What do you get when you mix together some reworked Top 40 tunes, old classics with new spins and incredible beatboxing skills, all thrown together on the UW campus? Redefined, an a cappella sensation that’s sweeping the nation — or, at least, our campus and various high schools and events across Wisconsin.
Made up completely of non-music majors, Redefined has been entertaining the UW campus with fresh beats and fun takes on popular songs since 2001. They will be performing their fall concert on Saturday at the Memorial Union Theater at 7:30 p.m.
“I think what is really the essence of Redefined is that we take old favorites and put new twists on them, and we always have a lot of surprises,” said UW senior Erica Nelson, who has been involved with Redefined for four years. “It’s always an entertaining show, no matter what.” The show consists of about 18 songs, all sung a cappella, including many popular hits such as Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” The Fray’s “You Found Me” and The Beatles’ “In My Life.”
“[For many songs] people know that song, and people love that song,” Nelson said. “But they haven’t heard it the way we’re going to do it. It’s taking these songs and putting twists on them and giving them the Redefined sound.”
One song sure to be a hit is the popular song “Leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers. The song’s two soloists, Nelson and UW sophomore Niccole Galv?n, provide a warm, intense sound that will surely remind listeners of past heartbreak and nostalgia. The group also succeeds with the Hall and Oates song, “You Make My Dreams Come True,” which represents a cappella at its finest. The song is full of fun, bouncy beats and a melody that will keep you bopping and bobbing right along with the music.
“I just really wanted a way I could keep singing,” Nelson said. “It’s a really exciting thing to be a part of, knowing that we all come together to make this great music, and it’s all because of the work we put into it. It’s a really gratifying experience.”
“We’re 19 really different people, but we all come together to make something amazing,” said UW senior Dan Abel, who has also been involved with Redefined for four years.
The group has many assets, one of which is being the only coed a cappella group on campus. The ladies certainly give Redefined a slight edge.
“The girls are definitely an asset,” Abel said. “By being coed we get a really different sound than the other a cappella groups on campus. We appeal to different audiences.”
The group consists of 19 members, none of whom are actually studying music.
“When I came to college, I really was sort of sick of the choir side of singing,” Abel said. “This really sort of introduces a whole new concept. It’s a great chance to exercise musical interests [for non-music majors].”
The members of Redefined not only perform the songs a cappella, but they arrange them as well.
“As a group, we arrange all of our own music,” Abel said. “You’ve got some songs out there that have just hit the radio. As soon as we hear it, we’re like, ‘This is going to be a huge hit.’ We’ll quick arrange it, learn it and a lot of the ones we showcase at this concert are ones that will draw the Top 40 crowd, even the Ben Folds crowd, the Guster crowd.”
“We do Ingrid Michaelson. We do Regina Spektor. It’s those kind of artists that people know and love and get excited about hearing what it’s going to sound like a cappella,” Nelson agreed.
Also, attending the concert could provide a chance for you to do some good. For the past three years, Redefined has been collecting nonperishable food items for St. Vincent De Paul. Bringing three items will get you a $5 certificate, good for any Redefined merchandise.
Mostly, Redefined provides great music many people are not necessarily accustomed and used to.
“People grow up listening to bands and choirs and whatnot, but they don’t necessarily grow up listening to a cappella,” Abel said. “To some people it’s really fresh and a completely new concept.”
Redefined will perform at the Memorial Union Theater on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $8 for students and faculty and $12 for adults. They can be purchased both online at www.uwredefined.com or in person at the Memorial Union Theater box office.