ORLANDO, Fla. – The Edge Effect is an all-star combination of vocalists who have come together over a shared love of vocal music, live performance and entertainment. As individuals, they have graced countless stages across land and sea, and have worked with Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning performers.
Q: Who are the members of the group, and what is their background?
The Edge Effect:
Sean Gerrity – Tenor 1/Tenor 2: Sean attended years of college and university but decided (subconsciously) against getting his degree. He started his performance career with Walt Disney World in 1999 and quickly joined forces with other cast members to form the a cappella group Mosaic. Through this group, he was able to tour the world, perform with legends, walk the red carpet of the Grammys and meet his wife. He left Mosaic in 2011 and co-founded The Edge Effect where he now lives in artistic peace and harmony (pun intended) with his fellow bandmates.
Danny Alan – Tenor 2: Danny is a graduate of Belmont University with a BBA in Music Business Marketing. Prior to The Edge Effect, he was a member of the vocal group 42Five (now Voiceplay) and has been singing a cappella professionally since 2000.
Troy Dolendo – Vocal Percussion/Baritone: Troy was born on the beaches of Southern California … blessed to be part of a musical family, even though his siblings’ and parents’ careers didn’t allude to that. Troy followed his heart and gut and studied piano, composition, arranging, as well as physics. Many continents and frequent flyer miles later, he found the guys of The Edge Effect and is so proud and happy to call them family and musical partners for life!
John Gibson II – Baritone/Bass: John has been a professional singer since the age of 17. Signed to a record deal at a young age with a local Orlando powerhouse R/B quartet, Jaze’, he got a taste for creating music and the intricacy in harmony. Since then he has been mainly involved with a cappella vocal bands. Currently, he is a proud member of The Edge Effect, Levitical Rise (a contemporary Christian project) and EPIC (a 90’s cover band experience).
Karl Hudson – Bass: Karl is a bass singer who has traveled all over the world sharing his passion for music and the pursuit to uplift humanity through song. Graduating from the Hartt School of Music with a BFA in Musical Theatre, he later went on to perform in Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions including roles such as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime, Joe in Showboat and Monsor in One Man’s War, among many others. No stranger to the Mouse, he has been the bass singer for Disney’s premier a cappella group, Voices of Liberty for over 10 years. He also plays the role of Kiume in Disney’s Festival of the Lion King and numerous special events for the Walt Disney Company.
Q: When and where did The Edge Effect start? How were members selected?
The Edge Effect: This is a long, long, LONG, LOOOOOOOONG answer. There is so much back story here. The group has individual ties that go back to the early 1990s and community college show choir! (Did I just admit that?). I’ll try to give a quick timeline rundown of who met whom and where …
1992: Sean Gerrity & Danny Alan met in Ocala, Fla., at Central Florida Community College. In 1996 Sean followed Danny to Nashville, Tenn., to attend Belmont University. Sean’s time there was short lived, and he returned to Ocala singing in show choir and waiting tables while Danny finished his degree.
1999: Sean was hired by Walt Disney World for his first-ever professional job as an entertainer. His contract was for the role of Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at what was then called MGM Studios. It was there that he met Troy Dolendo. The two became instant friends and started toying with the idea of forming some sort of vocal group. They also were in EPCOT’s American Vybe, which was an eight-piece vocal group that performed with a stand-up bass. In the summer of 1999, Danny moved down to join Troy and Sean in their group of many titles … Penny Brown, Velvet Jones and Less Than 7 were all names (not good ones) of their creative entity.
2001: Troy moved to Osaka, Japan, to work for Universal Studios Japan™ and met another Orlando resident, John Gibson.
2003: Troy finished his contract in Japan and returned to Orlando to join Sean in another group called Mosaic. He urged the members of the group to hire John when he returned.
2004: John moved back to Orlando and took his sweet A$$ time committing to Mosaic. He finally did, and the three of them (Sean, Troy and John) formed a bond that carries them through till today.
