In the past decade, with the popularity of shows like “The Sing-Off” and hit movies like “Pitch Perfect”, a cappella groups have found their heyday. Once relegated to college campuses, many a cappella groups have also gained momentum with the help of the YouTube era. Musicians are going viral for creative covers, and fans are devouring these videos! If a cappella interests you — or if you simply want to check out some creative tunes — here are five covers to brighten your day (and maybe inspire you to sing your own).
A cappella groups don’t need to be groups at all anymore, with this “Nightmare Before Christmas” cover by Nick Pitera being a perfect example of the “solo group” concept.
Aside from obvious talent and thoughtful arrangements of beloved songs, one way a cappella groups (or solo artists) stand out online is through visual creativity. Heather Traska takes this to the next level in her Mariah Carey-inspired Disney medley, which she filmed over the course of 86 days. Arranging 13 main songs and another 13 “quoted” songs entirely by ear, she recorded herself performing in several different hair and makeup looks, and spent an entire month on editing alone. The result is a visual and aural trip down memory lane for any Disney fan and a worldwide showcase for her talent and creativity.
Best of all, if you like this medley, Part Two is only a click away!
Of course, if you want to sing a cappella, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can actually form your a cappella groups with people you’ve never even met!
That’s exactly what Peter Hollens did for his cover of “Hallelujah”, adding the face and voice of Jackie Evancho. While it would be easy to be intimidated by a song written by Leonard Cohen and famously covered by Jeff Buckley, Peter and Jackie find new meaning in the legendary tune.
This medley charts a course from 11th century Gregorian chants to “Call Me Maybe” with notable stops in each decade of pop music along the way — proving that a cappella groups can be just as comfortable covering Beethoven as they are Freddie Mercury, all within the same four-minute song.
The members of Pentatonix won the third season of “The Sing-Off”, but were dropped by their label shortly afterwards. Undeterred, they started a YouTube channel that is currently the 42nd most-subscribed in all of YouTube.
Not all a cappella groups need to have carefully edited and recorded video presentations! This group gets by on nothing but coordinated outfits, charm, and endearing vocal talent as each member takes a solo in front of a hand-drawn logo on a blackboard.
Uniquely personal with no instruments other than the singers’ own voices, a cappella groups are so much fun to be part of. If you can sing (or want to learn), there are no expensive instruments to buy or rehearsal space to rent. So why not give it a shot? Pick a song and get to singing!
Want more ideas? Check out our roundup of 400+ songs to sing here!