5 Questions: Scott Leonard

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5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –

Rockapella is a five member group that was formed back in 1986. Scott is the group’s songwriter and high tenor. He started his singing career while in college. Scott’s singing voice has often been described as “pyrotechnics”. Before joining Rockapella in 1991, he sang in rock groups for Disney in both Orlando and Tokyo for a few years.

Steven, Ryan, Scott, Jeff, and Calvin

Steven, Ryan, Scott, Jeff, and Calvin

SD: How did you go from baseball scholarship to singing?

SL: After I got to the University of Tampa, I found out my football coach was a real bear, just like the one I had in high school. Luckily for me, their tennis team was weak, so I switched and played tennis and was able to keep my scholarship. Also, they had a great music program that I was able to get involved in.

SD: What’s the most important element in writing for an a cappella group?

SL: Well, it is pretty simple – you have to have great songs. It is all about the melody and the song’s message. A cappella is really a more clever version of popular songs. The craft of songwriting has always intrigued me, especially when it comes to crafting a cappella versions of a song. Since you have no instruments, you are relying on the talents of the group to make the song sound great.

SD: What do you think about the resurgence of a cappella singing?

SL: I think it is fantastic! I have been performing for over 25 years and it just keeps getting better. Years ago, there were only a handful of a cappella groups now every Ivy league university has one. Also, I love how a cappella has gone mainstream from having TV shows to movies.

SD: Touring with an a cappella group, must be a lot easier, since you have no instruments to travel with?

SL: It is a lot easier on the back that is for sure.

SD: Who were your musical influences growing up?

SL: Stevie Wonder, he is the main reason for me being in music and wanting to perform. My mom is the one who gave me the love of the male harmony. Growing up, she had a really great 45 record collection. I also love the Beach Boys, Bread, and the Crew-cuts.

For more information on Rockapella and to purchase tickets to see them perform at the Berklee Performance Center on Oct 16th visit www.rockappella.com. Visit Scott’s personal website at www.scottleonardmusic.com

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