Straight off the bat, they weren’t your average X Factor contestants. Three farm boys from Mudgee, NSW, raised without electricity, running water or sewerage, just so that their mother could afford to buy them instruments and drive them across country to their shows.
Makirum, Tayzin and Shardyn Fahey-Leigh have clocked up six Tamworth Country Music Festivals already. At their first, aged just 10, 11, and 12 years old respectively, Mak was so small that he could barely hold a guitar, but that didn’t stop the crowd going wild. “There was one guy who was so drunk that he thought that if he lit himself on fire he could put it out with a whip,” recalls Mak. “They had to throw buckets of water on him as we were playing.” And if you can keep singing through that, you can handle a live TV performance to an X Factor audience of over 1.4 million.
Yep, there aren’t many kids who could tour arenas with Hugh Jackman in The Boy from Oz, like Shardyn, who’s the oldest brother at 19. And few kids would have the commitment to rehearse three hours a day with the Australian Opera’s Children’s Chorus, like Tayzin, now 18. “It helped my ability to both drown the others out and shout at them from the other end of the farm,” Tay says of this.
Even the youngest and most vocal member of Brothers 3, Mak – now 17 – found fame as the kid with the bowl cut in the Macca’s ads, before progressing to film, TV and stage roles like his siblings. Mak also joined Shar in the musical Quambadook, about the life of country star John Williamson, and it was this experience that sealed the brothers’ love of country music, spurring them to release four independent albums before they’d even hit our screens on The X Factor.
Their harmonious take on country-folk was the surprise hit of the sixth season. Brothers 3 auditioned with a daring cover of ‘Safe & Sound’ by Taylor Swift and were voted in by all four judges – Redfoo, Ronan Keating, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and their eventual mentor, Dannii Minogue – before battling on to the grand final.
After an exhilarating battle, Brothers 3 placed third. Free from the schedule of TV, they hit the road, touring extensively before they inked a record deal with Warner Music.
Available now, Brothers Never Part is not just a single, it’s a mission statement. “Brothers Never Part is about our experience after The X Factor,” explains Makirum. “We learned so much throughout the entire process; it pushed us beyond our limits each week. As brothers, we became even closer and it helped us realise that whilst we could easily just do pop covers, it was important to stay true to our country roots in some of our material and to write a few of our own songs.”
Written with Daniel Skeed and produced by Matt Fell, Brothers Never Part shows off the boys’ harmony vocals, overlaying mandolin and banjo lines from Shardyn and some stunning Spaghetti Western flourishes.
They are now working on their first major label album release due this spring. A major tour will follow in early 2016