Last year, Joel Lorenz went to the Arnold Sports Festival as a competitor in the annual event's Quest for Talent show.

This year, the 16-year-old New Albany High School sophomore will perform there as a member of his own band.

He and his older brother, Nick, perform as Love U, and the duo will open the talent show at 12:45 p.m. March 3 at the Bricker Building at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus.

"We're super pumped for that," Nick Lorenz said.

The talent show is part of the Arnold SportsWorld Kids & Teens Expo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 3 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 4; the entire Arnold Sports Festival is March 1-4 at several Columbus locations. For more information or to buy tickets, go to arnoldsportsfestival.com/usa or ticketmaster.com/arnold.

Joel Lorenz said winning last year's talent competition by playing the drums made him realize he wanted to perform publicly.

The brothers formed Love U in May, with Joel playing the drums and Nick on guitar and vocals.

Although the brothers count indie rock, blues and pop punk as inspirational genres, their family members contributed to their passion for music, they said.

Nick Lorenz, 21, a 2015 New Albany High School graduate and a junior at Belmont University in Nashville, credited their uncle, Steve, with introducing him to the guitar and showing him how to play his first chords.

From there, he said, he began learning songs and watching guitar videos on YouTube. He has been playing electric guitar since he was 16.

"Just the creativity behind the guitar is kind of endless," Nick Lorenz said.

Meanwhile, their grandfather, John, would appear to enter a different world when he got behind a drum set, he said.

"It was amazing to watch every time," Nick Lorenz said.

Around Thanksgiving 2016, he decided to buy a drum set for his younger brother.

"That kind of propelled the whole idea of me and him working together on a project," Nick Lorenz said.

Joel Lorenz had never played the drums before. But he was a quick study and he liked what he was doing, drumming for hours and days on end, he said.

When his mother, Stephanie, told him about the Arnold's talent contest, he thought drumming would be an unusual choice given the event's focus on athletics and sports, Joel Lorenz said.

"I just thought I would enter to see what would happen," he said.

Last year, more than 30 people auditioned to participate in the contest and 18 were selected for the finals, said Lea Coburn, event director for the Arnold SportsWorld Kids & Teens Expo. This year, about 50 people auditioned and 20 will compete in the finals, she said.

"The talent competition is not only an opportunity to show off talent, but it is fun to watch," she said.

Participants have included magicians, singers, dancers, jugglers, jump-ropers, poetry readers and musicians, Coburn said.

This is the fourth year for the talent competition, Coburn said. The winner will get a $2,500 Rotary scholarship, lunch with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a tablet computer and a trophy, she said.

Winning last year's talent contest gave him the confidence to perform on stage, Joel Lorenz said.

The brothers headlined their first hometown show with a Feb. 2 performance at the Rumba Cafe in Columbus, but right now, distance is the biggest obstacle for the band, with Nick Lorenz living in Tennessee to attend Belmont, where he is majoring in songwriting and minoring in music business.

For the moment, he often records and sends guitar arrangements to his brother, who will come up with the drums portion, he said.

The brothers collaborate on lyrics.

Nick Lorenz said he hopes managing Love U will prove easier after he finishes college. The brothers also want to play shows in Nashville, he said.

Joel Lorenz said when he goes to college, he wants to find a way to balance schoolwork and his band.

He said the brothers work well as a team both off and on the stage.

"We have a lot of the same ideas, and we really just click well when we write together and everything," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah