Batumi TARABUA BEACH CLUB / 21 July 2009
For Naturally 7, the turning point came in the fall of 2007. From quiet success in Europe they have been propelled onto the world stage, performing before morethan a million people.
As the opening act for internationally acclaimed singer Michael Bublé, Naturally 7 were met with standing ovations nightly in Europe, the U.K., Canada, Australia and the U.S!
As 2009 unfolds, the group has hit the ground running. In January they played to a packed house at London’s Pigalle, which included a number of famous faces – Coldplay’s Chris Martin, legendary musician and producer Brian Eno and Natalie Imbruglia. The next day, by invitation the group joined Coldplay and Eno in the studio – the thrill of which could only be matched by their Wall of Sound CD (Universal UK) entering the UK charts in the Top 30! From the UK, Naturally 7 traveled to California, where they performed at the prestigious TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference, receiving a standing ovation.
“Perhaps the most memorable presentation involved Naturally 7, a group of seven musicians who practice something they call “Vocal Play”. It’s hard to describe their act other than saying each of them used their voices in unison to recreate a different musical instrument from drums to brass instruments to guitars. They made beatboxing look like child’s play. Their Wall of Sound song, earned them a standing ovation.” (Daniel Sieberg/CBS News)
The 25th annual conference brings together the most fascinating thinkers and doers in these three disciplines.
While the road ahead looks brilliant – to truly understand Naturally 7’s meteoric rise, one must first look at the whirlwind, that has been, the last 14 months.
2008 was nothing short of remarkable and the highlight reel, one to take note of. In May they made their national U.S. Television debut on Ellen and joined Bublé for a guest appearance on The Today Show. More recently, they opened for Jay Leno in Las Vegas, were guests on Tavis Smiley, performed at NARM, helped celebrate Quincy Jones’ 75th Birthday in Montreux and greeted a hometown crowd at Madison Square Gardens. Following that show, they traveled to London to play the renowned Royal Variety Television show, capping the evening off, by meeting His Royal Highness Prince Charles.
With their rich harmonies, an unbelievable ability to replicate instruments and a stage presence that can be felt in every seat of the house, Naturally 7, the first vocal play group ever, are amazing, charming fans where ever they perform
Today Naturally 7 are Roger Thomas (musical director, arranger, 1st Baritone, Rap), Warren Thomas (percussion, guitar, clarinet, 3rd tenor) Rod Eldridge (1st tenor, scratching, trumpet), Jamal Reed (4th Tenor, electric guitar), Dwight Stewart (2nd baritone), Garfield Buckley (2nd Tenor, Harmonica) and “Hops” Hutton (Bass).
The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers they had come to know over the years from singing around the city. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won the competition, moved onto the nationals and took away two more wins.
Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both.
He remembered as a child, his brother Warren always wanted a drum set but their mother always told him no because it was just too noisy. So Warren learned to make true drum sounds, with different ways of making the kick, toms, snare, cymbals, and other drum sounds, to compensate for not having real drums to play. Roger approached Warren with the idea from their childhood, and asked if he could become the band’s drummer, so to speak, to accompany Naturally 7 on up-tempo songs.
The idea evolved, and the other band members found unique aspects of their own voices to determine which members would BE which instrument. After all, Roger thought, if the human voice truly was an instrument, it should not matter which instrument it needed to be. And for Naturally 7, it really didn’t matter; “VOCAL PLAY” was born. What is the difference between Vocal Play and a cappella? A cappella is defined as singing without instruments. Vocal Play is singing AS instruments, and BECOMING an instrument with the voice.
What makes Naturally 7 special is that every instrument sound that they sing is created from the human voice. There are no actual drums, guitars, horns, flutes, or any other instrument that is heard when listening to them perform; it’s the band members playing each of their vocal instruments.
The band has now recorded four albums – “Non Fiction” the aptly titled “What Is It” which spawned the #1 German hit “Music is the Key”, a duet with German superstar Sarah Connor, “Christmas …It’s A Love Story” and “Ready II Fly”. The latter contains the radio and You Tube hit “Feel It (In the Air Tonight”). Naturally 7’s now famous Paris subway performance of the song, has received over five million hits on You Tube and the number of people discovering the group, adds to that figure daily.
The group is currently working on new material set for release in 2009. Their phenomenal talent coupled with a live show that many consider to be one of the best in the world, has Naturally 7 poised for a brilliant future.