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” (2000) the aptly titled “What Is It” (2003), “Christmas …It’s A Love Story” (2004) and “Ready II Fly” (2006). The latter contains the YouTube-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 YouTube and the number of people discovering the group, adds to that figure daily. The song turned into a Top 3-chart-success in France, Belgium and South Africa and made the single charts in other European countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal.
In January 2009, the group released a special album, ‘Wall Of Sound’ exclusively for the UK and Ireland, to commemorate their participation at the ‘Royal Variety Performance’. The album contained known material from previous albums, as well as 5 brand-new tracks and entered the British Album-Charts in the first week after release at #29.
More recently they appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, performing “Stardust” with Michael Bublé. In November 09, the group travelled to Bermuda, taking part in Quincy Jones’ 2009 Bermuda Music Festival performing before an enthusiastic crowd! re. Quincy: since their stunning performance for Quincy’s 75th birthday at the Montreux-Jazz-Festival, where they have been performing for the last 3 consecutive years, ‘Q’ tells the world, what he thinks of Naturally 7: ‘“Naturally 7 is poised to take a cappella to the next level! They’re some of my favorite singers.”
Before that, though, they will be performing shows in January in NY (BB King’s), in Switzerland (Berne, Zurich and Lausanne) and will be guests at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. March 2010 has them returning as Special Guests on Bublé’s ‘Crazy Love’-Tour around the World!
In March of 2010, Naturally 7 released a new CD, entitled ‘VocalPlay’. The package will contain 14 new songs plus a 110-minute- DVD, which features excerpts from their ‘Madison Square Garden’-performance, original interviews and other exclusive footage as well as some of their videos. The CD will feature duets with Grammy-Winner Michael Buble (‘Relax Max’) and German Superstar Xavier Naidoo (‘Wild vor Wut’) .
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.
Official Website: http://www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artist/show/1279
Added by Yoshis on April 23, 2010