2011: Sean, Troy and John decided to leave Mosaic and start a new project, The Edge Effect (also a name that to this day the group isn’t completely satisfied with … LOL). Sean called Danny to gauge interest – he immediately said yes. Danny introduced us to Karl (who was a freak of nature vocal bass singer at Voices of Liberty in EPCOT). Sean, Troy and John also knew a great performer named Solomon Johnson III (Solomon Jaye as he goes by now) and asked him to join. The group was initially a six-man group.
Q: How did you get the idea to form this a cappella group? Who were the originators?
The Edge Effect: Well we have all had a passion for a cappella. The art form is incredibly cool and nerdy all at the same time. There is so much that can be achieved using only the voice. There were no originators, per say; more of the catalysts for this particular group. Those were Sean, Troy and John.
Q: What types of venues do you perform in/for most?
The Edge Effect: Right now the group does equal parts headlining on cruise ships, performing for corporate conventions and touring performing arts centers. The cruise ship theaters are the most amazing we’ve had the pleasure of performing. The technology used in the design of these theaters is mind blowing.
Q: What/who inspired this group to pursue a cappella?
The Edge Effect: I think each member has a different influence that brought him to his love for a cappella. This group has always had the mindset that we are going to perform as an a cappella group, but we never shy away from writing or performing with instruments either. Our first album, Alphabet Radio, was a combination of Troy’s a cappella charts and a band. It was on the ballot for Best Pop Vocal Album for the Grammys in 2014.
Q: Where did the group originate?
The Edge Effect: Well, Mosaic originally started in Orlando. We made the move to Las Vegas in 2006 to open for legendary comic George Wallace at the iconic Flamingo Hotel and Casino. We were there until 2011. It was then that Sean, Troy and John decided to start a new group. The decision to bring that group to Orlando as home base was fueled by Sean’s new family wanting to be closer to their relatives and the other members all being Central Florida-based for the most part.
Q: What and where was The Edge Effect’s first professional gig?
The Edge Effect: Our first gig ever was in Mexico City for the grand opening of El Palacio De Hierro. This is the highest end of high-end shopping malls – the first of its kind in Mexico City. To give you an idea of what it was like, the Vice President of Mexico was there along with many dignitaries and highly wealthy and influential people from the region. We all know the climate of Mexico City. There was armed security and armored vehicles taking people in and out of the mall. Inside were shops like Tiffany’s, Gucci, etc. It was a surreal experience.
Q: All of you perform individually in gigs outside of the group. How do you prioritize gigs?
The Edge Effect: We give priority to The Edge Effect first. When something happens that is a really good thing for an individual member, we sit and talk about it as a group. If it is possible for a sub to come in and work with The Edge Effect, we will make it happen.
Q: What happens if a great gig presents itself and one or more members have a schedule conflict?
The Edge Effect: We ALWAYS try to make a gig work first with our full-time members. However, we know that it is not always possible. So we have a short list of trusted substitutes for each role that we rely on to make the gigs happen.
Q: Do you ever hold auditions for subs? How do you incorporate subs when the situation arises?
The Edge Effect: Yes, we have held auditions. We have found that being in a network of working musicians really affords us the opportunity to get to know some amazing vocalists. See above for how we use subs.
Q: Is The Edge Effect open to customizing its performances according to the nature of an event? How so?
The Edge Effect: We are constantly tweaking our show and set list to cater to the group that we are performing for. It mostly comes down to song selection. However, in the corporate world, we sometimes customize existing arrangements with custom lyrics for an event. We will even go as far as to write a brand new song for the client. All at a premium, of course.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received about singing in a group?
The Edge Effect: LISTEN. You MUST listen to the other group members while onstage. You cannot just be a soloist when you’re in an a cappella group. It simply won’t work.
Q: What inspires the group?
The Edge Effect: Inspiration is a broad topic. Artistically, we’re inspired by other artists who put out quality work, whether it is in recorded music, live performance, film or TV. To see another artist who you know has put the time in to perfect their craft is moving. In life we’re inspired by a myriad of different things. Other dads who juggle a career with family life and do it well are a huge inspiration.
