This is a list of 10 performances and songs that have had a profound impact on me since I have entered the a cappella world (aka college a cappella lol). I had to make this an abbreviated list because, in all honesty, it would be easier for me to make a complete list of songs and performances that had zero impact on my life. And just to clarify- these have all come into my life since a cappella was introduced to me, but they were not necessarily performed after I entered the wonderful world of a cappella. I have listed the songs chronologically, in order of them entering my life.
Each of these examples has impacted me for different reasons, but ultimately they’ve increased my appreciation for song as a vessel of honest and emotional communication, challenged my expectations of music as a platform for performance, and expanded my understanding of the voice as an instrument.
Disclaimer: This post includes an excessive use of capital letters. Music makes me excited, and this is a list of the songs and performances that have made me the most excited, so be warned!
Pentatonix, “Somebody That I Used To Know”
I know this may seem like a weird choice of video but I chose it because I was in the room when this happened. This was my first LAAF and the first year that I was in an a cappella group, so hearing them live and off mic in an intimate space like this was really grounding. I was melting inside. I think this was the first time I realized the impact that a cappella could have.
The Backbeats, “Landslide”
I cried. So. Many. Tears. Slay me, Joanna Jones!
Resound, “Total Praise”
This doesn’t require much explanation. They are insanely talented. And just casually chillin’ with the choir robes.
Bobby McFerrin, “Blackbird”
I mean…. WUT. Mind. Blown. I feel this way about pretty much everything Bobby does, but I mean COME ON.
ARORA, “The Bridge”
Maybe I’m just a fangirl, but they are SO COOL. Thoughts that come to mind when listening to ARORA: “How are they making that sound?” “Is that a human voice?!”
I have no idea what any of the lyrics are, but I feel this in my soul.
OSA Vocal Rush, “Have Mercy”
This is last year’s group, but YA’LLLLLLLLLLLLL. If you are someone who has had the privilege of hearing this live, then you already know. I literally cry every single time.
Lark, “Good Intent”
Yooooo!!!! I’ve never seen this live, but I feel like I’ve been there. My whole body was shaking after the first time I watched this. And then I rewound it and watched it 45 more times. Lark does not subscribe to the guidelines of a cappella that have been shaped by competition standards, and they SLAY IN EVERY WAY. As my friend KO said, “woke-cappella!”
Honey Whiskey Trio, “St. James Infirmary”
I heard this arrangement for the first time at SheSings 2018 last weekend. I WAS NOT READY!
The Boxettes, “Free”
“What vowel/syllable is that?!” is the thought that ran through my mind through the whole song when I heard it for the first time. So many cool sounds and voices.
Bellatrix, Chicken Beat Box
I'm throwing this one in for fun. After I was introduced to The Boxettes, I fell into a Youtube black hole of Bellatrix battle videos. Did you know a human could make these sounds?! SO DOPE!