Roger Thomas of Naturally 7

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Roger Thomas

of NATURALLY 7

Gifted from the moment these 7 Gentlemen grab the microphone, Naturally 7’s musical flow is quickly grabbing the hearts & minds of listeners all over the planet! And Terrill recently shared some special time with the musical director of the group – Roger Thomas – went over a few interests about the group, including word about their new CD on Hidden Beach Records to come soon, their upcoming performance at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June of 2010 & much more!!

TERRILL:  The urbanmusicscene.com had to create some space on the couch! There better be some room for seven big brothers representing the stage in such a way, known throughout the world as Naturally 7. I got the musical director, Mr. Roger Thomas, in the house. What’s up Roger?

ROGER: Hey man, how you doing there?

TERRILL: We’re doin’ it man, keepin’ it steady. How you doing today?

ROGER: Excellent!

TERRILL: Excellent. Man, talk to us about the origin of Naturally 7. Now we’ve done some articles here on the site, promoted some of your previous releases, The group has four CD’s out now, right?

ROGER: Yes.

TERRILL: And now you’re getting ready to embark on a fifth studio project with Hidden Beach Records?

ROGER: That’s correct.

TERRILL: But what put you guys together, to provide such a creativity behind the microphone the way you guys do? I mean instrumental sounds, human beat box, I mean vocal clarity unlike anything. What’s the influence behind Naturally 7?

ROGER: Well…process.  It started, you know, over two years ago just in search singing over just a little acappella. Everybody’s singing words, ooh’s and ah’s, and what not. And you know my brother had this uncanny type of, just an invitation of a drum set. He knew more than just beat boxing.

TERRILL: Yes.

ROGER: And we decided to incorporate that at some point and it sounded so good. The next obvious thing was, instead of the bass of your words, make it become a real guitar. Doing what a bass guitar would do, move like a bass guitar. And little by little we found that each guy in the band had the ability to imitate something.

TERRILL: Right.

ROGER: Something and myself being the lyricist in the band, you know the M/C, after awhile they’re able to create a bed and made a rap and then we just started building everything from there.  And about three, four years ago we coined the phrase ‘vocal play’. The acapella is when you sing without instruments. ‘Vocal play’ is when you become the instrument. So that’s how we started and it’s still evolving today.

TERRILL: You’re music covers various genres throughout the industry. I mean you guys put a little Gospel in, a little Hip Hop, a little R&B, even a little bit of Pop music. I mean do you guys stretch even beyond those realms? It’s just a natural feel?

ROGER: Yes, yes man. If we could put Classical in there, we’re going to do it.  

TERRILL: Cool.

ROGER: We would do it. If we can find a way, I mean we like doing stuff for the masses. And as far as we’re concerned, the masses like all these different types of genres, especially when they’re mixed in. It’s no different than food, you know.

TERRILL: Right.

ROGER: When you create different kinds of food, where you’ve mixed all sorts of different things, it’s how you create something that the masses like – whether they know it or not.  Everybody loves the voice. Everybody loves the capability of what the voice could do. People have always been attracted to harmony. So we’re just trying to take it to the next level with beats and when we are doing the horns, with doing the harmonicas, with anything we can wrap our brain around, we’re going to do it. And because we love so many different genres in the bag, there’s somebody who listens to R&B a lot, somebody listens to Gospel a lot, somebody listens to Rock, Hip Hop, we’ve got it all in there. So anyhow, we can imitate all at one time. We’re going to give it to you. If anybody listens to a two hour set…

TERRILL: Um hum.

ROGER: …of Naturally 7, they’re going to get it all.

TERRILL: Perfect man, that is sweet. And I think probably also got it all and this creates a love tour with, with Michael Buble, which seems to be the talk of the town right now. Talk to us about that experience man. You guys traveled all over the place and turned it out, huh?

ROGER: That’s right. Well we’re on a world tour right now. This is our second outing with Michael Buble. It worked so well the first time. A lot of the reviewers was like ‘it’s a night to celebrate voice’. He’s got a big voice. It’s all about him singing and us coming on stage before him, seven voices. You have to like him outside of using a voice.   So I think people are shocked, and at the same time pleasantly surprised at the end of the evening. Like wow, that was Naturally 7 and Michael Buble and I’m completely full. I mean I’ve had everything I need to have, my appetite is satisfied. So our marriage worked so well, we decided to go on tour with him again so we are going to head over continents right now. I went on tour with him for next year or so. It’s just a beautiful thing! 10,000, 15,000 people per night.  So at the end of the tour, we’re got in about 2 million people. So it would be 2 million people more that know Naturally 7.

TERRILL: Hey that’s downtown. I have to congratulate your guys man. In just getting out there and displaying such a gift, a God given gift, it’s just incredible man.  It leads me to ask you, does the group of seven guys that make up Naturally 7, are these childhood friends of yours? How did Naturally 7 come together?

ROGER: Well it started off with myself and my Brother. The rest of us are a friend of a friend.  Two or three close friends and then they got us a friend that got us a friend. We didn’t do any of that audition type stuff.

TERRILL: Okay.

ROGER: This is just friends getting together….’oh we need somebody to fill this part’. At most a person’s only like one person removed, from us growing up together. So we haven’t changed members too many times over the years, except we’ve only changed members in the last ten years – only changed members once. So we just knew each other really, really well. We’re family now.

