It’s hard for me to pick just one thing to focus on when I am checking out a new band. Some bands I am captivated by the lead guitarist and how they are able to capture the crowd with their amazing guitar riffs. Anyone that saw Van Halen in concert would undoubtedly have to say that Eddie Van Halen was arguably one of the top 10 guitarists of all time. I could talk about every member of bands in the same way, citing someone that amazed me with the instrumental prowess. But one style of music that has captured my heart for years are a capella groups. They have no instruments other than their voices to share their gift with the world. Ironically my first discovery of my love for this style of music was not even an a capella group.
Back in the early ‘80s I discovered the group Ray, Goodman and Brown. Their harmonies were incredible and my favorite song, “Special Lady”, started out with just them singing the intro before any instruments started. In recent years this music genre has gained mass popularity through the Pitch Perfect music trilogy. People that may not have really listened to the music before started to take notice of this newly discovered musical style. If you’ve never heard of any other a capella group, you have more than likely heard of the band that has captured the hearts of a capella lovers everywhere.
Pentatonix is a five-member group consisting of vocalists Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee. They really came into the public eye when they won the third season of the TV show, The Sing-Off. Their prize was $200,000 cash and a recording contract with Sony Music. Their most popular cover is “Daft Punk” which has over 340 million views on YouTube. But my personal favorite, “Hallelujah”, has over 400 million views. Pentatonix has been on the Billboard charts numerous times and has also won at least one Grammy. Pentatonix is not the only group to gain attention because of their appearance on TV.
The a capella group Voiceplay was a finalist in The Sing-Off’s fourth season. They have many followers on social media and have won the 2019 A Cappella Music Awards Pop Group of the Year. One thing a little different with this group is they are known for inviting other artists to collaborate with them. Singers Rachel Potter and Adriana Arellano have both done performances with Voiceplay. Voiceplay has four regular members, but some other groups are much larger.
Voctave consists of 11 singers. They hailed from central Florida and formed in 2015. They have performed many different styles of music consisting of musical theater, contemporary Christian, pop and barbershop. Their music is on many music platforms such as Amazon, Spotify and iTunes. Like the other groups I’ve talked about so far, they also have made the Billboard Magazine charts. Like Voiceplay, they also have performed with many other singers to include Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix fame. I came across my most recent discovery when looking for a new group to feature on my Music Makes Me Facebook music group.
Citizen Queen hailing from LA, is relatively new to the music scene. They made their debut in 2018 with their great cover of Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry”. I fell in love with this all girl group’s harmony after stumbling upon that cover on YouTube. Since then I have binge watched many of their music videos and made the decision to do this article on a capella groups. They gained popularity and went on tour in 2019 just a year after their debut while some of them were still in high school. If you are not yet a fan of this music genre, I’d encourage you to check out any of the bands that I’ve mentioned in this article. Hopefully you will become a convert.
I enjoyed sharing my journey down this instrumental free path. If you are a fan, give me a shout with a band that you enjoy listening to. And if you enjoy just discovering any new style of music, check out either of my Facebook music groups, Music Makes Me or Heaven Awaits Me. If you are wondering what Heaven Awaits Me is all about, check out my last article. Until next time, get out there and support the local music scene.