By Tanya Fedak
Everyday People — Stanford’s only hip-hop, R&B, Motown and soul a cappella group — premiered its first completely remote production on Friday, bringing strong harmonies, perfect pitch and talented performers to viewers across the nation despite being unable to gather for an in-person concert.
The performance, prerecorded and arranged before its Friday evening premiere, featured many familiar favorites, such as You & I by John Legend (performed by Will Sallomi ’22); Redemption by Bob Marley (performed by Tomi Sogade ’24); and Who’s Loving You by The Jackson 5 (performed by Anu Ramachandiran ’24). It even included an original song by co-director Kevin Martin ’22 entitled You Don’t Love Me.
However, it began with a message from Martin emphasizing that the group’s music was a product of Black artists and encouraging viewers to take advantage of the resources they had linked alongside the video to continue supporting the Black community.
Everyday People is a group with a rich history. Its 1993 first album, “Shades of Soul,” received an award from the Contemporary A Cappella Society. The group has since released seven critically acclaimed additional albums and one EP. More recently, they performed alongside Wiz Khalifa and Nana Ouyang as backups at the 2017 National Geographic Breakthrough Science Awards.
Since Friday’s premiere, their latest performance has accumulated over 1,500 views, and to no surprise: The diverse song selection showcases each performer’s individual talent and highlights the diversity present in the a cappella group.
Transitioning to a remote performance was not without challenges, however. One obstacle that Martin shared was reorganizing the audition process.
“All of the groups had to reckon with the fact that we wouldn’t be able to evaluate auditionees the way we were used to,” Martin said. “We were also concerned about reaching new students and convincing them that a cappella is still alive and well even though we can’t sing together in person.”
Before the pandemic, the group typically held six hours of rehearsal each week, but the changing circumstances have now limited them to weekly Zoom rehearsals by vocal section during fall quarter alongside one meeting each week with the entire group to address logistics as well as form strong relationships.
Despite missing the adrenaline of performing in-person, co-director Jin-Hee Lee ’23 said that they were required to perform virtually because singing with others, even with masks, is one of the easiest ways to spread COVID-19.
“There’s no way to describe the feeling of standing in a circle with your best friends and making music together,” said Lee, adding that the pandemic has made them discover new ways to keep performing.
“Even though this isn’t what any of us expected when we envisioned our a cappella group,” Lee said, “we stay hopeful and excited for how we can find new ways to do what we love together.”
Contact Tanya Fedak at tfedak03 ‘at’ gmail.com.