October 2015 A cappella News

October was a huge month for Pentatonix, and a big month for other a cappella news as well. In light of the massive accomplishments for PTX, they get their own section in the lead here, and then we jump to the other news in the a cappella community.

Pentatonix

So, remember that time PTX released an album and it became the first a cappella album ever to hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart?

How about when they were on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, PBS News Hour, and more?

They were also written about in or interviewed by Time magazine, ABC NewsThe New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, People magazine, US magazine, Billboard magazine (x2), and more.  The group was all over social media as well, even taking over the YouTube twitter handle for awhile.

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Retrocity Loves Those 80’s Greaties

Retrocity is an eight member a cappella group devoted to 80’s music which formed in 1998.  The group has since expanded its repertoire to cover jazz, soul and funk, yet their heart still belongs to the 1980s. They previously released their debut album ‘Totally 80s A Cappella’ in 2006 and recently released their second full-length recording ‘Mixtape’. The group also offers professional vocal workshops and performances at venues and festivals around the world, including Panamania at the 2015 PanAm Games and the 2015 Beaches International Jazz Festival in Toronto.

retrocity

I recently interviewed group members (and very accomplished performers, arrangers, etc.) Aaron Jensen and Dylan Bell via email about the group and its latest release. Continue reading…

September 2015 News

We have decided to get the monthly news column back up and running, beginning with this somewhat belated edition. Next month, we’ll have a more timely summary compiled by several contributors. For now, take a look at what happened in September and feel free to let us know what we missed in the comments below! Going forward, please email us at news@acatribe.com with your a cappella news.

News

As usual, we lead with Pentatonix because they are leading the a cappella pop culture revolution.  The group announced the release date of their new album, coming October 16, and then released videos for two of the tracks. Unsurprisingly, this one has over 5 million views in a little over a month, and this one is approaching 4 million views in half that time. They also hit 9 million YouTube subscribers (technically on Oct 1, but whatever!) and 600,000 followers on Twitter. The PTX freight train keeps rolling along.  Also, Avi and Kevin showed up in Mix magazine (hey, audio engineers, welcome to the conversation!) for their session with Ben Bram on a new project for RCA Records. The whole group was apparently tracking vocals in NYC this month as well.

Sing Off Season 4 winners Home Free were interviewed in conjunction with their new album (see below), did some promotional work around New York City including an appearance at the offices for Billboard magazine, held an AMA on Reddit, appeared on television, announced an upcoming track collaboration with Kenny Rogers, and released a few videos as well.  Busy month for another Sing Off champ!

Danish vocal (and electronic) group Postyr streamed not one, but several live concerts on Meerkat. This is awesome, but not their first time streaming live performances. Check out this post from 2012!

The legendary Take 6 made a trip to Cuba- yes, CUBA- to perform, which was covered here. Also, the group’s sound engineer (and former Sing Off contestant- Urban Method!) Tony Huerta blogged about it here.
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The House Jacks’ Newest Member Revealed!

The word is finally out! After recent news of Troy Horne’s (bass) return to The House Jacks, their final member has been revealed. Mark Joseph will bring his smooth, sultry tenor sound to complete the lineup.

11950988_1034317419914324_2032470071_nMark has been singing his entire life. In his earlier years he was always in a choir or group of some kind. His love for a cappella was cultivated in high school when he was a part of the jazz choir. There he realized that he wanted to be a part of a collegiate group in the future.

 

Mark graduated in 2014 from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. There he was a member of Pitch Slapped, winners of the 2014 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). He can be heard on their album, ‘Good Life’. He also won ‘best male soloist’ at SoJam 2011.

“I love how everyone has everyone’s back in a group. There’s nothing like singing and blending in harmony with other voices. That’s so much more fun than singing alone! Also, the relationships you build in a group is my favorite thing. Makes everything that much better.”

Mark is thrilled to be a part of The House Jacks! He sees the group having a great deal of versatility, as their voices are all so different. In addition, to be in a group that has been around for 20+ years, “It’s going to be a great learning experience for me because these guys clearly know what they’re doing.”

When asked what fans can look forward to with the new lineup, Mark replied, “You can expect new music, of course, and you can expect even more outside of the boxness.”

We CANNOT WAIT to see what this rebirth of The House Jacks will bring! Stay tuned to all of their social media to keep up with news, tour dates, and more! (fb/Twitter/IG: TheHouseJacks)

Troy Horne Returns To The House Jacks!

On August 10th, legendary a cappella group, The House Jacks, bid farewell to Deke Sharon (founding band member and acaEVERYTHING) and Elliott Robinson (bass). Faithful supporters were stunned, but amid their shock and well wishes for the departing, rose another chatter…WHO WILL BE IN THE NEW LINEUP? Wait no longer, as the first *new* member to be added to the ranks is none other than TROY HORNE!

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If you have been a long time supporter of The House Jacks, you know that Troy is, in fact, not ‘new’, but rather ‘returning’ to the group as bass. If you are new to The House Jacks, Troy has a rich musical background, contagious positive spirit, and we want to give you the opportunity to get to know him better.

TK: Hi Troy! I am so thrilled to see you back with The House Jacks! However, for those not familiar with you, how long have you been singing/what are your early singing experiences?

TH: Okay! Starting off with the FIRE!! I like it! I like it. So okay…How long have I been singing? I have been singing for over 30 years. That is longer than most of the folks that are reading this have been alive! CRAY!! CRAY!! My early experiences were mostly in church and in talent shows and stuff like that. Nothing too fancy. It was a great way to learn how to engage with an audience. I love it when you are able to create a connection with the people who are listening. I think that that is why I continue to sing and perform. For me it is all about connecting with people.

