The University of Wisconsin’s student-run a cappella group, Redefined, showcased its talent at its CD release show this past weekend. Performing a phenomenal 16 songs, Redefined captivated the audience with its large repertoire. The co-ed group, made up of all non-music majors, premiered four new songs as well as performed some old favorites. Their music director, Kelly Nelson, said, “We always try to pick songs that will appeal to everyone in our audience.” With this in mind, Redefined’s show included all different types of music, singing, among other things, “Some Nights” by Fun., Matchbox Twenty’s 1998 hit “3 AM” and “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. They engaged the audience with a raffle drawing during intermission, a dance-off and a special performance by the group’s beat-boxer. The group also included a few Christmas songs, which is something that they haven’t done much of in the past, according to the group’s publicity manager, Connor Smith.
Redefined’s show was made more enjoyable because they put their unique spin on the music. The sounds that resonated when everyone’s voices were put together were truly unbelievable, sounding very similar to the actual beat of the original versions. The production of the concert was fantastic and organized well also, with School of Bhangra and Surma Dance opening for them to grab attention right away. The collaborations of certain songs seemed to be chosen well, with the crowd responding particularly well to “Fast Car” performed by Sarah Winter and Sam Fleischman. The introductions to each song, usually told with a story, were a nice touch to make the audience connect better with the group as a whole.
As for Redefined’s new CD, Inside Out, is the group’s sixth studio album since it originated in 2001. However, this album is different from the rest because it was completely produced by Dieter Schaaf, former beat-boxer for Redefined, rather than an outside producer. When discussing the inspiration for the album, Nelson made note of showcasing everyone’s talent instead of just a few members. Redefined’s CDs can be bought through any member and will be available on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora by the end of Christmas break.
The album proves a worthwhile listen. Redefined consists of 16 talented singers, all with different tones and abilities and Inside Out does a great job of displaying this. The older songs such as “Hey Ya” and “Say My Name” were as fun to listen to as the newer songs because the members’ unique voices give them a fresh sound. A standout track on the album is “Poison and Wine” sung by Alec Hoge and Katie Berndt. Originally a country song, this duo changed up the tone of the song but ended up with a result just as powerful.
According to Nelson and Smith, Redefined has been hard at work and has no plans of changing that for the future. Practicing six hours each week and planning quite a few road trips to keep performing, their biggest goal is to have a great Spring Show, which will be held May 10 at the Overture Center. This group has an interesting dynamic; spending so much time together, they say they have become a big family. “We’re not just a group of students who sing together,” Smith said. Their amazing talent and connection to one another makes both watching them in concert and listening to their album a thoroughly enjoyable experience.