PITTSBURGH -- Teenage pop-trio New Hollow already has achieved impressive feats, like selling more than 300,000 digital singles, and singing the national anthem for 30 million viewers of a televised Thanksgiving Day football game.
Bigger and better milestones seem to be inevitable for the well-mannered, stylish-lookingÂ New Albany, Ohio, band, which will open tonight for double-platinum-selling pop group Hot Chelle Rae ("Tonight Tonight") at Stage AE in Pittsburgh.
New Hollow's self-taught, multi-instrumentalists -- Mick Clouse, 17, Evan West, 17, and Chad Blashford, 16 -- realize their role as warmup act is a great way to make new fans.
"We're pretty excited to get back to Pittsburgh," said West, a co-lead singer, keyboardist, bassist and guitarist for the band, whose introduction to Pittsburgh fans was two April 2011 performances at Justice clothing stores in the Ross Park and Westmoreland malls.
Some spectators at today's show will recognize New Hollow's two breakout singles, "SiCK" and "Boyfriend," which both sold more than 140,000 copies.
"SiCK," written when the boys were just 13 and 14, is a story of unrequited love; "Boyfriend" addresses the challenges of a long-distance relationship. Their third single was a cover of "Airplanes" by B.O.B. and Paramore's Hayley Williams.
In a conference-call interview where band membersÂ began everyÂ answer with a "Well, sir," "Yes, sir"Â or "Thank you, sir," Blashford, the drummer, said he wants people coming to the Stage AE show to know ahead of time that this boy band writes and performs its own music.
"We make good, solid pop-rock," Blashford said. "There's no frills. We play live with no pre-recorded tracks."
"We are seriously live," West added. "If we mess up, you'll hear it."
They haven't messed up too many things in a career that started in suburban Columbus, Ohio, where their families all moved in the same year (West is a Michigan native; Blashford hailed originally from Orange County, Calif.; Clouse was born in Dallas and later lived in New York.)
Their first performance was a battle-of-the-bands, where they drew the dreaded opening slot.
"We went on first in the morning, which is the worst spot, but we said you know what, we've just got to crush it," Clouse said. "My guitar amp blew, we were like 14 and 15 at the time, and all the other people were like 18 and 20. We had a whole array of problems, but then they called out our names and said we had won first place and we were like thrilled."
"It was so unbelievable," Blashford said.
"We didn't know what this would become," Clouse said, "but we knew we had a band together."
"We knew the chemistry felt great," West said.
Music executives noticed that chemistry, and marketability to young girls, prompting New Hollow to be hired to sing the national anthem in front of 93,000 fans at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in 2010. Unlike Christina Aguilera two-and-a-half-months later at that same stadium, they nailed it.
New Hollow also opened a Christmas radio show for Train in Columbus,Â and warmed crowdsÂ for boy-band sensations Big Time Rush at the 2011 Ohio State Fair and State Fair of West Virginia.
Â Awareness of New Hollow continued to grow, with features on Fox and NBC News, the CW, Access Hollywood and a starring role in a TV commercial for (ECOT) Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.
New HollowÂ kicked off a school tour this year delivering their antiâ"bullying message and later wereÂ invited to join Defeat the Label in a nationwide fight against bullying.
School is fresh on their minds, hence their Ohio school serving as the setting for their clever pop-up style video for "SiCK."
The video's pop-up balloons yield band facts and trivia, like 6-foot-4 Clouse is the tallest member; West likes Nirvana, the Smiths, Coldplay and the Doors; and fans of the band are nicknamed "Hollowers," a name coined by one follower.Â
The video doesn't address their relationship status, though West said they don't have girlfriends currently.
"But we plan to have girlfriends as soon as we can," he said. "It's fun seeing all the girls at the show. I love them all."