By Brooke Schultz
While others were taking the time to relax over Fall Break, WACappella was traveling to North Carolina, spending two long days in a recording studio.
Working Friday and Saturday, the group of 17 sang from 9 a.m. to about 7.p.m. recording covers for their brand new EP, slated for a mid-to-late February release.
“There will be four songs on the EP,” Co-President and senior Ryan Stevens said. “All were covers but unique arrangements, three of which were done by members of the group.”
Three of the four songs were taken from WACappella’s Winter Concert setlist because they felt like a good fit for the EP, according to Stevens. The songs include “Make You Feel My Love” as covered by Adele, “This is Gospel” by Panic! at the Disco, “La La Latch” by Pentatonix, and “I Want You Back,” as covered by Lake Street Dive.
WACappella recorded the EP in sections, starting with basses, then the tenors, altos, sopranos, then soloists, and finishing with vocal percussion (beatboxer).
Senior Megan Harrison described the recording process as slow and tedious work but a rewarding experience. “To be honest, the recording process is exhausting. Overall, it was a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m really glad to have had the opportunity,” she said.
She explained the long 10-hour days and the micro-managing that was required to make the songs sound perfect. “Even the smallest mistakes had to be corrected. Every voice had to match up in terms of timing, breathing, and syllable pronunciation. You can imagine how difficult it is to achieve that kind of uniformity,” she said.
Harrison was one of the soloists who got to go back and lay down the final version of her solo. “I felt like I was living the dream when I got to record and hear my voice play back,” she said.
Junior Alex Roberts joined WACappella during his sophomore year as the beatboxer. While in the studio, he just listened to all the other parts and beatboxed accordingly. “It was extremely fun,” he said. “Being in a real studio and being in front of a professional mic with professional headphones was a great feeling.”
Senior Josh Morgan joined WACappella last year, and enjoyed getting to hang out with the other vocalists. “I’m not interested in pursuing music as a profession or anything, but I have really enjoyed my time singing with WACappella. Overall the trip was great. I think that the whole experience gave us a great opportunity to come together as a group and make some awesome memories,” he said.
The opportunity to work in the studio came from Liquid 5th Productions in Durham, N.C., who reached out to WACappella last year with an interest in recording with the group, possibly after viewing the group’s music videos on YouTube.
Stevens has been a part of WACappella since his freshman year and enjoyed making the music videos. “The music videos that we did the past two years were amazing tools of exposure for us and really helped get us moving in the right direction as a group. Since WACappella is still fairly new, we are always trying to do things that haven’t been done before, so the EP was the next logical step for our growth.”
Harrison explained that the two music videos WACappella has released were commissioned by WC as a way to promote the school to prospective students.
“The EP project differs in that it’s a way for us to advertise WACappella and, hopefully, make a name for ourselves outside of this campus, as other university a cappella groups are doing all throughout the country,” she said. “The EP also presented new challenges and experiences for us, and as a growing group, we’re always looking to raise the bar.”
Beyond the EP, the group has been busy. Earlier in the semester, WACappella recorded a video and submitted it to Macy’s All School A Cappella Challenge. While they were in North Carolina in the studio, they also recorded a music video for “‘La La Latch’ in the same vein as the Chandelier video by Twisted Measure,” Stevens said.
“This project was challenging and stressful, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end,” Harrison said. “The final product is going to be straight fire, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”