Since forming in 2016, Why Don’t We have already had radio success with hits “These Girls” and “Something Different,” sold out multiple dates on their headlining tour and played at Madison Square Garden.
“Our dreams are coming true right now,” Daniel Seavey, 18, tells PEOPLE.
Seavey, along with his bandmates Jack Avery, 18; Corbyn Besson, 19; Zach Herron, 16; Jonah Marais, 19; have brought the boy band into 2017 with flashy stage sets, a trendy look and a dominant social media following (22 million Instagram fans and counting!). But they don’t forget about the choreography and harmonized vocals that have become their hallmark.
“It’s kind of cliché but when I was 12 years old I saw Justin Bieber,” Marais remembers. “He was probably 15 and he performed in front of a whole arena. That’s when I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.'”
Here’s what else you need to know before becoming a Why Don’t We superfan.
The boys began as solo artists on YouTube and decided to form a band after meeting up in Los Angeles.
While Seavey earned early recognition as a top 10 finalist on American Idol season 14, the other four got their starts covering popular songs on YouTube. “I started going on the internet and singing because I had a lot of free time on my hands,” Marais says. “Then the numbers started taking off.”
Come September 2016, they decided to ditch their single days — as artists that is — and try to make music as a group.
“We went out to L.A. a little over a year ago and we were just hanging out and the vibe was there,” Marais continues. “We were like, ‘Why don’t we make a band?’ And it stuck.”
Since then, the quintet has released five EPs, embarked on a summer tour and racked up more than 105 million views on the platform where they got their start. “That’s how we got the name for ourselves: YouTube,” Seavy says. “It’s done so much for us.”
They’ve already met their idol.
“He’s the one that made me want to pick up guitar and just start going for it,” Avery admits. “He’s a big inspiration to me.”
Seavy reveres the Grammy winner, 26, for his “songwriting standpoint, how he got the name he has for himself now, and just working his butt off.”
Before hanging with Sheeran backstage at iHeartMedia’s Jingle Ball, where Why Don’t We joined The Chainsmokers, Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift on tour, they encountered the Brit at the MTV VMAs in September.
“He like ran into us and knew who we were,” recalls Seavey. “It didn’t even feel like you were talking to the biggest star right now because of how grounded he is. He was really cool.”
The boys also name Jon Bellion (Herron’s pick) and Frank Ocean (Besson’s fave) as their musical influences.
Avery has a gum addiction.
“If fans want to know anything about me, it’s that I really like this gum,” the Susquehanna, Pennsylvania native says of Ice Breakers’ Cinnamon Ice Cubes.
While Avery is sure to share with his bandmates, he’s owned up to chewing at least four pieces at a time. “It’s one of those things where you keep eating them,” he divulges. “It’s like candy.”
Besson is the group’s self-proclaimed nerd.
Seavey gave Besson a NASA pin, which he wears regularly, to feed the singer’s obsession with all things out of this world.
“I love space and everything about the universe,” Besson, who hails from Fairfax, Virginia says. “Black holes and supernovas and stars. Antimatter, all that stuff. The simplest way to put it is I’m just a huge nerd.”
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Marais used to be a baseball player.
A real-life Troy Bolton, Marais balanced music and sports while in high school in Minnesota.
“I played baseball for like 10 years,” the former pitcher explains. “That was my thing for a while. I always had music in the back of my head though.”
Besson adds, “He can throw zingers!”
Herron doesn’t know how to do this one gross but normal thing. (Hint: You’ve been doing it since birth.)
Herron also boasts a great physical talent, which happens to be a medical marvel.
“I’ve never burped,” the Texan confesses. “Like, I don’t know how to. My mom and dad even said when I was little, they tried to get me to burp and I didn’t. I just threw up everywhere.”
His bandmates even tried to hop Herron up on soda in hopes of producing even the slightest belch. “I literally got soda once and drank a ton,” Herron recalls. “I felt it but it never actually happened. It’s just really weird.”
Seavey plays 20 instruments.
Before he ever sang, Seavey jammed on the keys. “The first instrument I ever played was my sister’s pink toy piano,” the Portland, Oregon native says. “It was three feet long and I just started messing around at 4 years old.”
Now, “I play over 20 instruments by ear,” he confesses. “I can just pick it up.”
His favorite: “Probably cello. It’s just really unique sounding.”
And they’re all roommates.
Aside from spending time together in the studio and on the road, Avery, Besson, Herron, Marais and Seavey also share a home in L.A. Fans can catch glimpses of life in the house thanks to videos the group posts on their YouTube channel, which boasts over 1.3 million subscribers.
“Life is different,” Avery says. “We’re in interviews all day and doing shows and crazy stuff, but I still feel like the same dude. Mentally, I don’t feel any different.”
For Besson, the only change has been, “I don’t have as much time to play video games anymore.”
Why Don’t We hits the road on their Invitation headlining tour in February.
For more about the new pop sensation, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.