It’s a sobering thought to think baby-faced pop singer Taylor Hanson now has young children of his own.
Hanson, along with brothers Isaac and Zac, shot to fame in 1997 with the catchy hit MMMBop. The song earned the trio three Grammy nominations and saw their posters plastered on the bedroom walls of teenage girls the world over.
Some 17 years later, the middle sibling – now 31 and married with five children – admits that while the band’s music has evolved, most people still picture Hanson as those floppy blond-haired boys in their first video.
“First impressions are strong,” Hanson says from his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“It’s like when you meet someone who knew you as a kid and they are like ‘I can’t believe how big you are’ and you’re like ‘I’m 40’.
“I think naturally we’re always going to have that because we were introduced to the world as kids but ultimately anyone who has followed our band knows it’s always been about music.
“Whether you love Hanson or hate Hanson, it’s reached a point now where you can’t say it’s anything but legitimate or authentic because we don’t put out records because we have some big corporation behind us. We are out there to play for ourselves and our fan base.”
Indeed, what was once one of the early boy bands is now a man band, having not only grown up physically but professionally.
After four studio records, multiple Grammy nominations and sales of more than 16 million albums – and even a day, May 6, named in their honour – the band decided to set up their own independent label some 12 years ago.
Hanson describes the move as “escaping an accidental marriage”.
“It wasn’t as if we were reaching for affirmation, it was more a sweet relief to have got out of a trap of big corporate companies buying each other,” he says.
“You do take the risk and wake up in cold sweats. But I guess to some degree we have come out on the other side and survived and that feels great – knowing you are only going to be forced to call it quits when you decide you don’t want to fight for it anymore.
“We are at a point now where we determine the direction we will go. If we keep working hard for it, it will still be there.”
Indeed, that direction has led Hanson to their sixth studio album Anthem, which was released in the US, UK and Europe last year. The trio will launch the album in Australia, with seven shows in August.
Anthem continues Hanson’s signature vocal harmonies with pop songs such as Cut Right Through Me and the sing-along Scream and be Free, along with the 1960s soul and rock’n’roll-inspired debut single Get the Girl Back.
As the name suggests, it’s an album designed to “ignite power and bring people together”.
“We have always been in awe of the ability music has to engage people, whether it’s a song that makes you dance or a song that inspires you to take action for a cause,” Hanson says.
“We want this record to be the anthem for all of those moments.”
‘We are at a point now where we determine the direction we will go. If we keep working hard for it, it will still be there.’