Two WUSTL a cappella singing groups have been selected to appear on a new recording by pop music singer and pianist Ben Folds.
The Mosaic Whispers and Amateurs were chosen by Folds after submitting YouTube videos of themselves in an online contest. They were selected from more than 250 a cappella groups from around the country. While groups from 13 universities and one high school will appear on the album, WUSTL is the only school to feature two groups.
The album, “Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella!” goes on sale April 28.
“We’re incredibly excited,” said sophomore Ellen Miller, group coordinator for Mosaic Whispers. “Ben has been great to work with, and we had a ton of fun recording our song with him.”
Miller entered Mosaic Whispers in the competition unbeknownst to the other members. The group already had a video online performing Folds’ “Still Fighting It.” Miller submitted it and later was thrilled to get an e-mail from Folds saying the group had been selected.
The Amateurs had a similar experience. Emily Flanders, alumni coordinator, submitted a 2006 video of the group singing Folds’ song “The Luckiest.”
“Ben actually called me and told me he liked our version so much it was one of the reasons he decided to go through with this project,” said Flanders, a 2007 graduate.
Many of the students who sang on the 2006 video have graduated but came back to WUSTL at Folds’ request to record the song alongside current members of the Amateurs.
Both groups recorded with Folds in December at the University’s 560 Music Building. Miller said Folds was looking for a very raw sound for the recording and used older microphones and equipment.
Folds is best known as the leader of the power pop trio Ben Folds Five but also has a significant career as a solo artist.
“This (album) is not a novelty,” he said on his Web site. “I consider this my new record. I’m incredibly proud of this. If this were Ben World, this would be my greatest hits album.”
The album is available for preorder on Amazon.com.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit VH1’s Save the Music Foundation.