fun. gets profiled in a recent issue of Billboard - from recording Some Nights through their high-profile placement in a Chevy commercial during the Super Bowl and "We Are Young" becoming #1 on iTunes. Some choice bits are below.
Last February, producer Jeff Bhasker was in New York working on Beyoncé's 4. For nearly three months, he had been getting calls from John Janick, president/CEO of Fueled by Ramen and co-president of Elektra, about a New York band called fun., whose singer, Nate Ruess, desperately wanted to work with him. Bhasker, generally known for his high-profile work on hip-hop projects like Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne," took his time returning the calls. "I kind of blew them off actually," Bhasker says today. "It wasn't until I was in New York working that Beyoncé album that someone from my team said, 'Fun. is in New York. Can you just meet with them quickly?'"
Reluctantly, Bhasker met Ruess for drinks, but then, the pair slowly hit it off. After downing a few cocktails, Ruess was in Bhasker's hotel room singing the hook to fun.'s breakout hit, "We Are Young," the flagship single from the band's second album, "Some Nights," which arrived Feb. 21 on Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic.
"Jeff automatically freaked out," Ruess says. "It went from, 'Oh, it's nice to meet you,' to 'We need to get into the studio in the next few days.' It was a catalyst for everything we've done until now."
"I vividly remember John dropping by my office with a just-mastered 'We Are Young' in hand," "Glee" music supervisor PJ Bloom says. "It was still on its original blank CD-R titled in poorly handwritten red Sharpie." When Janick suggested that the track was perfect for the musical show, Bloom demurred. "'Glee' doesn't break bands," Bloom says. "We celebrate existing pop success-that's our core model." But after listening to the song only once, he changed his mind.
"Not five minutes later I sent it to ["Glee" co-creator] Ryan Murphy, and within a few short weeks Ryan created what would become one of [the show's] pinnacle song moments of the entire series," Bloom says. "For fun., 'Glee' provided a launching pad for much of the success to come. For 'Glee,' fun. allowed us to show the world we could be an A&R source and break a band. It was music business perfection."
But while the release of the "Glee" version did cause a 1,650% jump in sales of fun.'s "We Are Young" (from 3,000 to 49,000, according to Columbia, during the week of Dec. 11, 2011), it wasn't until the song appeared in the Super Bowl spot that fun.'s "We Are Young" took off. In the weeks since, the song has notched sales weeks of 291,000, 244,000 and 296,000, working backward to the week of the Super Bowl. Its total sales now stand at 1.2 million.