Most music artists rely on a great ensemble of instruments to enrich their performances. But with these following artists, they ditch such a luxury, because their vocalization method is an instrumentation on itself already, and of the highest caliber at that. Which among these following A Capella groups can you declare as the best there is?
The Manhattan Transfer
In 1981, this group made music history by becoming the first to win Grammy awards for both popular and jazz categories in the same year. This is only one of the many great recognitions they attained over the years. Before they were a major hit however, they have also been through downturns that almost made them give up their love for singing. But after some arguments about which artistic directions to take, and after some re-invention of their styles, they became super-successful, with the kind of success that would be envied and imitated by other a capella groups on the next decades after their founding year.
Sub-genre(s): vocal jazz, a cappella, vocalese, swing, pop
Founding year: 1969
If you’re hooked into Glee, you must be familiar already with the latest incarnation of this group. Referred to as “The Bubs”, they are a group of students from Tufts University that performs a variety of musical styles. As they do so, they spread their motto which is simple yet very catchy: “Fun through Song.” Having existed already for a many decades, they have been through lots of lineup changes which could also be lined up along with the many awards they accumulated over the years.
Sub-genre(s): collegiate a cappella
Founding year: 1962
They may often dress like rockers or a typical boyband onstage, but their chosen genre is actually so much more. Recently, they were viewed as having this fondness of country music. But the members themselves declare that they have to be labeled as an all-purpose a cappella group. Because they sing in a wide variety of styles, of which country was only a minor one. Starting as a show group, they toured around the US with an average of 200 shows a year, projecting into the audiences that even if they are far from home, they can still freely sing their hearts out.
Founding year: 2000
Straight No Chaser
Taking advantage of the Christmas season of 2007, they re-published a rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” on Youtube. The video went viral which landed them into a five-album record deal with Atlantic Records. Since then, the group has been synonymous with Christmas albums making them one of the most notable ‘holiday season artists.’ They are a collegiate group, which means members are replaced every now and then. Their name has since been a famous slang among many Americans in requesting a drink, which can be likened to the “shaken, not stirred” of James Bond.
Founding year: 1996
The name of the group clearly suggests that they dig rock music in their performances. But they do not confine themselves within that domain, as they also experiment with other music types as well. Originally, they found their biggest success in Japan during the early 90s. But in the years that followed, they also gained popularity in the US as they have sold almost the same number of albums in both countries. Most people would think of rockers as instrumentalists, but that would surely change once they get to delve into Rockapella.
Sub-genre(s): high-energy pop, rock
Founding year: 1986
This group is not just a group per se, but a musical institution. It is the first of nine a cappella groups from the University of Southern California. Founded in 1996, this award-winning group comprises between 13 and 19 male and female students who arrange and sing songs from multiple genres. The group’s greatest achievement is being the first a cappella group to win four titles in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Very few groups have done that, meaning only very few are in the same level of SoCal VoCals.
Sub-genre(s): pop, rock, jazz
Founding year: 1995
The King’s Singers
The group has always consisted of six singers in total, with their membership changing over the years. While most music artists are just busy with their stage performances and recording sessions, the King’s Singers have also committed themselves to education, often participating in master classes and workshops. As world-class performers, they have an assortment of awards to boast about. This includes a Grammy and an induction to the Gramophone Hall of Fame – one of the most distinguished award giving bodies in the field of choral-oriented achievements.
Sub-genre(s): Classical Pop
Founding year: 1968
They operate under the Performing Arts Management of the university where they belong, but it is a known fact that the group itself was founded by talented students. Not contented with their popularity as a college music group, they used their school’s resident record label and published their craft in to a bigger audience. In 2011, Vocal Point competed as part of season 3 of NBC’s reality TV series, The Sing Off in which their fame is bolstered even more. Members of the group claim that whenever they do their thing, it’s not only about giving honor to their school, but also about expressing their faith and beliefs.
Founding year: 1991
The Real Group
Like most choral groups, this bunch also got assembled in a school. They are from Sweden, and while most international artists often sing only in English, they still show their love for their own language by including Swedish songs in their repertoire. Over the years, they have established a great legacy for their own country as well as among their fellow artists too. They tour and record relentlessly, in addition to the mentoring that they do to other aspiring a capella enthusiasts.
Sub-genre(s): vocal jazz, pop
Founding year: 1984
If you’ve seen Pitch Perfect 2, you may have caught this group in a cameo role. They are named as such due to the suggestion of their leader Scott Hoying. The pentatonic scale, a musical mode with five notes per octave represent the five members of the group, thus the name Pentatonix. Capable of performing a variety of songs that range from the classics to the very modern albeit in a very innovative vocal arrangement, Pentatonix is believed by many analysts to be the best artist yet to ever emerge from the a capella category.
Sub-genre(s): pop, R&B, soul
Founding year: 2011
Who among them should be ranked as No. 1?