The Influence of A Cappella

Guest Columns

Guest author Deborah Tayloe is a professional writer and blogger for Musical Instruments Expert. While she’s an avid a cappella fan, she can’t sing a note and will stick with playing her violin for now.

From on screen media franchises Glee and Pitch Perfect, to sensations like Pentatonix and Home Free, the influence of a cappella on American pop culture is evident everywhere you look. In the era of social media, stardom is only a few clicks away. This gives the truly talented a chance to share their vocal gifts with the world at large.

A cappella fans just can’t seem to get enough! Rightly so. We are thrilled by the angelic harmonies, the fun beat box and amazing vocal percussion. Our iPods are full of covers of hits arranged by our favorite a cappella stars.

A cappella was once pigeonholed to a college campus activity. However, over time, a cappella music's appeal and accessibility have grown. That passion for vocal perfection has created an influence that has sent shock waves into popular culture.  

Consider the following influences. First, a cappella music brings great, old songs back to life for a new generation of listeners to enjoy. Second, a cappella artists can skillfully arrange songs to cross genres and give a fresh, new viewpoint that for new listeners to appreciate.

INFLUENCE 1: OLD SONGS BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE FOR A NEW GENERATION:

More current a cappella groups have begun resurrecting good, old, enjoyable songs from the past. In fact, they have brought old songs back to life for a new generation to enjoy.

Not quite sure what that means?

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” was an Elvis Presley ballad that topped the charts in 1961 and 1962. Our grandparents and parents fell in love to this song. It had a meaningful sentiment and any older person can tell you where they were the first time that they heard this some.

Pentatonix covered this song and published it on YouTube in April 2017...it now has over 9.8 million views in just about 4 months. A whole new generation of music lovers is falling in love to this song due to the newly released version.

INFLUENCE 2: CROSSING GENRES

A cappella music has a way of crossing genres that no other music, in my opinion, does. A country song is arranged to an upbeat, or a rock anthem is slowed down to a ballad. It makes a genre that’s not widely appreciated be understood better by new fans.

In many cases, a person who doesn’t care for a particular genre, such as classic rock, will appreciate a piece of music arranged in an updated  format.

A great example of the most popular song of country superstar Garth Brooks, “Friends In Low Places,” covered in 2016 by Home Free.

Home Free took a classic country drinking song, changed the tempo and pace, and arranged into a reggae-inspired pop sound. With 1.9 million views on YouTube, younger people are hearing the 1990 country hit, many for the first time.

So whether you are an avid a cappella fan or an aspiring artist you can rest assured that a cappella is relevant. It is influencing popular culture with fresh new voice and different points of view. It’s also accessible to all through the power of the internet and social media, giving you space to express your passion through your musical talents.