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April 13, 2004

The Nation (Thailand)

The applause rang out loud and clear as The Gospellers – Japan’s popular a cappella vocal quintet – were presented with the [V] I P award at Channel [V] Thailand Music Video Awards III last Wednesday at the Thailand Cultural Centre. Not that it was entirely unexpected. After all the [V] I P award is given to an artist (or artists) for their experience and continuous development of sound and ability throughout their music career. The Gospellers fit that description perfectly.

At the award-presentation event, the five Japanese vocalists showcased two songs, “Shin Osaka” from the latest album, followed by a cover of Joe Thomas’ “No One Else Comes Close.”The next morning, The Gospellers hold a press conference before spending the afternoon signing autographs for eager fans at Siam Square. In the evening, they dined on Thai food – and tried out the curries – at Kin Lom Chom Sapan restaurant.

“They’re really nice guys,” comments an official from Sony Music. “They even went onstage at the restaurant and sang foreign covers.” The Gospellers, who paved the way for the popular revival of a cappella music in Japan, have contributed to the scene thanks to their outstanding talent for song writing. Their rich harmonies have also served to expose their music to a more mainstream audience.

The Gospellers date back to 1991, when a few guys belonging to the a cappella club of Waseda University decided to get together. Changes in membership followed and in 1994 they signed with Ki/oon Records (Sony Music Records). Their first self-titled album was released the following year. Since then, they haven’t stopped recording. “Nimaime” was released in 1996, “Mo’ Bear” in 1997, “Vol 4” in 1998, “Five Keys” in 1999 and “Soul Serenade” in 2000.

That same year The Gospellers surprised Japanese fans by coming up with a single entitled “Towani”, on which they collaborated with up-and-coming producer Bryan Michael Cox (Mariah Carey, Jagged Edge, etc). “Towani”, a combination of Japanese-style melody and American arrangement received heavy airplay on radio stations throughout Japan. Also, the “Soul Serenade” album was highly anticipated and well received, staying on Japanese charts for several weeks. Continuing with successful releases, their single “Hitori”, a song featuring their a cappella sound, also had good chart action. “Love Notes”, released in 2001, is a compilation from their back catalogues. With more than 1.8 million copies sold, it offers proof that their music has been widely accepted. “Love Notes” was distributed throughout Asia and was Thailand’s first introduction to the band.

In 2002, they came out with “Frenzy” and unleashed a series of hot hits, among them “Kokuhaku”, “Hitori”, “Yakusokuno Kisetsu”, “Chikai” and “Get Me On”. Many of the numbers were produced in collaboration with US producers Teddy Bishop and Bryan-Michael Cox. “Escort” is their brand-new single and is included on the 2002 Fifa World Cup TM Korea/Japan Album “Songs of Korea/Japan”. Their eighth album, “A Cappella”, was also released the same year. More

Posted by acapnews at April 13, 2004 8:16 AM

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