Raise a glass to a cappella sensation
Straight No Chaser
Vocal group began at IU and now tours the U.S.
December 5, 2019
A cappella group sensation Straight No Chaser has been entertaining crowds for 12 years and isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Straight No Chaser returns to the Embassy Theatre Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. with their Open Bar tour.
In the late ’90s, a group of Indiana University undergraduate students formed the now award-winning group at the university.
“We always joke that we got together to sing for girls,” group member Randy Stine said in an interview with Whatzup.
Several years later, in 2007, a YouTube video of the group singing “The 12 Days of Christmas” at a 1998 performance went viral. Following the success of that video, the CEO of Atlantic Records called Stine asking for the group to get back together, record, and tour.
The group members were all working “regular jobs,” as Stine put it, when the call came in to start back up with Straight No Chaser. They uprooted their lives and made the transition to pursue their music careers.
“Now, we’ve been doing it for 12 years, so the whole thing has been a dream come true story,” Stine said. “We won the lottery as far as getting to have a new chance at music.”
All of the original members remain in the group today.
“We’ve all grown together,” Stine said. “We’re all married and have kids, and we’ve all been lucky enough to go through all of that together.”
Stine said the members have the same priorities when it comes to work and family life balance.
“We’re all kind of on the same page with that, in the sense that everyone has a priority to make sure we all get enough family time at home, while doing this as a career and making enough money to support our families,” Stine said.
Straight No Chaser has a wide repertoire of songs all chosen in-house by the members.
“It varies because we have nine different guys, nine different tastes, and nine different histories,” Stine said. “We tend to stick to songs that are more classic, whether they’re a new or old classic.”
The group performs a healthy mix of songs, covering anywhere from R&B to ’80s hair band music.
Their latest Open Bar EP features songs the group feels are often played in bars. Songs on this album include “Tequila,” “All Star,” and more.
“The songs are good times kind of songs,” Stine said. “One of my favorites right now is ‘Closing Time.’”
Looking forward to the Fort
After Thanksgiving, the group switches to full-on holiday mode. Their Fort Wayne concert will be a mix of holiday music and current songs.
Straight No Chaser has been to the Embassy Theatre many times before, and Stine said they always have a great time in Fort Wayne. The group looks forward to this show each tour.
“Even if it’s a random Tuesday night, Fort Wayne is always rowdy, and is always one of our most reliable audiences,” Stine said. “We know the show is going to be fun.”
A week before they head to Fort Wayne, Straight No Chaser will be performing at the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting on Dec. 4. Looking forward, spring tour dates are already lined up for the group.
For Stine, one of the biggest positives from this experience is seeing how their music can affect people.
“You can see how music itself can change someone’s day, week, or entire perspective on their season, and get people turned around from a place where they’re feeling down,” Stine said.
Music can change people’s moods and so much more, according to Stine.
“I also think music is something that can make you realize you are not alone in the way you feel,” Stine said. “You hear a song, and you realize everyone goes through what this person is singing about.”
Creating a label
One of Stine’s favorite things about performing live is having a connection with the audience. For him, the post-show autograph signing is most special.
“Getting to talk to some fans and hearing what they have to say about our show or what turned us on to them in the first place is probably the most engaging for us,” Stine said. “Knowing that we made a difference in someone’s day, there’s a lot of positivity in that.”
Stine said the group’s future is very bright. Recently, Straight No Chaser has formed their own label imprint, SNC Records, in partnership with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division. SNC Records will focus on holiday music and artists with unique vocal stylings.
“With this new label project, we hope to be bringing new music that’s not just our own to our fans as well,” Stine said.