A 'MUST-HEAR' SOUND
Eh440, the incredible Toronto-based vocal group has been stunning audiences worldwide since they first hit the stage a few years ago.
With just a beatboxer, bass vocalist, and 3 very different lead singers, this means that they are technically an 'a cappella' group but most people think of them as something very different.
"You forget that there aren't any instruments because they really do sound like a full band!" said one fan. "They sound hip and current. It’s a 'must-hear' sound. And I love that they write their own songs because it makes me feel so connected to them and their lives."
Following the release of their award-winning 2014 debut album, Turn Me Up, Eh440 wanted to step things up to a new level. A level they hadn't yet achieved – the Boss Level !
Boss Level is a phrase that stems from gaming culture and is now starting to creep into the mainstream. In a video game, the final level to win the game (where you encounter & battle the biggest & strongest character - the boss) is called the Boss Level. But now, any ultimate level of achievement where you take on your most formidable foe is the boss level.
When they started preparing for their next album, the band claims that the songs felt very 'top level' so when they wrote Boss Level, naturally that was going to be the title track.
Boss Level's 2016 release has generated some exciting fan reviews too. Some are saying they can't stop playing it on repeat. Others are saying that a particular song has inspired them in some way. So, this latest release is clearly a step in a new direction for Eh440 and they are getting exactly what the album title says 'boss level feedback about a boss level album' and they couldn't be more excited!
THE JOURNEY STARTED OVER
A DECADE AND A HALF AGO
Even though Eh440 started harmonizing together in 2012, their journey really started over a decade and a half ago.
As kids, Janet Turner and Stacey Kay used to compete against each other in country singing contests.
The first time they met, Stacey was just 8 years old and Janet a bit older. Over the years, they each took their turn winning various contests and even though some competitors took it a little too seriously, they cheered each other on and became lifelong friends.
Luke Stapleton (aka the Human Record) started beatboxing as a small child before he even knew that it was "a thing". Coming from a show-biz family, Luke would listen to his dad play the drums in their house and recreate the sounds using only his mouth. He also says that his childhood stutter was gone upon the introduction of beatboxing to his life. "My brain was faster than my mouth", says Luke. If you see him beatbox now, you can see quite clearly, that his mouth has caught up!
Bass singer, Joe Oliva started his musical journey later than most kids who dream of being on stage. In his last year of high school, Joe joined his school choir after the director heard his bass voice barrelling down the school halls and begged him to join. And he hasn't stopped singing since!
In early 2012, Eh440 was born and they got lucky from the start. Most bands' first gig is at a backyard BBQ or birthday party. Eh440's first gig was performing the national anthems for the Valentine's Day 2012 Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks NBA game. Singing in an arena for 20,000 people? Pretty good first gig!
In 2017, the band decided to add to the final piece to the puzzle, Tafari Anthony. Like Luke, Tafari was born into a show-biz family with his mom being a singer as well, and his dad being a dub-poet. At the age of 6, Tafari found himself on stage opening for a major artist in Toronto, so the stage has always been a part of his life. As a solo artist, he's had multiple releases and is looking forward to bringing his talent to a group for the first time.
So, Eh440 is a mix of 5 people from 5 very different backgrounds and musical genres. Joe's been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke's an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey's pop/rap, and Tafari likes soul/pop.
Together they form "an unforgettable combination of crazy beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions".
Their debut album Turn Me Up exemplifies these many influences, and Boss Level, of course, takes their writing and sound to a whole new level, but performing in front of people gives them their greatest joy.
"I thought I was getting an 'a cappella' show but it was much more. I’m still amazed at what they could achieve up there while singing, and they were also so relaxed, personable, and funny while talking." said one local promoter. "Never before have we had so many people emailing and calling the day after a show and insisting that we bring an act back."
The history of Eh440 has been written and the future always remains somewhat uncertain, but doing what they love - writing and recording more music and performing their amazing live shows - is a given!