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The Suffolk Journal

Well versed: new a capella group goes soul searching

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Suffolk University has acted as a harbor for forging bonds through their various musical organizations and clubs that have circled through generations of students. Music has always been a way to create lasting connections between people and will continue to do so. With so many possible artistic outlets, it is easy to see the difficulties some people face when trying to get their projects and dreams off of the ground.

For Jo’Lise Grant, it wasn’t difficult.

Founder and President of Suffolk University’s own Soulfully Versed, Grant set out to procure a more soul-oriented sound with an a capella foundation on campus. Instead of just singing songs from the soul genre, Grant wanted to also incorporate a facet of passion that would reverberate through its members, forcing their voices to become one in a capella and truly encapsulate the idea of “singing with soul.”

“I originally started this a cappella group because I, myself, love to sing. But I also wanted there to be another option for people,” said Grant in a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal. “I still support people to start more groups here at Suffolk because it gives people more options and opportunities.”

Created last September, Grant held auditions to start to form the current musical group which is comprised of twelve members with five altos, three sopranos and four tenors, though they are currently on the hunt for a couple of basses.

“It’s amazing what your voice can do. Sometimes it can be challenging but it’s so awesome when it comes together,” said Grant. “You’re literally making music with your voice and it’s the adding different parts and different notes which makes it just amazing. It’s not only just singing soul songs it’s about the songs that we choose and sounding like we have soul.”

Their performances are often part of the Suffolk Performing Arts Office (PAO) shows that are held each semester. In keeping with Grant’s original vision of singing with soul, they have performed a number of pieces such as “We Have Sang Tonight” by Xscape, “If I Ever” by Shai, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and “I’m Yours” by Jason Maraz.

This upcoming year they plan to take their group a step further by holding their own show in which they want to invite other a cappella groups that reside in the Boston area to participate. By doing so, Grant hopes to build a musical community.

Grant recalls that the only real challenges that arose this past year was timing. Sometimes members would come late to rehearsals, however once everyone realized how precious every moment was when it came to rehearsals, the group finally gained its own rhythm, of which Grant hopes to continue on this next year.

They are currently looking for new members and will be accepting anyone who comes to the group, according to Grant. As of now, they are especially on the hunt for some male voices, particularly those with comfortably in the bass range, to even out their sound.

Soul music, which often brings a blues or jazz rhythm to the sound, is a phenomenal way to foster that musical connection, because each member is reliant on not only their voice but ever other voice within the group.

“Sometimes it’s not about having a solo and the group understands that. When our voices come together it’s such a magical feeling and that is what gives us joy,” said Grant.
Soullfully Versed can be found on Instagram as “soulfully_versed” and on Facebook as “Soulfully Versed.” Be sure to look for announcements regarding auditions and performances this coming fall.

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Well versed: new a capella group goes soul searching