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"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
The Herald Sun APRIL 9, 2009 - by Cameron Adams
ACAPELLA, NATURALLY ENOUGH
Naturally 7 have a new publicist, Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
Martin heard the American acapella group on UK radio in January and was so impressed by their harmonies and their vocal replication of instrumental sounds, he flew home from Germany to catch their London show.
He took producer Brian Eno and pal Natalie Imbruglia with him.
"We'd heard he was coming, but you never know," Naturally 7 singer Rod Eldridge says.
"Sure enough he's hanging over this upper balcony with Natalie and Brian. It was pretty surprising."
Martin came backstage with his posse to invite Naturally 7 to record with Coldplay; he's a man of action - the next day they joined the chart-topping band, Eno and Imbruglia in a London studio.
"We just jammed and sang," Eldridge says. "Chris wanted us to teach him vocal sounds, he's working on something. He's not there yet but I'm sure he'll come around. There's nothing concrete but we're planning on doing some things together."
The event was a family affair - Martin bringing children Moses and Apple.
"We were improvising, making music, then we went off to have tea and biscuits, so it turned into a real English thing," Eldridge says.
"Natalie and I were talking vocal techniques, she was giving me tips on how to get around nodules on vocal cords. It was a great day. It's so nice to know someone like Chris Martin appreciates what we do. He's taking time out of his interviews to mention us. We're definitely honoured."
Indeed, Martin heaped praise on the band during his recent Herald Sun interview.
"I loved taking Brian, he was knocked out," Martin says. "His favourite thing is singing. And that's what they do. They're incredible."
Michael Buble is another famous fan of Naturally 7. The band are American, but they got their break when seen by a production team based in Switzerland.
"They were the first to understand us," Eldridge says. "They said, 'You guys make acapella cool'. They accepted the idea of a band without instruments. They didn't want to change us. In the States everything has to fit into boxes; we are something different. It's hard to put us into the traditional boxes."
Buble took Naturally 7 around the world on his last tour. In Australia their appeal grew by word of mouth to the extent that copies of their album sold so strongly after each show, their Ready II Fly album hit No.14 on the ARIA charts.
"Once people see us, the word goes out," Eldridge says. "We toured with Buble around the world for more than a year, and that's how it went. We'd play in front of an audience who didn't know who we were. Our mission was to make people stop talking or think, 'I can't go and get a beer until these guys are done'.
"A groundswell started happening. When we started the tour the seats were empty. By the end people had heard about this opening act and were making sure they were there to see us."
The band's live show features their signature tune, a cover of Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight.
However, Eldridge says their new album - due later this year - will feature mainly original tunes in an effort to not be seen as a novelty.
"Very few full acapella albums get mainstream respect," he says. "I can't say it's the mainstream's fault. Sometimes acapella groups are cheesy, they rely on gimmicks or comedy.
"We pride ourselves on being able to create songs. We're not an acapella group, we're a band."