Street Corner Symphony is a contemporary a cappella group based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They formed in May 2010 to compete in NBC’s all-vocal competition, The Sing-Off. They became internationally known in 2010 when they earned runners-up on the show’s second season. Since their success on The Sing-Off, Street Corner Symphony has made their mark on the music world, recording albums, providing clinics for schools, giving benefits for cancer, performing across the country and around the world, and even working with major artists including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6’s Claude McKnight.
Their latest album, Southern Autumn Nostalgia, was released July 16, 2013, and we caught up with one of the members, Jeremy Lister, in the midst of their latest tour to chat about the album and their favorite parts about touring. Check out the interview below!
What was the process like recording your latest record?
It was a lot of fun! We worked with Grammy-award winning producers, Bill Hare and Deke Sharon, who have both worked on big name records in the a cappella community. We went out to the west coast, outside of San Jose in California, and it was really nice. We were up in the foothills of the mountains. We had two different rooms: our main recording room and a little workshop upstairs. We spent about twelve hours a day being silly and drinking a lot of coffee (and a lot of beer).
How did you decide to make the move to original material?
Before Street Corner Symphony was even a group we all had individual projects that we worked on. We were all writers. I personally had several solo albums that were released, all original songs, as did most of the group. A large part of the a cappella community chooses to do their cover version of other people’s songs. Because we have such a big surplus of original material we thought it would be nice to share it with the world just using our voices.
Do you have a preferred method of songwriting?
We all have our own different styles. Personally, it really depends. Sometimes I’m inspired by something lyrically and I’ll start jotting things down. Honestly, it usually starts with a melody for me and I’ll just let my subconscious do the work after that.
How has your sound evolved since your time on NBC’s “The Sing Off”?
We’ve grown. We formed strictly for the TV show. Some of us didn’t even know each other before the show. We all realized that we had good voices that blended well together. It made sense, not only to sing together but to arrive together as well and get to know each other. We’ve gotten a lot more depth in musicality and in our friendships.
A cappella really thrives in a live setting. What is your favorite part about performing for a live audience?
For me I think it’s the way you feed upon each other. The energy from an audience who really appreciates what you’re doing makes you that much better of a performer.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
We all have a beer together [laughing]. We also try to huddle up, sing a random note, and see if it happens to blend. Usually we can tell from that if we’re going to have a good or bad show.
Do you have any favorite venues/shows you’ve played?
Actually just a couple of weeks ago we played in Kettering, Ohio, at a place called Frey’s Pavilion. We had a really great show there. We had a large crowd, about 3,500 people, come out and they really seemed to love a cappella music. So that’s a recent show we really loved. But we just love to travel and go all over the place.
So you’ve worked with some heavy hitters like Ben Folds and Allison Kraus, who are some of your dream collaborators?
Well I think those two are definitely on our bucket list. We’re all big fans of Ben and Allison. For me personally? Paul McCartney. I would be stoked beyond belief to be able to work with him. Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, a lot of the classics.
Get your tickets to see this incredibly talented group perform when they come to Eddie’s Attic on Thursday, August 28!