New Recording 47 on local a cappella music, covering Ariana Grande, Olivia Rodrigo and Studio Ghibli

New Recording 47 on local a cappella music, covering Ariana Grande, Olivia Rodrigo and Studio Ghibli

New Recording 47 proves music knows no boundaries.

As an a capella band, they bring something new to the table, and hope to remake local and international songs that Singaporeans adore. In the last few months, the band has had some lineup changes, as well as released new music and performances. 

Hear65 chats with the band to learn more about a capella, performing pop hits, and what’s next.

Hello, New Recording 47! Introduce your band, its history and band members to our readers. 

We are New Recording 47, a five-member a cappella group that has been around for just over four years now. Amanda is our soprano and the project manager of the group. Shaun is our tenor, and he handles the bulk of the visuals such as storyboarding for, planning and editing our music videos, and coordinating our gig/shoot outfits. We’ve had three new members join us at the end of 2021, and just like the former members, all of us take turns arranging the songs in our repertoire! Sherwin is our bass. He is also our solfege prodigy and an amazing producer for our music video shoots. Sreshya is our alto, and she brings the most unique song choices into our repertoire, while also taking our stage presence to the next level. Last but not least, Ryan is our vocal percussionist and baritone, the resident TikTok expert as well as our mix engineer (how does he do it all?).

What has New Recording 47 been up to recently? Are there any projects you are currently working on?

Most recently, we’ve been rehearsing to perform at Amanda’s wedding! Apart from that, we’re also working on our next original song, as well as producing our National Day cover and music video.

How did your band decide to cover Ariana Grande’s ‘The Way’, Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘good 4 u’, and create the wonderful Studio Ghibli medley? How does the band decide what songs to cover?

We wanted to diversify our repertoire by including more pop songs, and we did ‘The Way’ because who doesn’t love Ariana Grande? RIP our good man, Mac. This was a rather technical and tough song to cover, but we decided to take it on because we all love a good challenge.

As part of our branding, we aim to provide a new and fresh take on songs. So, we wanted to step foot into the world of pop-punk and see if we could pull off a song that would normally take a full band to make it rock — this was how ‘good 4 u’ came to be. It’s punk, it’s loud, it’s current… So, why not cover it?

Most of us watched Studio Ghibli films when we were growing up, and as musicians, the one thing that made us fall in love with those movies were Joe Hisaishi’s brilliant compositions. From Spirited Away to Howl’s Moving Castle’s theme, every number is a masterpiece. Sherwin is THE BIGGEST fan and because we couldn’t choose between which songs to cover, Sherwin arranged them all into one beautiful medley.

As much as possible, we make sure the songs we pick diversify our repertoire in terms of language, genre, etc. to always give our listeners that fresh, new sound.

How do you create your music? Tell us more about your creative process, how you arrange music as an a cappella band, and what the recording process is like.

Arranging for five voices is always a challenge because we only have limited resources to design an entire soundscape. We try to fit in “special” moments where we utilize each of our members’ unique skill sets, like Amanda's whistle notes in ‘The Way’, or Shaun's incredibly wide range. We usually record our parts individually at home as we all have our own recording setups, and then we upload it onto the online digital audio workstation BandLab and whoever is mixing the song will retrieve the tracks from there. Our mixes go through many rounds of critique and scrutiny from each of the members where everyone will pick out things that the mix engineer may have missed out along the way!

Your music videos for your ‘The Way’ and ‘good 4 u’ covers are so fun to watch! Tell us more about the experience the band had conceptualizing and filming these videos.

Thank you! The idea behind our music video for ‘good 4 u’ was to portray different high school characters in an after-prom-everyone-parties-together-and-gets-high setting  — Think about the characters from The Breakfast Club and how each one of them are so uniquely different. The aesthetic of the video was very much inspired by Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Sour’ album, which is all about the Y2K era.

For ‘The Way’, we wanted to take on a different approach — one that does not have the storytelling element that we usually incorporate in our work. This concept was inspired by various video music covers that the all-girl group Citizen Queen did, like ‘Killing Me Softly’ and ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’. It’s high impact, and it shows us in a “live” setting where it’s really all about the vibes.

What unique challenges do you think your band faces as a cappella band in the Singapore music scene?

One of the challenges we have is being turned down for performance opportunities because we’re not an instrumental band. The movie Pitch Perfect 3 showcases this situation too, where the mainstream gig market is geared towards instrumental bands, maybe because that’s what more people are used to. However, we’d like to think that at least during the Christmas season, a cappella is the preferred option! 😉

If you had to choose a New Recording 47 track to introduce a listener to the band, which song would it be?

It would be our original, ‘What It Used To Be’, which pays homage to our past and how we have evolved with an ever-changing world. The song illustrates vivid descriptions of the childhood moments we cherish. We want to tell our listeners, “Turn off your notifications for a moment and bask in the now, you’ve earned a short escape from reality.” The lyrics explore the blissful ignorance and simplicity of life before growing up.

What exciting plans does the band have for the future? Do tell us what we can look forward to.

One of the things that you can look forward to (and we are really looking forward to) is us getting our busking license! We don’t really see a cappella groups on the streets of Singapore so we’d like to fill that gap in our souls. We are also looking forward to performing to live audiences and sharing the love of music with everybody.