TERRILL: That’s what I’m talking about. There’s a couple videos that we’ve had on the site over the three years that we’ve put out there man. We do videos of the week, and had focused on one of your videos where you guys actually came together in a subway down there somewhere in Paris, France…

ROGER: Yes.

TERRILL: …and you guys turned that subway out! 

(Naturally 7 Performing Live in a Subway on location in Paris)ROGER: Yes, that was a very cool theater. A few years back, and somebody said ‘hey would y’all go down in the subway and just start blowing and we’re going to film it’. We’re like yeah we’re up to the challenge, so we did it. And that’s the tape.  And in fact that’s a lot of fans favorite YouTube clip.

TERRILL:   Mine, too man. Which also got me to bring up the next upcoming performance –  I look forward to seeing you guys at the next Playboy Jazz Festival here in June (2010).  

ROGER: Yes, We’re looking forward to doing it.

TERRILL: Yes….that’s going to be a big stage man. I look forward to seeing you guys come and turn it up. Will you guys be performing some tracks off the new album?

ROGER: Yes, Yes… we have to. I mean right now we’re trying to carry the harmony in the industry right now. I’m hearing zero harmony.  Zero harmony
.

TERRILL: OK.

ROGER: And you know, it’s not about who’s harmonizing anymore. We’re trying to bring all of that back. It’s always been around and for some reason the last couple of years, it’s not around. So we’re trying to bring all of that back. People getting creative with what they can do with the human voice. We’re trying to bring all that back. So you know we’re glad that you’re helping us do it right now.

TERRILL: It’s funny you brought up about a void in R&B, not so much in R&B, just music period. Would you call that a green light for Naturally 7…. to come and fill that void?

ROGER: Yes, yes. Well it’s two voids for us.  It’s ‘that’ void which is a huge void…

TERRILL: Um hum.

ROGER: …and the second one is just, you know we got a spiritual base. We started in church. We’re spiritual brothers. Basically we want to bring positivity back. Just inspiration, things that uplift. We could talk about, lyrically we’re just going to bring things with a positive back. Because it’s a bit too much negativity in the world to be dealing with the negative. You got to keep everything positive. So we think that void has got to be filled too. So we’re trying to do both.

TERRILL: Hey, you got it my brother. That’s well said man, well said. Talk to us about the upcoming release here at Hidden Beach Records. What’s the title of it: “Vocal Play: A Work of Mouth”?

ROGER: It’s called Vocal Play. Basically like I said before, acapellas: when you sing without instruments. Vocal play is when you become the instrument. You know, everything that a person’s going to hear. We got fourteen to fifteen tracks that are on the album. Everything is created by the human voice, everything. So people are like what about this and what about that, everything. That’s what vocal play is.  For us, we think it’s a new genre. You know it’s a new genre. We feel that there’s going to be a whole new generation of people just doing this type of thing. Because it’s just interesting what the human voice could do. Whether it be most versatile instrument, the human voice itself. So that’s why we call it vocal play and it’s just a lot of beautiful things on this project and we’re just taking the human voice further than what we’ve taken it.

TERRILL: Cool man. Are you guys going to be doing a lot of original compositions?  You got a couple covers you might want to sneak a couple titles in on this interview?

ROGER: Yes mostly we got – it’s mostly originals.

TERRILL: Ok.

ROGER: And we, we did a duet with Michel Buble on the album, which we’re doing for the first time. I don’t know if anybody’s ever done it in the world before, but we’re doing Big Band.  We did a all vocal Big Band and that was a cover song called Relax Max, which was originally recorded by Diana Washington via Quincy Jones, way back in the days and we pulled that one out of the archives. Way out of the crates and then we’ve got some things. We’ve messed around with some Gospel things. From one we call Jericho, and there’s also things that people will recognize. We like to do that instead of samples. And we’ll do it vocally. Other than that, it’s a lot of original material.

TERRILL: Go ahead man! We look forward to it. We’re going to have that covered on the site regardless.  I’m just at a loss for words cause I’m just excited that you guys are just, not only moving forward, you guys are taking it to an entirely new level and yes, the music world can definitely, they can make room to open the arenas and know that here’s a group that’s not messing around. So you know with that said man, congratulations on the release of the new album coming up. Congratulations on the group period, Roger. I mean you guys have done some astonishing work, but I still believe you guys got a tremendous amount of assets out there that’s still, it’s set to come out man. I’m looking at you guys doing ten to fifteen albums down here in your lifetime.

ROGER: Oh, thanks man, I appreciate it. We hope that is the case man. And we’re looking forward to the ride.

TERRILL: Well hey, keep riding on. Send my love to the rest of the brothers on behalf of the urbanmusicscene.com, my whole staff, the whole readers, everybody: Please send our love over to the other six members of the group. Is there anything you would like to share with the readers man in support of you and your group and your album?

ROGER: Man just help us carry the slack. Help us carry the slack. We got to bring harmony, creativity and inspiration back to the industry. I’ll see everybody at the top.

TERRILL: Hey man, right no brotha. Lets look at doing another interview down the line, shall we?

ROGER: I’d love to.

TERRILL: Alright. Well hey man, God bless you man. Thank you for your time today.

ROGER: Thank you. Thank you. You be blessed, too.

TERRILL: You, too brotha, you have a beautiful one. I’ll talk to you soon.

ROGER: Alright man, take care.

TERRILL: You, too. Bye-bye.

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