The Kennedy Center

Naturally 7



Biography

To call Naturally 7 an a cappella group would be a gross understatement, for they performed songs with trumpets, electric guitars, bass cello, harmonica, a full drum kit, and more – using only their voices. With their phenomenal talent, and a live show that many consider to be one of the best in the world, this troop of seven regularly delivers a jaw-dropping vocal symposium striking like an optical illusion, only aural.

The origins of Naturally 7 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 while singing around the city over the years. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups, 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, advanced onto the Nationals and took home two more prizes. Riding the wave of 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.

As a child, Roger and his brother Warren always wanted a drum set, but their mother always denied them on account of the noise. Never deterred, Warren learned to imitate the drums sounds utilizing a different instrument to match the kick, toms, snare, cymbals, and other percussive sounds. Roger approached Warren with the idea from their childhood, and asked if he could become the band’s drummer, so to speak, and 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 is an instrument, it shouldn’t matter how unconventional the sound, so long as it sounds true. 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 using the voice as a way of becoming an instrument.

What makes Naturally 7 special is 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 group has recorded a number of albums’s over the years – Non Fiction (2000) the aptly titled What Is It (2003), Christmas… It’s A Love Story (2004) and Ready II Fly (2006). The latter features the YouTube sensation, “Feel It (In the Air Tonight).” Naturally 7’s now famous Parisian subway performance of the song, has received over four-and-a-half-million hits on YouTube alone 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.

They have 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. February of 2010 saw Naturally 7 spend three weeks in Vancouver as performance guests during the Olympic Winter Games and in March they returned as Special Guests on Bublé’s ‘Crazy Love’ worldwide tour.

Naturally 7’s latest CD/DVD VocalPlay, contains self-penned originals such as “SOS (Anybody Out There),” power ballad “If You Love Me”, the Motown-influenced “Ready or Not”, the Latin 768 and a duet with Michael Bublé on the Dinah Washington classic, “Relax Max”. The bonus DVD includes HD Live material from their Madison Square Garden performance, extensive interviews with each group member as well as their video clips.

In the fall of 2010, Naturally 7 along with Ludacris were featured on the title track of Quincy Jones’ newest album – Soul Bossa Nostra. The feature led to a performance on The View in November. They continue to tour the world with Michael Bublé, receiving standing ovations nightly and rave reviews.

As 2011 unfolds, Naturally 7 will have toured Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. In February they performed at the BET Honors, receiving a standing ovation for “Rockit” their Herbie Hancock tribute song and the group will make a return appearance at the Playboy Jazz Festival taking place at the Hollywood Bowl this June.
  Naturally 7