Five voices, zero instruments and one new exciting vocal sound: that’s Eh440.
The group will be performing in the fourth and final concert in the 2015-16 season of the Stars for Saskatchewan series being brought to the community by the Kamsack Arts Council.
The concert will be at the Kamsack Playhouse April 15.
A cappella music has gone mainstream the last few years, and with the popularity of the Pitch Perfect movies and a variety of a cappella bands such as Pentatonix and Straight No Chaser getting major airplay on the radio, said Nikki Lachambre, president of the Kamsack Arts Council. “We're hoping to attract a lot of younger people to the audience, and to that end we're extending a special $15 ticket price to all students.”
Eh440 (pronounced Ay-four-forty), is an innovative, newly-formed Canadian a cappella vocal group from Toronto which makes music by using only the members’ voices.
Eh440 started harmonizing together in 2012, says the group’s promotional information. “Using just their voices, this Toronto-based a cappella group has wow'd audiences across the USA and Canada, and in 2014 the group released its debut album Turn Me Up.
“But their journey really started over a decade and half ago,” the information said.
“As kids, Janet Turner and Stacey (Kay) Bulmer used to compete against each other in singing contests. The first time they met, Stacey was just eight years old and Janet a little older.
“Over the years they each took their turn winning various contests and even though some competitors took it a little too seriously, they actually cheered on the other and became lifelong friends.
“Luke Stapleton (aka Human Record) started beatboxing as a kid too. Coming from a ‘show biz’ family, Luke would listen to his dad play the drums in their house and recreate the sounds using his only his mouth.
“Mike Celia and Joe Oliva started their musical journeys a little later than the other three. Already into their teens, Mike taught himself to play guitar and sing while Joe joined his high school choir, just for fun, in his final year.
“After coming together through the Toronto Independent Music Awards and mutual musician-friends, Eh440 was born - their first gig was performing the national anthems for the Valentine's Day 2012 Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks NBA game.
“Singing in an arena before 20,000 people? Pretty good first gig!
“So, Eh440 is a mix of five people from five very different backgrounds and musical genres. Joe's been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke's an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey's soul/pop, and if that isn't confusing enough, Mike's even more of a musical chameleon who cites blues, folk, and ‘anything with a good groove’ as his influences.
“Together they form ‘an unforgettable combination of crazy-ass beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions.’”
And their debut album, Turn Me Up, exemplifies their abundant influences, the information said.
Providing lead and backing vocals Mike Celia, who hails from Mississauga, Ont. has, through his solo, career released an EP (Things I've Sold) and a full-length album in 2014 entitled Falling Backwards. He has trained as a chef so Eh440 always makes him cook for rehearsals, it said. He won a Toronto Independent Music Award in 2008 in the Best Blues category.
Luke Stapleton, the beatboxer, is from Toronto. He has performed in commercials for Much Vibe and Much Music, has toured Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Mexico and China and has won the Toronto Independent Music Award in 2008 in the Best Live Urban category.
Performing lead and backing vocals, Janet Turner, from London, Ont., has released a CD previous to joining EH440 and tied for number one on Toronto charts. She’s opened for Jay Leno and says that she has a fear of public speaking.
Also performing lead and backing vocals, Stacey Kay, originally of Cambridge, Ont., released a self-titled EP in 2014 and was a top 30 finalist on Canadian Idol. She performs in various musical theatre productions, including the National Broadway Tour of Godspell in Canada and the USA, and has performed at the 2010 and 2011 ceremonies for Canada's Walk of Fame.
Joe Olivia, performing bass vocals is from London, Ont. He released five CDs previous to joining Eh440 and has two gold records. He sings in the CBS movie A Holiday Romance which airs annually and stars Andy Griffith and Naomi Judd. With Janet Turner he performs background singing for the PBS cartoon Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and has toured extensively in Canada, the US and Europe.