TK: So true! Sometimes it’s easy to just focus on a perfect performance and overlook making a real connection to the people who are listening. Did you study music in any capacity in school?

TH: I studied music in school and really loved the experience. I would say that it was a really great way to learn and become disciplined; however, schooling is not the end of your learning how to be a performer. It is only the beginning. It gives you more tools to add to your toolbox, but you still have a lot of learning to do once you leave there. A LOT!! :-)

TK: I love that you recognize that there is always room to grow, especially in terms of performing. Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to sing professionally?

TH: Yes. I was really lucky! I knew from the first time that I sang in front of an audience that this is what I was meant to do. I still remember being around 8 or 9 years old standing in front of our church congregation and being able to hear my heart. I could actually hear it in my head. That is how nervous I was. After we finished singing, people stood to their feet and applauded for us like we were the Beatles or something. I was hooked.

TK: Yes! I can only imagine how it feels to have crowds of people so moved by what you do on stage. How did you initially become a member of the group? Did you know someone who knew someone? Or?

TH: I was auditioning for a show at Disney. I think it was Aladdin (or something) and one of the casting people asked if I would be interested in being a part of this a cappella group that they were putting together. I said YES because that is what you say when someone asks you, “Hey would you like to sing for a living?” I walked into this room filled with some AMAZEBALLS singers and was totally intimidated. Deke was the director and coordinator of the group. (I LOVE ME SOME DEKE!) Anywho, we hit it off and later when a spot opened up he asked me if I would like to be a part of a group that he was in called The House Jacks. Like I said before, I did what you do when someone asks you, “Hey would you like to sing for a living?” Haha!

TK: Had you heard of The House Jacks before then? Had you been a fan?

TH: I didn’t really know of the Jacks at that time. I just knew of Deke and if he was a part of it, I knew that it was going to be the real deal. That dude! He is something!

TK: That is for sure! What years were you a part of their lineup?

TH: It’s all a blur. I was a part of their lineup for a few years before doing RENT (*YES, he is referring to RENT on Broadway! Check your Playbills!) and then a few years after RENT and now I am back for a threepeat. I just really like what we do as a group! I can’t wait to shift the idea of what a cappella is yet again. We have some surprises coming. It’s going to be goooood. Little known fact: Did you know that I was a member of Home Free for a minute? Those guys are also so fun! Chris, Adam, and Rob were the only ones in the group at the time. Love those dudes! Shout out to Rob L…”Learn About It”….it’s a Home Free thing… you wouldn’t understand. :-)

TK: Speaking of RENT, how did you land a role in it? Had you done other Broadway shows? Off-Broadway?

TH: It was a very interesting “Come to Jesus” moment. I was sitting in my car reading ‘Backstage West’ and I saw an audition for RENT. I had never seen the play, never heard of the characters, or anything, but something inside of me said “Hey…if you go to this audition you will get the part.” Actually I talk about it in our new podcast. I will let you know when it comes out and what we name it so that people can find it. It’s a long story, and I think hearing Austin and John banter in the background as I tell it is much more interesting than me just talking about it now. So in a couple of weeks, we will put it up on iTunes. (*As a faithful RENThead, I CANNOT WAIT for this podcast. Keep your eye out for its release!)

TK: A hot topic in a cappella right now is original music and The House Jacks are known for their original songs. Were you among those who wrote for the group? Do you have a favorite song that you wrote?

TH: I was writing songs for the group at that time. One of my favorite songs is ‘Storybook’. It is a song about how love between all people a boy and a boy, a girl and a girl, or a boy and a girl are to be celebrated. It was my little musical celebration of love between people.

TK: We all need to celebrate love more often. Do you have a special memory that you love about being a House Jack before?

TH: Two words: HAR GOW! There is a place near Deke’s house that served it. I really loved walking with him to get some. Great talks happened during those walks.

TK: It’s always nice to reflect on cool moments from past experiences. Is there one thing you remember most from that time, touring, etc.?

TH: Almost staying in a hotel that was owned by a guy whose parents were proudly a part of the Nazi movement. AWKWARD! I have stories for days about touring with the Jacks, but that was the craziest moment of my life. Needless to stay we stayed somewhere else.

TK: I’m glad to hear that you found new accommodations! I cannot even imagine how awkward that must have been. Wow. Have you continued with music since then? What types of projects/work have you done?

TH: I have! I am currently working on a music subscription program of all original positive music called the Whole Music Diet. It’s online at Wholemusicdiet.com (Shameless Plug!) Did you know that when you listen to music that eight parts of your brain are activated? Music has been used to help lessen depression and even decrease pain during surgery. I think that we have been led to believe that it is just entertainment, but it is really so much more. My vision is to help people overcome, or at least lessen, their fear, depression and anxiety through music. I want to make happy making music.

TK: Music can truly transform a person. There are numerous stories about its healing benefits. Having been away from the group for some time, what made you decide to return?

TH: I wanted to be around people making music. I really wanted to create more high quality music with great musicians. I was very honored to be notified of the possibility of singing with the Jacks again.

TK: Well, I for one, am SUPER excited to have you back with The House Jacks! Finally, what can both returning and new fans look forward to with the new lineup?

TH: Originality and a high level of artistry. The new guy…(I think that you are doing an article with him later so I won’t spoil it)…is one of the SICKEST SINGERS IN THE WORLD and it is effortless!

For more fun from Troy (and to hear his awesome voice), keep your eyes peeled for The House Jacks’ podcast that Troy mentioned earlier. Also, stay tuned for the announcement of the other new member. Be sure to follow all of the The House Jacks’ social media sites (fb/Twitter/IG: TheHouseJacks) to keep current with all of their news and some fun contests.