The vocalists of Naturally 7 don’t need a band for backup – they create their own instruments using only their voices.
“Seven of us get on stage, with seven microphones, and we become the band,” says musical director Roger Thomas, who also serves as first baritone and rapper.
The group will open for Michael Buble on Wednesday at the Spokane Arena.
Thomas formed the band in New York City in 1999. He first started a traditional a cappella group, but wanted to find something that would make the group stand out.
“We wanted to be a little bit different,” he says. “Most people, when we get on the stage, it takes about two songs for them to figure out what’s going on. It’s great to see the transformation take place.”
Thomas’ brother, Warren, learned to make drum sounds after their mother told him he couldn’t have a drum set because it was too noisy. That sparked the idea to have the group create the instruments with their voices.
“We found that each guy had this uncanny ability to imitate something,” Thomas says. “Someone could be a DJ, a guitar, a brass section. Most of us don’t actually play the instruments that we imitate.”
In addition to percussion, Warren Thomas also does guitar and clarinet and is third tenor.
Other members include Rod Eldridge, first tenor, scratching and trumpet; Napoleon “Polo” Cummings, fourth tenor and guitar; Dwight Stewart, second baritone, vocals and trumpet; Garfield Buckley, second tenor and harmonica; and “Hops” Hutton, bass.
They’ve performed around the world, opened for Jay Leno in Las Vegas and appeared on television on “The View,” “Ellen” and “The Today Show.”
This is their second stint touring with Buble, who appears on the group’s latest album, “Vocal Play.”
Their act complements the Canadian singer’s signature voice, Thomas says, making their performance “a night to celebrate what vocals can do.”
“It’s a really nice marriage,” he says.
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