On the eve of SoJam XV, we're taking a closer look at each of our six awesome competitors this year! Representing Florida and New York, our six groups will be vying for the glory of being the SoJam XV Champion, one of the most heavily sought-after titles in contemporary a cappella. We've got the details on all your favorite groups after the jump.
Meet Christopher Diaz. Hailing from Newport News, Virginia, Diaz is a singer, songwriter, actor, arranger, and vocal coach for thousands of performers across the world. From humble beginnings at Florida State University, Diaz earned his Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance and led a cappella powerhouse group, All-Night Yahtzee to ICCA Finals from 2006 - 2008. If you've ever listened to any a cappella compilation albums, then you're probably more than familiar with his work, with his arrangements featured on every major compilation album in the biz. Diaz is a regular at festivals across the world, and served as a vocal coach and arranger for NBC's The Sing-Off. After The Sing-Off, Diaz co-founded a cappella pop sensation, The Exchange, touring in over 25 countries and six different continents, including touring with The Backstreet Boys during their In A World Like This tour. The Exchange went on to become the runners-up of Season 5 of The Sing-Off, culminating in headlining The Sing-Off Live Tour in 2015. Now, post-The Exchange, Diaz continues to perform with Freedom's Boombox, a trio consisting of Diaz and former Exchange members Alfredo Austin and Richard Steighner. We got a chance to talk with Chris about his journey from collegiate a cappella to being a leading a cappella educator today.
Topics: Humans of A Cappella
Meet Tat Tong. Hailing from Singapore, Tat Tong might just be the one of the most successful Asian producers in the world. After studying composition at the Yamaha Music Foundation and Computer Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Tong looked to the future and broke away from that life to become a full-time producer in 2011. While at Cornell, he was a member of the male-identified ensemble, Last Call. With over sixty Top 20 Hits worldwide, 20 number-one hits, and a 20x Platinum discography, Tong is absolutely a force to be reckoned with in mainstream music. In 2014, Tong co-wrote and produced South African-Australian Troye Sivan's breakout single, "Happy Little Pill," off of Sivan's third EP, TRXYE, smashing iTunes charts at number one in 55 countries and certifying Gold in Australia. Tong is also a staple clinician and instructor at several Next Level seminars, most recently NLSWAGACA in 2016. We got a chance to pick Tat's brain and talk about how vocal music has influenced his artistry today.
Topics: Humans of A Cappella
Meet Katy Geraghty. Hailing from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Katy is no stranger to the a cappella world. While studying theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Katy made it big in the a cappella community as one of the core members of the six-member, collegiate-turned-pro group, The Hexachords. In 2016, The Hexachords were featured on the second season of Pop TV's ICCA docu-drama, Sing It On. Her lofty soprano notes and killer high belt can also be heard on their 2017 CARA-winning album, Move. Post-a cappella world, Katy has transitioned to the Big Apple, making her Broadway debut in Groundhog Day, nominated for seven 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Director, as well as winning the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical. We had a chance to sit down with Katy and talk about how her a cappella experiences shaped her as an artist today.
Topics: Humans of A Cappella
No matter what kind of group you are, every group goes through the grueling yet exciting process of auditions. While it may happen every year, finding new members is no easy fit. Finding new members that are the perfect fit? That's even harder.
As an alum of 3 a cappella groups (and counting), I've been through my fair share of auditions - some great, some not so great. In my conversations with groups, I realized many of the same audition problems and questions kept coming up - so I wanted to investigate. What are the pros doing that helps them find the best new members every year? I asked the current and former directors of groups of all levels and sizes to see what they do to prevent common audition mistakes.
Topics: Rehearsal Strategies
Meet Jacob Collier. Hailing from London, England, Jacob Collier is a singer, songwriter, and master instrumentalist. Known by some as "The Future of Music," Jacob Collier is a world leader in experimental music. Getting his start on YouTube creating 12-part vocal harmonies to iconic songs like "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" and "Fascinating Rhythm" and possessing his trademark vocal harmonizer skillfully crafted by MIT Logarhythm alumnus Ben Bloomberg, Jacob Collier carefully weaves live looping and master-level music theory into sonic masterpieces that blur the lines between jazz, choral music, pop, funk, and more. We got the chance to sit down with Jacob and pick his brain on the next steps for him and his music.
It's officially September, and that means it's time to start thinking about the biggest event on the Fall aca-calendar: SoJam.
On it's return tour to North Carolina, SoJam is back this year and shaping up to be better than ever. That's a pretty high bar considering all the lore that surrounds the festival - in case you didn't know, SoJam is basically the festival of legends.
With three weeks left til the SoJam competition deadline, I wanted to share our favorite stories from legendary Friday night SoJam performances that shaped the futures of some of the biggest groups in the game right now. Could your group be the next crazy story in the a cappella history books?
It's the heat of August - you're probably enjoying the final days at the pool, huddling inside air conditioning, or finishing up your most recent jaunt around the world. In the back of your mind, though, is the constant reminder - Fall is coming, and with it, the start of another school year.
387 college groups. 160 high school groups. And only one ICCA and one ICHSA champion. You've been following along with us all season for the wrap-ups, and now the stage is set for this weekend as our top nine ICHSA and top ten ICCA Finalists battle it out for the championship title!