by: Carly Noel Updated:
PITTSBURGH,None - Committed, the a cappella group that won NBC's "The Sing-Off," talks to WPXI.com's Carly Noel about its debut album, an upcoming tour and the show that will be back on Channel 11 in the fall.
Q. Who are the proud members of Committed?
A. Maurice Staple, Tenor 1, 26 Alain Gervais, Tenor 2, 23 Theron Thomas II Tenor 3, 24 Robert Pressley, Jr., Tenor 4, 23 Dennis Baptiste, Jr., Baritone, 23 Geston Pierre, Bass, 23
Q.Tell me about the group. When was it formed? Where is everyone from?
A.Committed is an a cappella group comprised of six young guys. The group formed in high school as a quartet, in the year 2003 at Forest Lake Academy in Orlando, Fla. Then later it expanded to a sextet in 2005. The group solidified its sound while at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., where we all attended for school. Although Huntsville is Committed's “hometown." Three of the members are originally from Atlanta, and three of us are from Florida. So the group is arguably comprised of “Southern boys."
Q. Who are some of the group’s musical influences?
A. Brian Mcknight, The Hi-Los, Manhattan Transfer, Take 6, Justin Timberlake, Brandy, Boyz II Men, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and Micheal Jackson. Committed collectively has had a wide variety of musical influences growing up, and these various artists have played an integral role in the development of the signature sound of Committed.
Before appearing on season two of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” what kind of music did the group perform? Where did the group perform? Was it always a capella?
A. Before appearing on "The Sing-Off," Committed typically performed inspirational and religious music. Most of our performances took place in churches, at banquets/balls or at weddings. About 90 percent of the time, Committed was singing a cappella; however, due to the fact that five of the six members are instrumentalists, we have incorporated music into some of our performances. But “on paper,” we are an a cappella group. But, we are open to singing with music. We take pride in our versatility, and we truly believe that our opportunities are endless.
Q. How did Committed get on “The Sing-Off?” Were there auditions?
A. Committed auditioned for "The Sing-Off" after a recommendation from one of our mentors, Dr. Cedric Dent, who sings with the Grammy Award winning jazz group Take 6. There were definitely auditions in various major cities in the U.S.; however, Committed sent in a video audition, and a few weeks later we found out that we were one of the groups chosen to be on the show.
Q. I watched your group on “The Sing-Off” and hoped you would win. Committed reminds me a little bit of Boyz II Men, which in my opinion is one of the greatest vocal groups of all time. What was it like performing in front of judge Sean Stockman who was in Boyz II Men? Did he give you some good advice?
A. Oh really? Well your support was/is very much appreciated. To be compared to Boyz II Men is indeed an honor. They are definitely legends in their own right, and they have definitely paved the way for groups like us. To perform in front of Sean Stockman was honestly quite nerve wracking, but when we discovered that he liked us all of our fears vanished. He definitely gave us some advice during the course of the show and after when we were announced as the winner. His advice was simple yet profound. Be true to who you are, always give 110 percent and remember that at the end of the day, you six have shared an experience with each other and with no one else. Cherish the moments, and enjoy every moment of the journey.
Q. Ben Folds and Nicole Scherzinger were the other judges. Ben always had awesome things to say about the group, and you made Nicole cry during the finale. What were they like off camera? Have you kept in touch with them?
A. Off camera, both Ben Folds and Nicole Scherzinger were down to earth, and fun to be around. Ben Folds is a funny guy. He’s arguably one of the coolest nerds in the world. Nicole repeatedly said during the course of the competition that we move her. We were truly humbled by her kind words of advice. She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit. Although we haven’t ran into Nicole Scherzinger since the show, we have tweeted her from time to time. We have had the opportunity to see Ben Folds seeing that he is based out of Nashville, and we aren’t too far from there. We cherish the bonds formed from "The Sing-Off" experience.
Q. What have you been up to since "The Sing-Off?"
A. Since winning "The Sing-Off," we have been traveling, singing and recording. We have made appearances on numerous award shows such as the Stellar Awards, the Dove Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards. We’ve had the opportunity to meet several actors, musicians and celebrities as well.
Q. You’re releasing your debut album with Epic Records in August. Who did you collaborate with for the album?
A. Yes, our album is coming out August 30, and we are very excited about it. We had the privilege of having Ed Boyer and Deke Sharon as the producers of the album. We had the opportunity to sing some original songs composed by Mervyn Warren, David Thomas, and our very own Theron Thomas. We also had the opportunity to work with Warryn Campbell for a song.
Q. You’re so versatile. We’ve heard you sing all types of genres. What kind of sound will the album have?
A. The album will have a variety of sounds ranging from R&B to country to jazz inflected gospel. The Committed sound is actually a combination of these various genres fused into one.
Q. I listened to your single “Break Free.” It’s really good. Congrats! Where can fans buy it?
A. Thanks a lot. Look out for “Break Free” on iTunes soon.
Q. Do you plan on touring after releasing your album?
A. Yes, we definitely will be touring then, and we will begin touring this summer.
Q. Are the members of Committed friends? Hang out when not working? What do you do for fun?
A. Yes, we are definitely friends. When we’re not rehearsing or on the road together, we actually enjoy our time away from each other seeing that we are with each other all of the time. But we enjoy eating good food, hanging out, playing instruments, talking about music and girls, etc.
Q. It was announced that there will be a season three of “The Sing-Off.” Hopefully, you’ll make some guest appearances. What advice can you give the new contestants?
A. Yes, we would love to make an appearance on the third season of "The Sing-Off." The advice we can give to the new contestants is be yourself. Have fun, work hard and enjoy your time on the show. There is so much you can learn from your group and other groups on the show. And remember, at the end of the day, it’s not a competition. Everybody is a winner! Cherish the bonds and friendships you make on the show!