Reason #196: Making a Life in A Cappella
Conventional wisdom would suggest that you don’t sing a cappella to make a living. Traditionally speaking, I would argue that the overwhelming majority of a cappella singers have no aspirations beyond success in the ICCAs or CARAs with their college group before they move on, and maybe come back to sing at an alumni weekend reunion show here and there.
But over time, the situation has changed.
So many of us recognize Deke Sharon as the “godfather” of contemporary a cappella, who straight up started or at least contributed to the founding of such institutions as the Contemporary A Cappella Society, Varsity Vocals, and Camp A Cappella, in addition to being a player for the Pitch Perfect franchise, different iterations of The Sing-Off (in the United States and abroad), and dozens of other aca-projects. All that, and he has starred on stage with the wildly talented House Jacks.
Sharon is an exemplar for what it means to make a life in a cappella—building a dedicated career in which few people rival his expertise, you can tell he loves what he’s doing, and by all indications he’s actually making a living in the field. And there are others. Amanda Newman owning and operating Varsity Vocals. The good people at organizations like The Vocal Company and Liquid 5th, making their livelihood recording, mixing, mastering in the studio, not to mention doing live sound work and offering other services to a cappella groups. All of this and I’m not even getting into the increasing number of musicians who actually make a living as a cappella performers.
But whether an individual pays the bills off of a cappella-based money, or simply stays invested in the a cappella world without making a dime, today, we’re seeing more and more people build lives in which a cappella isn’t a memory, but rather an active part of what they do. A cappella isn’t just for kids, and it isn’t a dead end. For more and more people, it’s a way of life.
I love it!