Atlantic Records/Jeff-Forney

Why Don't We perform 'What Am I' for EW's In the Basement

November 01, 2019

They’ve been making music together since 2016, but boy band Why Don’t We say their single “What Am I” is their favorite song to date.

The romantic track, which is about the beginnings of a new and exciting relationship, has quite the pedigree: Ed Sheeran wrote it while he was on tour and sent it to the group, who are on the same record label as the British pop star. “We’ve all looked up to him since we were young and coming into the music business,” Jonah Marais told EW before the band performed the hit for the latest edition of our In the Basement series. “He’s a legend, so that was pretty cool.”

“He’s such a good dude and down to earth, and it was crazy to hear the version with his voice on it,” Marais said of the track. “I couldn’t believe that he didn’t want to put that out for himself, honestly.” This isn’t the first time Why Don’t We have teamed up with Sheeran, as he also wrote their 2018 song “Trust Fund Baby.”

The band, which also includes Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, and Daniel Seavey, has released five EPs so far, and dropped their first album, 8 Letters, in August 2018. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Their unique name came from a very simple question the guys asked themselves after they first met in Los Angeles in 2015. “It came from the question ‘Why don’t we make a band?’ And Why Don’t We just kind of stuck,” Besson explains. “It’s one of those things that you say throughout your daily life, and if you know of us, every time you say it, you’ll think of us.”

Why Don’t We recently made headlines for reasons other than their music, when they got stuck in an elevator in September and live-tweeted it. “we’re legit stuck in the smallest elevator right now in our pop up shop building in chicago and there’s wayyyy too many people in this rickety elevator and the fire departments tryna break us outta here,” the official Why Don’t We account tweeted at the time.

“It hasn’t changed my view of nice elevators,” Marais joked when asked about the incident. “To be fair, it was a really crappy elevator.”

“I won’t ever get in an old elevator again,” Avery added. “If I know I need to shut a gate in the elevator, I know I’m not in a good [situation].”

Next up for the group are tour dates in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia, and getting more music out sooner than fans might expect. “I’m pretty sure an album is in the talks for next year,” Besson teased.

Watch the video above for more of Why Don’t We, and check out past In the Basement performances from Alec Benjamin, PRETTYMUCH, Lennon Stella, Ty Dolla $ign, and Jewel.