Q: Members of The Edge Effect have competed in national TV shows. What is the key takeaway from competitions that prepares you for the next step?
The Edge Effect: What we’ve learned is that the best story will make it to the final rounds. The shows are reality in title only. They are still TV shows that need good ratings, and the best ratings are derived from REALLY good stories. Especially stories that tug at the heartstrings. We’ve learned that making it into final rounds of nationally televised competitions can really do wonders for your career if you’re prepared properly to capitalize on them.
Q: How does The Edge Effect stay current on trends? Are they important?
The Edge Effect: I think that individually we all try to stay on top of what is going on in the world of pop culture. However, it doesn’t play into what we deliver on stage or in our recordings too much.
We are a group of seasoned performers who hit the stage in suits, delivering our take on classic songs that will stand the test of time.
If we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in trying to cover current material, we’ll be left with a catalog of music that is outdated.
Q: Do you still take voice lessons? What kind of training does the group continue to do?
The Edge Effect: We no longer take voice lessons consistently. However, we rehearse as frequently as possible while taking the time to pay attention to the small details. We are always up for a good coaching session … (ehem, Tony DeRosa).
Q: The Edge Effect has performed for audiences of every size. Do you have a favorite venue or setting?
The Edge Effect: Our performance at the Dr. Phillips Center this past year (2017) stands out as a really incredible experience. However, our favorite types of venues are the cruise ship theaters. The fact that you can pack in 1,500 people per show for three shows in a week is awesome. The quality of the theaters is unreal.
Q: You’ve worked with and opened for a number of celebrities. Do any stand out as creating a lasting memory?
The Edge Effect: Prince. Hands down. The man was just the most amazing musician I’ve ever seen (this is Sean, by the way). We’ve been blessed to see, open and perform with some legends, but he was unparalleled.
Q: Does the group have a favorite song or playlist to perform?
The Edge Effect: So, you’ll have individual answers to this question, but I think the group as a whole loves performing two songs – and for very different reasons. The first is our show opener, the Michael Jackson Medley (Melissa’s favorite, too!). It’s so in your face and full of energy. It’s a great way for us to start off our show. The second is the most “bring it down” moment in our show: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” When we do that song well, it gives us goosebumps. There’s no vocal percussion, just five voices singing in harmony. Great stuff.
Q: What is the group’s process for selecting and arranging music?
The Edge Effect: We try to keep our audience in mind when selecting new material.
Each song we do is selected because we think it will resonate with the crowd.
We try to choose material that spans generations and has cross-demographic appeal. Troy is tasked with all of our arranging. He’s simply one of the best a cappella arrangers in the industry right now. We are truly blessed that he’s in our group. Other groups pay him for his sticks and dots … he does ours for free!
Q: You perform for a variety of clients. Do you have a process for understanding your clients’ needs?
The Edge Effect: Our combined experience in corporate entertainment affords us the luxury of being flexible for our clients. At times, we understand the needs of our clients better than the clients themselves understand them. Many of the clients we work for are doing this particular type of event for the first time. They have a vision in mind, but we’ve done similar events countless times in the past and are very in tune (no pun intended) with what has worked and what has failed.
Q: The group spends a lot of time together traveling the world. How do you manage personalities of five gentlemen – and their families?
The Edge Effect: The key is patience. These are five VERY different personalities. Being able to accept the different traits and having a keen sense of compromise are the biggest factors. We all have a common goal in mind, and we realize that each person has a different view of how to get there. We probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we’re achieving now if we were in our early 20s. With maturity and experience we can definitely say that we’ve learned from our mistakes and are more open to the process of listening to each other. Four out of the five members are married with children. It helps that all of our spouses are performers themselves. Their understanding of this lifestyle is what allows us to do what we do. However, being away from our loved ones is never easy.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves about singing a cappella?
