noticed too. The guys won Showtime at the Apollo last August, have appeared on 106 & Park, won the local radio competition that secured their place as the opening act at this years Jazz in the Gardens and have also made it to the regional finals for the X Factor, said group manager, Donovan White. They are really good, honest, hard-working young men and theyre ecstatic about how well things are going. Its somewhat surreal for all of us. But I think God has ordained us for this. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com