They have been coined “The Official Boy Band of TikTok”. Comprised of five immensely talented members Andrew Bloom, Dawson Huckabee, Devin Hayes, Jon Klaasen and Sam Jenkins, the Los Angeles-based group proposes a reevaluation of beauty standards ahead of a fast-approaching International Women’s Day. Aligned with their gripping new single “How Beautiful”, On the Outside challenges society’s comparison culture’ in order to uplift those who feel weighed down by an unrealistic beauty bar. Partnered with the JED Foundation, the band leads a conversation in acknowledgement of a social landscape overrun with anxiety, depression, suicide and poor self esteem. Very much in sync with their army of dedicated fans affectionately known as “Outsiders”, the band encourages everyone to embrace what makes them unique by finding the beauty within. And sure, we’ve seen this before – Lady Gaga had “Born This Way” and Katy Perry had “Roar”. But when was the last time we heard a boy band, let alone a male figure in music, outwardly recognize the harm done by contemporary advertising and as a result, encouraged women and men for that matter to reshape how they see themselves.
“How Beautiful is a song about the true inner beauty we all have and how our insecurities just make us unique and perfectly designed.” ~ On the Outside
Formed in 2019, OTO has been best described by the press as “if One Direction had a love child with Dan + Shay”. Having amassed over 4M devoted fans and followers on TikTok alone, the band’s tremendous growth spans over 3B video views and a combined 24M social media followers all without the help of a record label. And their fans always come first. Regularly engaging with followers on Instagram via their weekly #WhatsUpWednesday live streams, they invite fans into the live conversation to sing happy birthday or to see what they’re up to that day. Akin to the habits of K-Pop fandom, ‘Outsiders’ have already claimed their own hashtag being #NoOutsiderStandsAlone, reaching out to one another to let them know that no matter what they might be struggling with, they’re never alone in the fight.
“We are excited about releasing How Beautiful because it represents everything we stand for as a band, supporting each other in love and positivity and accepting each other’s differences as beauty and not flaws..” – On the Outside
What might be the most refreshing thing about OTO is their invaluable authenticity. Their organic approach to fan engagement and their pull toward positivity creates a magnetic energy that, as we can see, continues to pull people in. With songs like “How Beautiful”, OTO aims to promote inclusiveness and a redefined approach to how we see one another and in turn, how we see ourselves. In the verses, the lyrics ask the listener to stop apologizing for not living up to unattainable standards and instead, “take some time to learn what’s inside”. The song builds with the pre-chorus plea of “I wish you could see what I see” suggesting that oftentimes the glare of our own mirrors hides what it is that makes us shine. Finally, the chorus is almost mantra-like in its simplicity posing the simple, yet often difficult question…”do you even know just how beautiful you are?”. Stay tuned for the official music video release right in time for International Women’s Day on March 8.
“We are inspired by On The Outside’s message of inclusivity with the #howbeautiful challenge and their steps to make a difference in the world of comparison culture. This challenge will hopefully reach young people who are hurting and realize they are not alone and that there is help standing by” – Adee Sharpen, JED Foundation
ABOUT THE JED FOUNDATION: JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. They’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. JED is equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
Learn more at jedfoundation.org. Check out their programs including: JED Campus (jedcampus.org), Set to Go (settogo.org), ULifeline (ulifeline.org), Half of Us (halfofus.com), Love is Louder (loveislouder.com), and Seize the Awkward (seizetheawkward.org).