Home"The Sing-Off" Season 2 Group Profile: The Backbeats

Amy Malkoff's picture

"The Sing-Off" season two begins Monday, December 6 on NBC. Ten amazing groups will compete for a Sony recording contract and cash prizes. We'll be featuring profiles of each group leading up to the debut, and during the show's run, we'll have a review of each episode. Have an opinion on any of the groups, or the show? Comment on any article or our forum

The Backbeats are one of the newest groups to hit the a cappella scene. Assembled from members of competing collegiate ensembles, these twenty-somethings from around the country are quickly honing their sound. After last season's "Sing-Off", Kenton Chen asked his friend Kelley Jakle (from the SoCals) to help him form a group to audition for this season. Together they pulled in their best friends, who then helped them find singers for the group through their friends. In a musical 6 degrees of separation game, they finally assembled the group in May that would later become the Backbeats. Though most of the group hails from NorCal or SoCal, they have members from Texas, Chicago, and Kansas City - USC, UCLA, and BYU.

The Backbeats like to mix it up stylistically, doing songs that have R&B, Pop, and Soul influences. Though they admit to feeling a bit daunted competing against such established groups as Whiffenpoofs and Groove for Thought, they are excited to show people what they can do. When asked what their goals are as a group, they had this to say: "Simply put, we want to make good music. So many of us have been in the a cappella circuit for years, and it's such a satisfying mission to show people just how dynamic and relatable a cappella can be. In each of our performances, our emphasis is always on the art. It's always about how the song serves the message, how we can honestly deliver that message, and hopefully move beyond pure entertainment to music that is truly compelling."

And here's a fun fact about The Backbeats, from the group themselves: "In addition to a vocal warmup, we have a 'jam session' before every rehearsal. Members make up parts to each other, and the big emphasis is on creating parts that complement and play on each other. In this way, we not only warm up our bodies, but our minds as well."



About the author:
Involved in a cappella since college (Kenyon College), Amy Malkoff is a founding member and bandleader of the award-winning vocal band All About Buford, and her music has appeared on both the Rounder Records and Hear Music/Starbucks labels. She has appeared on stage and in the studio with such luminaries as Wayne Brady, Jonatha Brooke, The Persuasions, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, GrooveLily, Patty Griffin, and Dar Williams. She has a degree in music from Kenyon College, with music studies at Youngstown State University and masters-level coursework at the New England Conservatory of Music. Amy serves on the board of directors of CASA (The Contemporary A Cappella Society), where she is also the Director of Web Content. She is a Certified Adjudicator and Producer for the International Championships of Collegiate and High School A Cappella, and for Harmony Sweepstakes. (www.amymalkoff.com/harmony)