The Edge Effect: Yes. The overall perception of the technical requirements needed for us to put on a show to our standard is baffling. There are clients who think we don’t need microphones, sound systems, etc. There are audio engineers who poo poo us when we make our specific requests. There is a lot that goes into putting on a show on a professional level, and many in the industry still don’t recognize this. It has actually driven us to purchase all of our own sound equipment short of a PA system. We show up to events now with our own microphones, mixing board and in-ear monitoring systems so that we have as much control over our sound as possible.
Q: Who were the group’s mentors and what did they teach you?
The Edge Effect: With five members this could take up pages. However, we can say that our choir directors, stage managers and music directors over time have really helped shape us. One HUGE lesson that we have all learned from these people is ‘take the note.’
It’s so important to be able to receive and implement criticism.
Q: What has been the highlight(s) of your career with The Edge Effect?
The Edge Effect: Getting paid to do what we love for our job! We get to travel to unique destinations and perform material that WE have selected for audiences who truly enjoy what we do. How does it get better than that?
Q: To what or whom would you give credit for the group’s success?
The Edge Effect: The credit should be given to the five members of this group, Solomon Jaye for his contributions to shaping the group early on, the core group of subs that allows the shows to continue on even when some of us cannot, and finally … our families who support this entire endeavor.
Q: How high of a priority is it to collaborate and network in the entertainment industry? How do you form friendships in such a competitive world?
The Edge Effect: We place a premium on collaboration and networking. The truth of the matter is that there is enough to go around for EVERYONE. No one can do it all. We love to collaborate (See: Alphabet Radio). We have some really wonderful collaborations coming up … we are only at liberty to say “The Greatest Showman” and “Coco.”
Q: What advice do you have for people wanting to start an a cappella or other vocal group?
The Edge Effect: Go learn coding. LOL. This is the toughest question so far. Find your voice. Learn what each member is capable of before asking him/her to do something that is outside of his/her abilities. The toughest thing to do is find capable vocalists. The search for a singer who can sing as a soloist but also blend well as a background vocalist is rare. To find one of those voices who wants to commit to singing a cappella is even more rare.
Q: Do you have an agent or manager? How did you decide who to sign with, and how important is it for groups to sign with an agency?
The Edge Effect: We are non-exclusive with the agents that we work for/with. The only exclusive agreement we have is with our cruise ship agency. We had a pre-existing relationship with one of the people at the agency, which is what led us to sign with them. As far as management goes, we are currently co-managed by both Danny Alan and Sean Gerrity.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The Edge Effect: The travel and being away from our families.
Q: What percentage of your job is devoted to business and marketing?
The Edge Effect: 75 percent.
Q: Do you have a favorite book, movie, song, musician, poem/poet or artist?
The Edge Effect:
- Book: Greek/Roman Mythology Novels
- Movie: Currently The Greatest Showman, but there are others like Coming to America, Trading Places, Rudy and Goonies
- Song: No way I could choose
- Musician: Frank Sinatra, Seal, Van Halen and Prince
- Artist: Michelangelo
- Book: Freakonomics
- Movie: Empire Strikes Back
- Song: Too many to choose
- Musician: Stevie Wonder, Sting and Prince
- Poem/Poet/Artist: Henry David Thoreau
- Book: The Bible
- Movie: The Fifth Element
- Song: “Getaway” by Earth, Wind and Fire
- Musician: Prince
- Poem/poet/artist: ?
- Book: Siddhartha
- Movie: Coming to America
- Song: “Ready Wednesday” by Snarky Puppy
- Musician: Snarky Puppy
- Poem/poet/artist: Justin Bua
Q: What is next for The Edge Effect? What goals have you not reached yet?
The Edge Effect: We are excited to announce that we’ll be releasing the first in a series of children’s videos in early March, called Get Down with The Edge Effect. Our first video is our take on Jake and the Neverland Pirates. This entire series of singles and videos is for parents as much as it is for the children. As four of the five members are now dads, we hear the same children’s music on endless loop for days at a time. We wanted to do new versions of these songs to give parents an alternative means of entertaining their kids.
Also, we would love to achieve the dream of creating content and not having to tour to support it. Mailbox Money!
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