Presently, I am in Chicago attending the A cappella Boot Camp- a five day intensive on a cappella recording. Those interested can check it out here:
I consider the A cappella Boot Camp to be a "game changer." That is, the A cappella Boot Camp doesn't just add to the already overflowing pool of a cappella talent; It changes the face of a cappella music.
Let's face it. With the rising number of a cappella groups all over the world, monumental groups can get lost in the crowd. If someone were to teach a class or curriculum on a cappella music, (soon...I promise) they would have to defend the material presented. In other words, groups/people/festivals that are considered "game changers" show us how a cappella music has evolved over the last twenty years.
So what exactly defines a "game changer?" I'd like to think the definition goes something like this:
A person, ensemble, event, recording, video, or tool that makes a substantial impact on a cappella music by starting a trend, influencing multiple artists, or altering the current direction of a cappella music.
The number of "game changers" is substantial, but recently, the number has been dwindling. You can even see the frustration on the internet. More and more articles/blog posts have been criticizing groups for not being unique, dynamic, or original. But on the other side of the fence, becoming a "game changer" is a very difficult thing to do. More so, attempting to become a "game changer" for the sake of changing the game is retroactive. The "game changers" are the ones who don't realize they have become one until someone recognizes their accomplishments. The other pitfall of becoming a "game changer" is that fame/recognition alone is not an authentic reason to become a "game changer."
Part one of this series (series? topic? saga?) discusses what I believe to be the most recent game changers from the last year or so.
1) Peter Hollens- Right now, the big name in solo a cappella videos and releases (and iPhone apps!). Peter proves that you can do it all and sound better than most groups attempting to perform the same song. The process by which he records and posts is a valuable lesson on a cappella recording, promoting, and solo performing.
2) Pentatonix- Top album on the iTunes pop chart. Yesterday, they were #13 on the top overall iTunes chart...and the album hasn't even released yet. It has been a dream of mine to see an a cappella group hit the mainstream media (besides the Warblers...who are really the Bubs) and I think they have the best shot.
3) Live Loopers- Mister tim, Julia Easterlin, Kid Beyond, Dylan Bell, etc.- Performers are making a living showing off their a cappella chops without the input of other people. They are literally their own a cappella group, and they have achieved what we always thought impossible- they are singing their own chords.
4) Pitch Perfect- Have you seen the trailer? Pitch Perfect is a Hollywood movie that doesn't just feature a cappella, it's actually about a cappella. In 5 months, i predict the songs performed in that movie will become a cappella mainstream, the lines they quote will be posted on every a cappella fan's Facebook status from East to West coast, and the movie will change something about how we view a cappella music. I honestly don't know what yet, but something is about to change, and I'm very excited.
These are only a few "game changers" who exist today. Who do you consider to be "game changers?" Who has changed the way you view a cappella music?
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