The “Pitch Perfect” Bellas are held together by a love of the vocal sound and the bond of friendship. Turns out, New York City’s leading a cappella performers are, too.
“We're all dear friends. We’re sort of like a sisterhood,” Judy Minkoff, the founder of Stiletta, said.
You could say the city’s most popular all-female a cappella groups are in competition with one another for stage gigs, but they’ve instead created a supportive community of women who share a common interest.
“That’s how I want it to be, first and foremost, to be a group that wants to hang out with each other,” Minkoff said, adding that her group has gotten together in the past with other performers, like Treble NYC and Mezzo, during casual music-based hangouts — we know what you’re thinking and, no, they’re not exactly like Bella riff-offs.
Though a side job (the city’s a cappella performers lead second lives as doctors, marketing reps and more), many groups have still been able to successfully coin the interest in their unique sound and turn a profit. Groups like Stiletta and Traces are often paid per public performance and can be spotted at venues across the city including Don't Tell Mama in Hell's Kitchen and The Bitter End in Greenwich Village.
We caught up with four of the city’s performance groups to find out what it’s like to be a part of this niche community and what makes them each unique.
Stiletta: Mixing a beatbox sound
Treble NYC: Leaning on longevity
Traces: A gospel flair