MAGICALLY FUSE OLD & NEW
INTO A MUST-HEAR SOUND
Eh440, the incredible Toronto-based vocal group has been stunning audiences worldwide since they first hit the stage a few years ago.
With just a beatboxer, bass vocalist, and 3 very different lead singers, this means that they are technically an ‘a cappella’ group but most people think of them as something very different.
“You forget that there aren’t any instruments because they really do sound like a full band!” said one fan. “They sound hip and current. It’s like they magically fuse old and new into a must-hear sound. And I love that they write their own songs because it makes me feel so connected to them as people.”
Following the release of their award-winning 2014 debut release Turn Me Up, Eh440 wanted to step things up to a new level. A level they hadn’t yet achieved – the boss level!
Boss Level is a phrase that stems from gaming culture and is now starting to creep into the mainstream. In a video game, the final level to win the game (where you encounter & battle the biggest & strongest character – the boss) is called the Boss Level. But now, any ultimate level of achievement where you take on your most formidable foe is the boss level.
When they started writing songs for their next album, the band claims that the songs felt very ‘top level’ so when they wrote Boss Level, naturally that was going to be the title track.
Boss Level’s September 2016 release has generated some exciting fan reviews too. Some are saying they can’t stop playing it on repeat. Others are saying that a particular song has inspired them in some way. So this latest release is clearly a step in a new direction for Eh440 and they are getting exactly what the album title says ‘boss level feedback about a boss level album’ and they couldn’t be more excited!
THE JOURNEY STARTED OVER
A DECADE AND A HALF AGO
Eh440 started harmonizing together in 2012.
But their journey really started over a decade and a half ago.
As kids, Janet Turner and Stacey Kay used to compete against each other in singing contests.
The first time they met, Stacey was just 8 years old and Janet a little older. Over the years they each took their turn winning various contests and even though some competitors took it a little too seriously, they actually cheered on the other and became lifelong friends.
While on a North American Broadway Tour for Godspell a while ago, Stacey thought she heard a voice from the heavens. Was it Jesus?! Well, Jake Stern was playing the role of Jesus in the production!
Years later, Stacey approached Jake about joining Eh440 and the fit was perfect. Jake had been performing professionally in theatres, film, and TV since he was in high school, so the opportunity to travel the world while sharing his talents is a dream come true for him.
Luke Stapleton (aka the Human Record) started beatboxing as a small child. Coming from a “show biz family”, Luke would listen to his dad play the drums in their house and recreate the sounds using only his mouth. He also maintains that his childhood stutter was gone upon the introduction of music to his life. “My brain was faster than my mouth“, says Luke. If you see him beatbox now, you can see quite clearly, that his mouth has caught up!
Joe Oliva started his musical journey later than most kids who dream of being on stage. In his last year of high school, Joe joined his school choir after the director heard his bass voice barrelling down the school halls and begged him to join. And he hasn’t stopped singing since.
So in early 2012, Eh440 was born and they got lucky from the start. Most bands’ first gig is at a backyard BBQ or wedding. Eh440’s first gig was performing the national anthems for the Valentine’s Day 2012 Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks NBA game. Singing in an arena for 20,000 people? Pretty good first gig!
So, Eh440 is a mix of 5 people from 5 very different backgrounds and musical genres. Joe’s been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke’s an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey’s soul/rap/pop, and Jake likes contemporary vocal/pop music.
Together they form “an unforgettable combination of crazy beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions”.
Their debut album Turn Me Up exemplifies these many influences, and Boss Level, of course, takes their writing and sound to a whole new level, but performing in front of people gives them their greatest joy.
“I thought I was getting an ‘a cappella’ show but it was much more. I’m still amazed at what they could achieve up there while singing, and they were also so relaxed, personable, and funny while talking.” said one local promoter. “Never before have we had so many people emailing and calling the day after a show and insisting that we bring an act back.”
So the history of Eh440 has been written and the future always remains somewhat uncertain, but doing what they love – writing and recording more music and performing their amazing live shows – is a given!