Sunday, August 28, 2016

Video spotlight: Let It Go by Rachel Potter

It occurred to me that it's been way too long since I've written about this talented lady. This sent me looking through her YouTube channel. This reminded me of two things. The first is that she has multiple videos that I'm going to need to write about at some point. The other is how effortlessly she hits her big notes. I mean, I listen to her enough to know that. I've now gotten to see her perform twice and she's even better live. But it seems like it's been awhile since I've watched any of her videos. Hearing it is one thing; watching it is another. She makes it look so easy, like hitting notes on a piano. If you've never heard Rachel, I assure you that you're in for a treat. Those of you have heard her know what I'm talking about.

Here's Rachel with her beautiful cover of "Let It Go" from Frozen.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Video spotlight: Cruella de Vil by VoicePlay

Reasons why this video was a given for this week of villains:
1) It's VoicePlay.
2) As said in my ACA-Disney write-up, VoicePlay singing Disney is magical. 
3) It's VoicePlay.
4) It's one of the most iconic villain songs.
5) It's VoicePlay.
6) It features their cutest guest star to date. Not knocking any of their other guest stars, but I mean, come on. Just look at that face in the thumbnail. How can you not love that face?
7) Come on, again. It's VoicePlay singing Disney and there's a dog in the video. It's a trifecta of goodness! 

Fun fact: dogs make everything better. The video could've been terrible (it isn't), but throw a dog in there and I'll watch it. And if the video is great (it is), a dog'll still make it better. Guaranteed. 

Clearly, I had no choice but to feature this one. It would have been wrong not to. Especially considering that Disney had them do this in honor of the Blu-ray release of 101 Dalmatians. It's on the Disney YouTube channel even. So, if they're good enough for Disney, who am I to argue? 

Besides, let me remind you...
8) It's VoicePlay! 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Video spotlight: Villains Medley by the Aladdin on Broadway - Disney Sessions

This week is all about the villains so it seems rather appropriate to include a villain medley. Not just any villain medley, but one that is performed by the incredible Jonathan Freeman. You know, the voice of Jafar from Aladdin. He's now playing the part in the Broadway show. I'm not going to lie, watching him do this kind of makes me want to hear him take on even more of the villain songs. This medley starts of with the "Prince Ali (Reprise)" from Aladdin, goes into "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid, "Cruella de Vil" from 101 Dalmatians, "Oogie Boogie's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas and then go back to the "Prince Ali (Reprise)".

Though before we get to the video itself, there's something else I'd like for you to watch first. I promise that it's related.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Video spotlight: Poor Unfortunate Souls by Jonathan Young

Okay, we're going to continue the month of Disney and the week of the villains with something, well, a bit different. It's "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid like you've never heard it before. It's not just a regular cover; it's a metal cover. I'm going to be honest and admit that I'm surprised by how much I like this. Talk about a style of music that I really never listen to. I think I first came across Jonathan Young when one of his videos was recommended to me on YouTube. I want to say it was his cover of "In the Dark of the Night" from Anastasia and I actually really liked it. It's a great cover. It's also not Disney or I would've included it. Maybe it'll get its own video spotlight somewhere down the road. But it got me watching some of his other covers. He was an easy choice to include during villains choice. I actually thought I'd pick another of his villain songs, but as soon as I heard this, I knew it had to be this one.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Video spotlight: I Put A Spell On You by ECHO

Pop quiz: what is one of the best ways to find out about new artists? Pay attention to who your favorite ones talk about. I found out about ECHO through Geoff Castellucci of VoicePlay. As it happens, some of the guys from ECHO have filled in for VoicePlay as needed and that already starts them off on the right foot, in my book. Anyway, my point was to always check out the artists that people you like talk about. Always. It might lead you to great acts that you may not have heard about otherwise. So  As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to see if they had any music out and they do. They released a self-titled album earlier this year and it's really good, so definitely check that out and see what you think. They're another a cappella group based out of Orlando - I seem to be developing quite a weakness for those. This aca-addiction is getting more serious all the time, but I'm good with it. ECHO is made up of Bryce Larsen, Antonio Fernandez, E.J. Cardona, Eric Winger, Deejay Young and Dan Reynolds.

