At the risk of permanently shattering the fourth wall of our blog, I must begin this article by confessing how difficult it is to start an article about Bill Hare. Irrevocably influential to a cappella music through his extensive and impressive work, Hare is a true institution in the genre.
Termed the “Dr. Dre of a cappella recording” in Mickey Rapkin’s tell-all tome “Pitch Perfect” (the movie version to be released later this year), Hare is a force to be reckoned with. But if his fame has somehow not preceded him in the eyes of our readers, allow us to offer some history.
Hare has, during his 27-year career, radically revamped the way in which recording a cappella music is done through cutting-edge techniques, a penchant for experimentation and an unparalleled attention to detail.
He has worked with some of the biggest names in the game – professional and scholastic, American and International – including the Swingle Singers, the House Jacks, the Tufts Beelzebubs, Stanford Mixed Company and the Harmonics.
As his professional bio states, he is “the world’s most awarded individual contemporary a cappella producer,” earning two Grammy Awards in 2011 for Classical Crossover Album, more than 50 appearances on the Best of College A cappella series, nearly 150 nominations in the Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards, and 41 albums on the “Picks of the Year” list put out by the Recorded A cappella Review Board.
Looking at all that he has accomplished over the years, it would be easy to simply refer to Hare as a legend, a name defined by accolades, expertise and an extensive list of clients. But one of the truest talents of Hare, and one of his most prolific traits, is that he is not an abstract – he is a man, relatable, affable and extremely open to helping others of all skill levels achieve their personal best in the a cappella world.
It was this drive that inspired Hare to team up with Deke Sharon, another game-changing, driving name in a cappella, to create “Soup To Nuts,” an annual, week-long a cappella recording seminar that has for years helped budding producers develop into studio professionals.
Chris Crawford, president and founder of A Cappella Records, participated in this year’s course, learning the ins and outs of the recording side of the music we release. The work was put into practice by its participants, and now, ACR has released the fruits of the seminar’s labors, “Thinking ‘Bout Something” by Hanson, and “Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons on iTunes.
“Thinking ‘Bout Something” is an infectious neo-classic that borrows its flavor from the swag of days past. A low, plucked bass line, bold brass and a rock lead make it the kind of feel-good single everyone would want to have waiting in their shuffle. But moreover, thanks to Hare’s leadership (along with Sharon), this track represents the best of the best in contemporary a cappella.
Those attending the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival this weekend can catch Bill Hare as part of the “I Make Gold Records” producer panel.