Jump5: Reaching For The Stars


Charles White

In a day and age filled with mixed messages, it is rare to find a musical group that has the strength to cast away negativity and inspire youth.  Many youth icons in the music world have adopted the attitude that it is okay to do whatever it takes to become successful; even if those actions are destructive. However, for Brandon Hargest and the other members of Jump5, this just isn’t their style.


Brandon Hargest was born in Durham, North Carolina. At the age of 2, he and his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Ever since he was young, Brandon has been performing either in music videos, on stage at Opryland USA or in television commercials. About four years ago, Brandon and his sister, Brittany, attended an audition that would change their lives. “There were auditions for a group for “Sunday School” singing. I auditioned along with Brittany and we both got it.”


Soon after auditions, the focus of this new musical group changed. The mother of one of the current members of Jump5 introduced new material that took them away from the traditional sound of “Sunday School” music. “After a while, we did all these songs that Libby’s mom [mother of another Jump5 member] had written and we put choreography to them,” Brandon explains. “All of a sudden, we had this group that we didn’t expect. We had a showcase performance for the president of Sparrow Records and our current manager. That’s how we got signed and how we got our manager.”


Brandon is quick to point out that his success is in large part due to the love and support of his parents, whom he names as one of the greatest influences in his life. “I really look up to my parents. They are my role models. They have been behind us 110%. It’s so great to have two people like that in your life.”


So how did these guys come up with the name Jump5? It’s not as easy as you might think. “When it first started the group was called “Fresh Start” but that sounded like a kitty litter,” Brandon jokingly recalled. “We changed the name to “Jump Start” and that had legal issues. We were throwing around different names and I think someone at the record label had the idea for the name Jump5. Jump5 was the one we all agreed upon.”


Brandon has spent a large portion of his teen years on the road touring and performing throughout the world. Although he hasn’t lived the “normal” teen life filled with dances and football games, he has no regrets. “What we get to do is so much cooler that I think it would be just being a regular kid,” Hargest states.  “Not many people get this opportunity. Sure we’ve missed going to football games and stuff like that with our friends, but it’s so cool traveling the world at such a young age and doing all this stuff now. I love it. I get to live my dreams!”


However, Brandon isn’t immune to the challenges that young people face and realizes that it’s difficult being a teen sometimes, even one that is successful. “There’s tough parts and there are easy parts,” Brandon admits. “It’s kinda hard sometimes. You have all these restrictions. Some people don’t think you can do as much as you know you can just because they think you’re a kid. It’s tough being in the business we are and being a kid because sometimes you can get taken advantage of. Thankfully we haven’t experienced that yet.”


Admittedly, Brandon’s first love is music. It gives him the opportunity to express himself and encourages all youth to get involved with music in some way, shape or form. “I love music. I love listening to different types. It’s a great way to express yourself. There are so many things you can do in music that you normally might not be comfortable doing in real life.”


“[Music] is a great way to get your feelings out. Many kids out there may not have a way to vent. Music is a great way to do that and feel good doing it too. If you can’t get things out and you hold them in too long, it’s going to be kinda dangerous.”


Through their music, Brandon and the other members of Jump5 have had the opportunity to entertain thousands of people throughout the world and bring a bit of joy to their lives. As a Christian group, they have also had the opportunity to bring the message of Christ to a mainstream audience. “Getting up on stage, performing and seeing all these people singing along to our songs makes me happy,” explains Hargest. “We did a show that was for a church and a lot of the mainstream fans that went to all the Aaron Carter shows came to see us. It was cool seeing all these mainstream fans coming to hear us perform and getting their eyes opened by seeing other things in the Christian world.”


How does a group that has toured the world with artists such as Aaron Carter, A*Teens, and the Baha Men define success? You would think it would be by their top 40 hits, gold record or mutiple albums. If you think this is how Jump5 measures success, you’d be wrong. “If you’re happy with what you’ve done, how far you’ve come and if you’ve made at least one person happy, that’s success. If we make the fans feel good, that’s success to us.”


The mission for Brandon and the other members of Jump5 is to deliver a message to youth to be yourself and that anything is possible if you simply pursue your dreams. “Be yourself! Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. As long as you know what you’re doing is right, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing other things that you know are wrong. Go for your dreams and never give up!”


With the release of their new album, Accelerate and a 15-city Christmas tour underway, Jump5 is well on their way to continuing the success they have found so far in the Christian music industry and in mainstream pop music.  However, the success that they are most proud of is their continued commitment to serve as role models to their peers. Wherever they go and whatever they do, Brandon and the rest of Jump5 will continue to inspire and encourage teens through their contagious blend of optimism, happiness and strength.