Progress To Date
- Mixed the vocals
Given with the week off I haven’t been able to complete much work on my project, I thought this would be a great opportunity to reflect on who has inspired me throughout this project, as well as who I have discovered along the way to be amazing artists working on similar projects and in similar genres.
I couldn’t talk about inspirations and influences without including a segment on Pentatonix. They are the whole reason it even occurred to me to begin making A Cappella arrangements. In particular it was their Christmas albums that I had listened to mostly before embarking on this project as I was admittedly not a huge fan of the songs they were covering in their other EP’s and albums, being a lot of current pop hits, so I didn’t listen to them. Since then I have listened to and love all of their work! The way they restructure and rearrange hits to make them their own, the way they create moments in every song each one of their members, the way they are not restricted by chord structures and are creative with their use of counter melodies, giving everyone an important role. It is arranging at some of its finest, and I truly aspire to be able to write arrangement with the same visions and execution. Not only are the Pentatonix team great at what they do, but they have changed the perception of A Cappella music in pop culture from often being seen as daggy, only done in colleges in America, and being a genre stuck in the past with the image of barbershop quartets, to a genre that takes inspiration and influences from modern music and modern pop sounds and incorporates it with a mixed vocal group with an extremely wide range and the ability of a beta boxer who can emulate countless electronic percussive effects. I truly feel that if it wasn’t for their success and popularity, my project wouldn’t have flourished and developed the support it has received, and wouldn’t be able to reach a wider audience like it is starting to.
Jacob Collier is one of those people I wish I could go back and listen to for the first time, because that experience was magical. I also regret not hearing about him sooner as I genuinely believe he has to be one of, if not the most talented people on the planet at the moment. While I had been told he was a virtuoso and a musical genius, I was so pleasantly surprised to learn that he also had done A Cappella work on his albums and collaborations. I was also really excited realise that his work began as experimentations with sound from an arranging perspective, working on covers and originals, and that his 3-album series ‘Djesse’ is one big project that he has been working on for years. I feel I can relate to that on a much smaller scale with my studio project; my work is to create a vision of a project, and I have approached it from an arranging perspective, experimenting and learning about how I can use the voice to create the sounds I am after. After listening to his work, I realise how much there is for me to learn about arranging, and that there is so much room for me to expand my imagination and creative thinking in regards to arranging, particularly in regards to rhythmic manipulation, working with more instruments, manipulating song structure, reharmonization, and countless other techniques. Having only discovered him myself in July of 2019, my only regret is that I haven’t been able to incorporate his influences in my Portfolio of A Cappella Arrangements, however I will carry his influences with me in my future projects and endeavours.
Although I haven’t listened to Peter as much, I have to bring him up for two specific reasons. One is that we have made an A Cappella arrangement of the same song, ‘The Skyeboat Song’, and I could not believe how in many instances we had imagined and envisioned the arrangement in similar ways! I wrote my arrangement for ‘The Skyeboat Song’ in July of 2018, but I didn’t hear Peter Hollens’ arrangement until a year later. In the second chorus, we both coincidentally arranged the exact same thing where the lead vocalist is only supported by two other voices, both sustaining the tonic note an octave apart from each other. We both build up the arrangement in a similar way dynamically, and use similar colours to fill out the arrangement. There are of course differences, but the fact that I share the same ideas as someone else who is successfully arranging, creating and releasing A Cappella work is very encouraging for me that there is a platform of people who will listen to my work. The second reason I feel the need to talk about Peter Hollens is the fact that I discovered him in the first place. When beginning this project I honestly thought that there weren’t any other groups who were tackling A Cappella the way Pentatonix were, however Spotify being the amazing platform it is, suggested other artists I might like based on what other people who listen to Pentatonix like. This has opened my eyes that there is a network of A Cappella arrangers and albums being released. I haven’t delved to deeply yet into this world since I have been so focused on creating my project, however once it is complete, I can dive into this world and see exactly where I will fit and how I can get my foot in the door. It is extremely comforting and exciting to know that there is a growing demand for work similar to what I am doing.