The Untamed Biography
One goal: To become Canada's genuine dance-pop representatives.
The two sisters, Alithea (18) and Daniella Watters (14) and friend Kim Moffat (18), weren't brought together by the magic and machinations of a television show with the marketing of a major label. UNTAMED has achieved radio play, a fan base and a polished live show all on its own. Remarkably, UNTAMED's teaser track, "Going Going Gone," achieved airplay on Toronto's No.1 pop station KISS-92 FM with no push or pull. The official single, "You're Not Gonna Score," co-written by the group's Alithea about an unwanted admirer, was added into heavy rotation at that very same influential station and achieved the top 5 position in the top 7 at 7. The video has been serviced to Canadian video station MuchMusic.
"Everyday, we rehearse together, we go to singing lessons, we sometimes have interviews, but we've mostly been recording," says Daniella. "We record up to eight hours usually. We also do choreography. And we perform. Go to hip hop lessons together." Such hard work and dedication has paid off for UNTAMED. The recording sessions have resulted in a worldclass pop album, ranging from the R&B-flavoured "Gotta Lotta Love" to salsa-based "Name In The Sand," and a pure dance track "I Don't Wanna Know." "It's mostly upbeat dancey pop because that's more fun for us to sing and dance," says Alithea. "But we wanted to find songs across the board that appealed to everyone."
To unify its sound, unlike most pop groups which bounce track to track from producer to producer, UNTAMED worked on its debut album for the most part with one production team -- Perry Alexander. Comprised of Chris Perry and Adam Alexander, the Toronto-based pair specializes in pop, R&B and dance music, remixing tracks for everyone from Jacksoul to B2Krazy, and recently produced dance legend Gloria Gaynor in New York. Two of UNTAMED songs were produced by British songwriter Gareth Young, however.
Through UNTAMED's own connections, the three traveled to New York to work with top choreographers Jermaine Browne (Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle") and Darren Henson ('N Sync, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez) on several songs for its live performance. The spirited young women have taken all the necessary steps to put UNTAMED on par with any other chart-topping pop act.
Spearheaded by the sisters' mother, Rena Malkah, UNTAMED materialized after the two Toronto teenagers tried out for pop groups that never had the right focus or drive. As the girls combed the thesaurus for a befitting group name, their mom searched the Internet for publishing houses and songwriters, read books about the music business, attended conferences, and asked all the necessary questions to kick ass (hence the name of their record label). "I can do a better job because I care about them more than anyone else would and I know them well," explains Rena, now UNTAMED's manager.
After emerging in the winter of 2000 as a four-piece, the group had amassed 700 songs through which to sought, had performed a few local gigs, showcased at some major labels and started recording, when it decided to rethink and re-structure its line-up over the winter. Holding final auditions in March, 2001, it was to find a permanent third member, who fit the group like a long lost sister. "I had to go through different phases of the auditions," recounts Kim, who found out about the call for a singer and dancer from agent. "I had to sing, I had to dance, and then I had to sing with the other girls in harmony." Kim had vaguely known Alithea and Daniella because they would see each other at many of the same auditions and after being selected for UNTAMED they became fast friends.
"I know when we used to watch episodes of Making The Band, they were just thrown in a room together and had to get along," notes Alithea. "We're lucky that we do. We've done so much in so little time which makes it so much easier." Heading back into the studio with Perry Alexander, they spent the next few months, in between school work and other commitments, recording their 12-song album. During that time, each member started writing its own material. Alithea co-wrote the lyrics to "You're Not Gonna Score," Kim wrote both music and lyrics for the ballad "Take My Hand," and Daniella wrote "Go All Out." As UNTAMED's commitment has demonstrated, these girls are taking music and matters into their own hands, defying the industry and gathering fans