Emblem3 comes home to Sequim amid 'X Factor' success
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Karen Griffiths
After their performance on “The X Factor” aired earlier this month, Emblem3 members Keaton, left, and Wesley Stromberg, standing, flew up to Sequim to surprise their grandmother, Deonne Hanson, for her birthday. Later, they met at Fortune Star Restaurant on East Washington Street, where they dined with her and their sister, Brooke Stromberg, right.
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Emblem3’s next appearance on “The X Factor” is Wednesday. From left, Drew Chadwick, Wesley Stromberg and Keaton Stromberg are pictured before the Sept. 12 show. Photo by Fox TV.

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — After hometown vocal group Emblem3 rocked the stadium and wowed the judges on the season premiere of Fox TV's “The X Factor,” two of the three singers, Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, flew back to Sequim from Orange County, Calif.

The brothers came to surprise their grandmother, Deonne Hanson, on her birthday.

“I walked in my kitchen [at her home in Sequim] and all of a sudden saw Wesley standing there,” Hanson said. “I screamed in shock, I was so surprised.”

Surprising Grandma

“My grandma was so happy,” Wesley said.

“We used to live with her, and she's always helped raise us. I love her very much, and she's an important part of my life — both my grandma and grandpa [Robert Hanson] are.”

Although their mom remarried nine years ago, and they moved from rural Sequim into town, the brothers still had their own bedrooms at their grandparents' house.

Wesley often would go there, spending hours in the comfort and quiet of his old room to compose songs and play guitar.

During their brief return last week, the two brothers — Wesley is 18 and Keaton is 16 — hung out at Lake Sutherland with close friends and their sister, Brooke; went dirt bike riding; and attended a Sequim High School football game.

“We had just as much fun hanging out and playing at the lake as when we were kids,” Brooke said.

“I'm so proud of my little brothers and can't wait to see how far they go.”

“Seeing all our friends here was awesome,” Wesley said.

“We also talked with some of our longtime supporters and met several news ones.

“The attention's been both wonderful and crazy.”

Both lament not being able to respond to all the texts and calls they received while back in Sequim.

“It seems like we get about 10,000 texts, calls and emails every day now,” Keaton said.

“There's so many I can't even tell if my family is trying to reach me.”

Wednesday performance

Following up on their successful performance on “The X Factor” on Sept. 12, in which they sang their original tune “Sunset Blvd,” Emblem3 — the two Stromberg brothers and friend Drew Chadwick, 19 — will perform again on the show this coming Wednesday.

The show will be aired beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox Q13.

Within four days of “X Factor's” airing “Sunset Blvd,” a mix of pop, hip-hop and reggae, it hit No. 17 on iTunes' alternative chart, plus they had more than 60,000 Twitter followers from around the world and 20,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Since then, hundreds of fan pages have popped up — along with impostors with websites who claim they are Emblem3.

“We love our fan pages, but not the posers,” said Wesley, adding that their official sites are at www.Facebook.com/emblemthree and on Twitter at Emblem3@emblemthree.

Emblem3 has three singles available on iTunes: “Sunset Blvd,” “Curious” and “Reason.”

Their Sept. 12 “X Factor” performance is on YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/pdnemblem3.

Huntington Beach

Wesley moved from Sequim to the Huntington Beach area of Orange County two years ago to be closer to the music industry and his father, film composer William “Bill” Stromberg, who lives in Los Angeles.

Last year, Chadwick, Keaton and his mother, Laraine Claire Larson, moved from Sequim to Orange County, too.

Chances to play concerts in well-known venues such as Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood started coming their way.

They won an Orange County Battle of the Bands competition.

Earlier this year, they filmed an audition for NBC-TV's “America's Got Talent.”

Although they were cut from the show, the producers asked them to try out for “The X Factor.”

They sent in an audition tape and were accepted.

While taping in Oakland, Calif., Emblem3 had the crowd up and dancing and ended up with a “yes!” vote from all four judges — Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

The usually dour Cowell said he loved “everything about their performance from the moment they stepped on stage” and predicted “a great future” for them.

According to “The X-Factor USA” website, a yes from all four judges enabled them to go to “Boot Camp,” where they are mentored by the judges, and set them up the show this coming Wednesday.

In addition to all three being songwriters, each member of Emblem3 brings different talents to the group.

Chadwick has a knack for spinning a verse.

Wesley, the lead singer, is good at improvising.

Keaton is the technical one who spends hours recording their music, arranging and laying down tracks.

Revved-up performance

During their performance, it was Chadwick who led the revved-up boys onstage like the captain of a football team to a homecoming game.

Wesley surprised Reid when he said they were singing their “Sunset Blvd.”

In response, Reid said, “If you are going to sing a song we don't already know, it had better be good.”

Midsong, Reid acknowledged to Spears it was “really good,” and she, in turn, said, “These guys are amazing.”

Once onstage, the boys said any preconcert jitters melted away.

“The audience feedback was so incredible,” Keaton said. “It just pumped us up and super-energized us.”

Didn't 'diss' Sequim

During the show, Chadwick said the group was from Huntington Beach, which caused some in Sequim to feel Emblem3 was “dissing Sequim.”

“We really weren't trying to forget we're from Sequim. We love it here,” said Wesley during his visit with his grandparents and sister.

“In fact, we mentioned we were from Sequim several times — it just didn't get aired.”

“The X Factor” started this season with 200 acts. Those numbers slowly get whittled down to 12.

If an act makes it to the top 12, it has a good chance to be on “The X-Factor Concert Tour.”

The winner receives a $5 million recording contract.

“I know for sure the top three acts get to go on the tour,” Wesley said.

“So we're definitely hoping to be one of those.”

Last modified: September 27. 2012 7:15PM
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