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News Tuesday, January 18, 2000

McMaster&James to conquer pop world

By STEPHANIE McGRATH
AllPop

Pop artists are springing up all over the globe faster than Britney Spears can say "Baby one more time", and Canada is no exception. The latest Canadian pop act is a duo called McMaster & James.

Luke McMaster and Rob James have been playing and singing together for several years but after opening for superstars like 'N Sync, the two are beginning to smell success in their future.

Their debut single, "Love Wins Everytime," is No. 24 on MuchMusic's video chart, and their self-titled album is due out on Feb. 22.

Calling from his home in Winnipeg, Man., Rob James talked to AllPop about making it big.

The duo's story started in a basement studio when both James and Luke were working on solo projects.

"I was finishing a session at the studio and Luke was starting one and he happened to walk in early and we started talking," Rob explained.

Their tastes (Rob said they're influenced by Prince, Stevie Wonder and Motown) and talents meshed well. A sneak preview of the album reveals a funky/poppy combination that could easily sweep McMaster & James up into the pop music craze.

Once the two paired up, they started playing coffee houses, clubs and bars. When they weren't playing they were furiously mailing off demos to record companies. Finally, all the money spent on postage started to pay off. A representative from BMG heard their tape and decided to see Luke and Rob in action.

Now, all the pair had to do was figure out an ideal place to impress the record company.

"We couldn't do it at the bar because everybody at the bar doesn't care who's on stage, they're there to drink and have a good time," Rob says. "So we said 'let's go back to the roots, to a high school and do a show because they like to scream,' they (BMG) came down and the kids went nuts."

Since then, Rob and Luke have opened for 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera and Joey McIntyre. They've also got plans to open for Prozzak on a nation-wide tour and are already thinking about breaking into the U.S. market.

"But the thing about the States is if you go to the States you have to go big," Rob says.

"We're going to try and go around the world like some of the main pop acts have done, like the Backstreet Boys -- start with Europe, Australia, Asia. Once we have like a full global story then we'll attack the States, because radio will be more likely to play you if you have a large story."

Meanwhile, Rob and Luke are anxiously waiting to see how their album will be received (although Rob claims Luke is much more hyped about it than he is).

"A number one, world-wide smash - that would be fun."

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