The Reach EP
The release of The Reach holds a special meaning for me, but let me provide some back story first. I first began singing in my high school’s choir, which I continued for four years. When I arrived at Wesleyan, I knew I wanted to keep singing but was not quite sure in what forum. A cappella groups were supposedly all the rage. During freshman welcome week, all of the groups held a joint concert to expose us newcomers to the sounds of Wesleyan vocal ensembles. It was fun but nothing extraordinary, until this one girl started singing “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul. That caught my attention. She was an awesome singer, the best I’d heard so far, and she wasn’t too bad to look at either (ok, she was hot). It was at that moment I made up my mind to at least audition for an a cappella group; her group of course.
To say the first week of college is hectic would be a gross understatement. In other words, a cappella slipped to the back of my mind. Early the following week I was reminded about auditions and checked the bulletin board to see what time they were being held. I think it was from 7-9PM. I was planning on playing basketball around 9, so I strolled over to the student center ball in hand. As I finally entered the room to sing “Georgia On My Mind,” I stared over at the singer-judges searching for Paula Abdul girl. Where was she? Was I blind? It was at this moment I realized I was about to audition for the wrong group. Not the boldest of young men, it would have been more uncomfortable for me to share my error with the waiting judges, so I said nothing and auditioned anyway. Then I left, somewhat embarrassed, hoping to shake it off on the basketball court.
Half an hour later, about to start a pick-up game, I received a phone call. “Steve?” Yes, I answered. “We really liked your audition and we’d love you to come back for a callback.” “Right now?” I asked. “I was actually about to play basketball.” She seemed a bit startled that I might pass up such an opportunity for a game of hoops, but reiterated that they would “reallllly like me to come back.” Now I laugh at myself for being so ambivalent about the whole ordeal, since joining the “New Group” was one of the best things I ever did. It was through New Group that I met Josh Smith (formerly Wordsmith), in my sophomore year and as an audition judge this time. Over the next three years I watched Josh mature from a decent singer to easily one of the best on campus. I’d like to think I had something to do with his vocal development, although he never needed any help rapping (not that I could have provided such instruction!).
Josh was starting a hip-hop band and asked me to join and sing back-up vocals for a couple of songs. Hence, Wordsmith and the Concert G’s were born. This year Josh and the current group members recorded an album of original material all created at Wesleyan. I wish I could have been on there, but my replacement Natasha is simply phenomenal. Reach is my favorite song on the EP. Listen to the rest of the album here.