Now, if you've been hanging around here this month than you already know that I've declared this to be the month of Disney. Everything I write about this month has, and will, be somehow related to Disney. So far, we've have some of the princess songs, some of the love songs, a medley honoring the Disney musicals  and a few instrumental covers. But you know what we haven't had too much of? The villains, There was a snippet of this song in Todrick Hall's "Evolution of Disney" (write up about that one here), but I think that's been it for the villains and I decided that that had to change. Because there's some great villain songs and some great covers of those songs. And so, I've decided to dedicate a week to the bad guys. I mean, what would a Disney movie be without the villains? Boring, that's what.

So to kick it off, here's ECHO doing their rendition of "I Put A Spell On You" from Hocus Pocus. You're going to like this one.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Video spotlight: Disney Love Medley by Voctave featuring Kirstin Maldonado & Jeremy Michael Lewis

That's it. I seriously need to go back to Orlando at some point. Orlando, Florida is a hotbed for a cappella music. From what I can tell, it's kind of like what Nashville is for country music. It's a treasure trove for harmonies down there. The last time I was in Orlando was during a band/chorus trip as part of the women's choir when I was in high school. Meaning that I haven't been there this millenium. This, my friends, is a problem. I must go back at some point.

I've written a ton about one Orlando based a cappella group, my beloved VoicePlay. Now it's time to write about another: Voctave. As of right now, they only have a few videos on their YouTube channel, but if you've never heard them, I've got you covered. Let's start with a run down of the line up.There's the sopranos - Kate Lott and Tiffany Coburn. Alto/soprano Ashley Espinoza and alto Sarah Whittemore. There's the tenors - E.J. Cardona, Tony de Rosa  (who also serves as their director) and James Ray (their arranger). Last, but certainly not last, there's baritone Kurt von Schmittou and bass JC Fullerton. Their "Disney Love Medley" made the rounds on social media earlier this year and features Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix and her then boyfriend and now fiance Jeremy Michael Lewis. 

Don't ask me how, but I remember seeing people sharing this and yet somehow never watched it until I was prepping for this month of Disney. And I fell in love, which is rather appropriate seeing as how it's the "Disney Love Medley". I'm not exaggerating when I say that this has to be the most beautiful thing I've heard in a while. It's so wonderfully done. I'm very happy to finally be featuring it. So let's get to it. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Video spotlight: You'll Be In My Heart by Peter Hollens and Bryan Lanning

Peter Hollens gives me the exact same problem that his wife does: all of his Disney covers are great, so trying to pick one? So difficult for me. Times when a cloning device would come in handy, I tell you what. That way I could just assign a clone that strictly designed to write about each of them so I could gets posts done for each of them. It would speed up the process, that's for sure. But alas, no cloning device here, just me. I'm still on a mission to write about all of their videos, it's just going to take some time is all.I'm pretty sure I must have changed my mind about 8 times about which of Peter's Disney video I was going to write about next. But as you can see, "You'll Be In My Heart" came out on top.

It's from Tarzan, another underrated Disney movie, in my opinion. Lots of great songs in that one. I mean, Phil Collins was involved, of course the music is good. At the end of the video, you'll see Peter talking about how this was one of his most requested songs. That's one of the things that's so fantastic about Peter. He really does listen to his fans and take our opinions into consideration in regards to choosing which songs he covers. I feel like I've said this about Peter before, but he really makes you feel like you're a part of the process and that's special. I'm so happy that he decided to do this one; he did say that it was one he'd wanted to do for a long time. I love that he made it a duet and Bryan Lanning was a wonderful choice of duet partner. I really like the way their voices sound together. "You'll Be In My Heart"is such a beautiful song and they definitely did it justice.

Check it out.