Battle of the Voices with Nick Lachey and Joel Gallen
Award-winning producer, director and screenwriter Joel Gallen and multi-platinum recording artist and former 98 degrees member, Nick Lachey are back with the battle of the voices. When Joel tapped Nick in 2009 to join the Sing Off, he was impressed with Nick’s raw talent, acapella background, charisma and personality. Nick was happy to join as host because of its familiarity.
I had the opportunity to talk with Nick Lachey and Joey Gallen, whose resume is impressive and is as long as the river Nile.
Joey Gallen credits: THE SING OFF (NBC) 2009 and 2010, Hope for Haiti Now (MTV, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) 2010, 25th Anniversary Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2009), CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute (CNN) 2007-2010, Comedy Central Roast of… (Comedy Central) 2005-2010 Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Flavor Flav, Bob Saget, Larry the Cable Guy, Joan Rivers, David Hasselhoff, America’s Best Dance Crew (MTV) 2008 – 2010 (5 Seasons), and others.
_By: Daedrian McNaughton
“The Sing-Off” is a five-night event premiering Monday, December 6 (8-10 p.m. ET), hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, Nick Lachey. The one-of-a-kind battle of voices will continue on December 8, 13 and 15, culminating with a live finale on December 20 (8-10 p.m. ET).
Celebrity judges who will critique the singing groups with their expertise are Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) and Nicole Scherzinger (“The Pussycat Dolls”).
The show will feature the country’s top ten a cappella groups performing popular songs like you’ve never heard them before. There’s no lip-synching, back-up bands or safety net. They’ll be singing for America’s vote with the winner walking away with the ultimate prize – $100,000 and a Sony Music recording contract.
“The Sing-Off” is produced by Joel Gallen’s (“America’s Best Dance Crew”) Tenth Planet Productions, Outlaw Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Joel Gallen, Deb Newmyer and Sam Weisman are executive producers. Josh Greenberg serves as co-executive producer.
The ten groups who are competing this year are:
The Backbeats – Los Angeles, CA
Composed of the best a capella singers from University of Southern California and University of California Los Angeles, the group of twenty-something’s incorporates their disparate styles and tastes into one synthesized sound fused together by their love of Pop, R&B and Soul. Backbeat has a fresh, original approach to popular music with that old school spirit.
Eleventh Hour – Kettering, Ohio
Recognized as one of the nation’s top high school a cappella groups, their studio recordings have been featured on Best of High School A Cappella and have won two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Academy awards. Eleventh Hour has opened for LeAnn Rimes, The Beach Boys and sang backup for Kenny Loggins. Their youth and energy combine with musicianship that is beyond their years.
Pitch Slapped – Boston, Massachusetts.
Founded in 2006, the group of students from Berklee College of Music has won numerous International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella awards, including their recent triumph of 2nd place overall. Pitch Slapped offers a distinctive sound and infectious energy, with a unique grasp on a cappella and have a sense of musicality that is apparent in their arrangements, solos, and overall sound.
Groove For Thought – Seattle, Washington
Since the group’s inception in 1998, Groove For Thought brings their unique brand of jazz and R&B infused tunes to festival, concert, school, and nightclub audiences throughout the United States and abroad. The group won the National Harmony Sweepstakes Championship in 2005 and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Jazz Song in 2006.
Men of Note – Cherry Hill, New Jersey
This all-male group of eight is comprised of Cherry Hill High School West alumni, where the group was first founded. The three-time winners of the Best Of High School A Capella competition, the group has the perfect mix of originality and diversity.
Street Corner Symphony – Nashville, Tennessee
Formed in May of 2010, the group of six contains two sets of siblings. All from the Southeast U.S., the members bring a unique laid back southern soul to the group. Street Corner Symphony offers a diverse repertoire, while maintaining their rich heritage in gospel music.
On The Rocks – Eugene, Oregon
Students at University of Oregon founded the all-male group in 1999. The group has had great viral success with videos featured on various websites, with more than 6.5 million views of their popular rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” On The Rocks is a group that strives to entertain audiences of all ages while maintaining a strong emphasis on musicality.
Committed – Huntsville, Alabama
This all-male group was founded in 2003 by four high school students at Forest Lake Academy. The group stayed together as they progressed to Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama where they continued to perform together. Committed is dedicated to creating unique harmonies with powerful lead vocals, soaring harmonies, and a booming bass line.
Jerry Lawson & Talk of The Town – Oakland, California
Jerry Lawson, a member of The Persuasions for 40 years was joined together with Talk of The Town when they were both hired to perform at a wedding in 2001. The group has since performed with Rod Stewart on the Katrina Benefit, Nickelodeon’s Noggin Network on “Jack’s Big Music Show” and they continue performing at private parties in-between all of their other musical projects.
The Whiffenpoofs of Yale – New Haven, Connecticut
Comprised of 14 senior Yale men, the “Whiffs” were founded in 1909 and are the world’s oldest collegiate a cappella group. What began as a quartet has grown into a group of international acclaim with a world tour that spans three months and features dozens of foreign destinations. Their repertoire incorporates modern hits as well as classics as old as the group itself.
Daedrian McNaughton: Hi Nick. Congrats on your engagement. And what took you so long?
Nick Lachey: All things have their appropriate time. But thank you.
Daedrian McNaughton: Joel, the series is a limited episode series. Will it become a longer series or develop into a regular season?
Joel Gallen: Well certainly that’s the hope. You know, we certainly developed the show to become a weekly show that would, you know be on the air for several weeks. But you know, in a very, very competitive marketplace, you know NBC obviously last December had the idea bringing it in for more of a limited run. And this year they expanded it by one more episode in December.
And you know we wanted to be on NBC. They have been very supportive, and are doing so again this year. So we felt like it was our best home for the show.
And the hope is that after this December — you know thanks to guys on this call right now, getting the word out on the show — hopefully a lot of people will tune in. And then we’ll be back before you know it in a much more expanded, you know, more typical of the music reality competition series, kind of structure.
And it’s really more of a network question than a producer question. I’d like to see it on beyond these five episodes, I’m sure Nick would too. But you know, we’ve got to be patient and build our audience and see what happens.
Daedrian McNaughton: And why have you decided to bring Nick back for the second year?
Joel Gallen: Because he was a great host, of course. And he’s obviously – it goes without – you know he was by far our first choice the first time around. And hopefully he’ll be with us for as many seasons as the show continues.
I mean the guy obviously is a great singer and has a great connection to this kind of singing — you know group singing and harmonies and you know the 98 Degrees. You know just listen to their records; I mean you take those instruments out, they could have been doing a lot of a cappella themselves.
Daedrian McNaughton: And you Nick, why did you decide to join initially?
Nick Lachey: Well I love the idea of the show, the premise of the show you know, as Joel alluded to. You know a cappella was always a real passion for myself and for my group. And I’ve always appreciated the you know, the art form. And it’s great to see it celebrated on national television.
So you know, I – it was a show that certainly I was passionate about. I think I can speak for Shawn and Ben and Nicole, our judges and just say they’re equally passionate about it.
And it’s just great to be a part of something that, you know celebrates real musicians who are out there, you know doing a very, very difficult form of singing and doing it very well. So it’s just, it’s a great show.