This has to be a quick blog because we have to run back to the venue soon for a photo shoot with Don prior to dinner; forgive the atypical brevity.
OK, I normally only call out fans from our site/Twitter/Facebook/etc. if I can remember their names during the 8 seconds of my personal intro every night onstage, but CHRISTINE MABRY out in California, this one's for you! We owe you, lady.
Here's how SNC was able to meet Claude McKnight, founder of the multi-platinum, Grammy-award winning - some (i.e. us...) may say THE STANDARD in a cappella - ensemble TAKE 6 today at our sound check at the War Memorial Theater in Nashville:
1. I get a message on Twitter from Christine the other day telling me that she's reached out on our behalf to one of the members of Take 6 who she used to swim with in high school (basically to tell him that he should come to our sound check or show),
2. Christine hits me up again on Twitter to let me know that Joey of Take 6 regrettably couldn't make it, but has reached out to his band-mate Claude (he has heard of SNC before and encouraged Claude to meet up with us in his stead),
3. Christine hits me up one last time to tell me that I should reach out to Claude (on Facebook) to get a conversation going, which I did, which eventually led to him texting me today during our sound check to let me know he was "running around Nashville today and am en route to the venue."
No pressure, right? Oh, did I mention that he's Brian McKnight's brother? Yeah, he's Brian McKnight's brother.
We sang on mic and wrapped up our sound check with an off-mic "Wonderwall" for Claude, who offered us some amazing perspective and advice from his 20+ year career in music. Some highlights of our conversation were Walt getting the opportunity to thank Claude for starting Take 6, whose music Walt listened to daily on the drive to school growing up ("You guys are the reason why I started singing a cappella."). He humbly thanked Walt for his words and continued to deflect our praise of his group back onto us, which we then deflected back to him for our remaining time together (a ping-pong match of a cappella-related compliments - ha!).
Walt, Mike, and I drove back to the hotel where we are now and were just blown away with how down-to-earth and cool of a guy Claude was/is. His sagest advice: "The fun you have onstage together will translate more to your audiences than anything else." He went on to say, "We (Take 6) have a challenge sometimes with audiences who may not be used to the dissonant (close-sounding) harmonies that we've become known for. You guys are singing upbeat, feel-good music and I can see why your audiences are entertained by you! Keep doing what you're doing and always continue to respect one another, because it's really hard to keep a group, no matter the size, together in this business for a long time. I look forward to seeing where you guys go with your music."
We're still reeling a bit, but I just think it's so cool how musicians such as Claude (and Barry Manilow) who have had so much success in this industry go back to basics in their wisdom: continue to have a good time with each other onstage and it will translate with your audiences.
On that note, I need to clean up really quick and roll back for the photo shoot. Thanks for stopping by (especially you, Christine Mabry). Claude, if you're reading this: thank you for your music, time, and perspective today! We hope to meet up with you again and the rest of the guys in Take 6 down the road.