Musical group FBA puts the “boy” in boy band. The five singers’ average age is 10, and their oldest member has yet to enter his teens. FBA’s members are all students from middle-class families in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and they have quickly become the provincial capital’s most popular child stars. Their fresh, schoolboy image earned them their huge local following. Now the members of FBA, which stands for Five Boy’s Action, have their own songs, promotional videos, managers and fans. They have also appeared on various variety TV shows and given concerts.
The leader of the band, Fang Zemin, is a bright 12-year-old in the sixth grade. During his breaks between classes, fans at his school crowd around him, giving him presents and letters and asking for autographs and photos. Apart from being a preteen idol, Fang is also a straight-A student with a particular gift for math. Fang’s family has invested about 100,000 yuan (US$15,000) into making him a star. Because Fang loves to dance and juggles his band activities and schoolwork easily, his mother, in her words, strongly supports her son’s interest.
The financial input of the other four members’ families ranged from 100,000 to 150,000 yuan (US$15,000-22,500) each. Wu Ningbo, father of FBA member Wu Hanyuan, said that it is worth paying for his child’s passion. When asked if Wu Hanyuan would enter the entertainment industry in the future, his father said it was all up to his son. “I won’t force him into anything,” Wu Ningbo said. “I hope that when he grows up, he can do whatever he likes.”
FBA in rehearsal
Li Qiaomu, the band's youngest member, finishes rehearsal soaked in sweat
Wu Hanwen (Left) and Fang Zemin (Right) have a dance-off during a competition held at a local shopping mall on Children’s Day
Parents watch and wait outside the practice room
Band member Wu Hanwen breezes through his math homework
Band member Chen Linyou buys ice cream cones to help his fellow members to cool off on a hot summer day
Fang Zemin’s mother wipes away her son’s perspiration as he prepares for an upcoming competition
The boys have a post-rehearsal dinner at a nearby restaurant
Fang Zemin (right) and Wu Hanwen walk home together at midnight after giving a performance
A girl group competes against FBA in a dance competition
The FBA boys learn to play the djembe