This 4 night event features a battle of voices, culminating with a live finale on December 21. The show will feature the country's top 8 a cappella groups performing popular songs in a way that viewers never heard them before. There's no lip-synching, back-up bands or safety net. They'll be singing for America's vote with the winner walking away with an Epic Records/Sony Music recording contract.
Widely known for his prowess as a pianist, Ben Folds began his career in music as a drummer, and he is ...
Widely known for his prowess as a pianist, Ben Folds began his career in music as a drummer, and he is also adept at guitar and bass. Ben is best known as a solo artist and as the front-man and pianist of Ben Folds Five, celebrated for a wholly unique compositional style and playing technique, combining elements of the singer/songwriter genre, jazz, and power rock. Indeed, Ben Folds' music is evocative of artists such as Joe Jackson and Sir Elton John, with an added edge and bold infusion of energy and wit.
Whereas most alternative bands of the '90s specialized in distorted teen-angst rock, the guitar-less trio Ben Folds Five was a refreshing break from the norm. In addition to Folds on piano and vocals, the group also included a bassist and a drummer and the outfit's sound was more akin to power popsters, but like punk bands, Ben Folds Five put on a high energy, blistering live show, turning the band into a must-see live act. The band was signed to an independent record label, resulting in their self-titled debut one year later. Quite a buzz was stirring for the band by the time of their second album, which was issued through Epic. Released in 1997, "Whatever and Ever Amen" was pure pop perfection, and included the ballad "Brick," which broke the band commercially.
While 1998 didn't see a new studio album by the band, Ben Folds Five's former label issued a 16-track rarities collection (Naked Baby Photos) as Folds released his first solo album, "Volume 1," under the pseudonym "Fear of Pop." Ben Folds Five regrouped with 1999's "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner," which was a more mature work than its predecessors, although the energetic lead-off single, "Army," showed that Folds' humorous approach hadn't dulled at all.
Due to artistic differences, Ben Folds Five broke up in 2000, and the first Ben Folds solo album, "Rockin' the Suburbs," was released in 2001, with Ben playing most of the instruments himself. The album went on to sell more than half a million units worldwide. A year later he released a live album, the aptly titled "Ben Folds Live" and in 2005, his critically acclaimed solo album "Songs for Silverman" was released, which featured the Adult Top 40 hit "Landed." In 2006, Ben released "supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp" -- a compilation of tracks from Internet-only EPs, B-sides, one song from "Over the Hedge," and his seminal crowd favorite -- an inspired cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't S***" -- a bonafide hit that climbed to No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the No. 1 most-downloaded song in Europe in early 2007. "It's my biggest hit," jokes Folds.
2008 saw the release of Ben's next solo studio album, "Way to Normal," featuring the hit duet with Regina Spektor, "You Don't Know Me." In early 2009, he remixed and re-mastered the tracks, and together with a disc of stems to the songs so fans could do their own remixes, he put out the double disc "Stems and Seeds." He followed that up later that spring with a collection of his songs sung a cappella. This record, "Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella!" features 13 university a cappella groups from across the United States as well as one high school group. Not to be outdone by the undergraduates, Folds recorded two of his own a cappella tracks: instrument-free versions of "Effington" (from his 2008 album "Way to Normal") and "Boxing," which originally appeared on the 1995 self-titled "Ben Folds Five" album.
Consistently touring, Ben Folds has earned a reputation for his wit, musicality and charismatic, energetic live shows and also for being a leader in youth-oriented worlds of developing technologies and trends. Ben was one of the earliest supporters of iTunes and received much attention for being one of the first artists to support and participate in Second Life, an internet-based virtual world. In 2009 Apple unveiled their new GarageBand Lessons series and included Ben Folds in their initial round of artist lessons. He has been an early supporter of MySpace as well, being tapped in 2006 as their first artist to perform a live performance webcast on the portal (Ben Folds Live at MySpace), and then again in 2008 for their then-brand-new "Front to Back" program, for which a seminal and influential artist performs his/her own classic album live in the album's original sequence in front of an audience. For this event and taping, Ben Folds reunited Ben Folds Five and performed their last album together, "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner," in their home state of North Carolina.
Ben Folds is currently recording his much-anticipated album with author Nick Hornby, which will release in 2010.
Judge - Ben Folds Photos
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