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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Pop A Capella




"Five people, zero instruments and one harmonious sound"

Since the a cappella group Eh440 only came together in February 2012, the fact their first gig was singing the national anthem at a Toronto Raptors game would seem to be quite an accomplishment.

Of course it was, but it was also helped by the fact several of the members, including the London-born Joe Oliva and Janet Turner, were part of the successful a cappella band The Essentials. The contacts that group had helped push Eh440 forward and since that time, the band has been busy performing and working on their first album, which is planned for a February 2014 release.

Before that happens, however, Oliva and Turner will be returning to the Forest City as Eh440 — which also includes members Mike Ceila, Stacey Kay and Luke Stapleton — will be putting their musical stylings on display Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Aeolian Hall.

While the genre of music, a cappella, remains the same, Oliva said Eh440 came together with the intention of bringing something different to their unique style of music.

“We had a new vision in mind; we wanted to take A cappella music to a place we haven’t seen it go before,” Oliva said. “A lot of A cappella groups try and find similar voices. They say they need everyone to blend together. We thought we had enough experience to teach people how to blend, how to harmonize, without them having any previous experience.”

Oliva said as the band was coming together, the focus was finding “great lead singers” and soloists.

Turner has “a very sweet, angelic voice,” Oliva said, so they sought out someone what was the complete opposite, Kay.

Oliva describes her voice as “up-tempo, rambunctious, and sassy,” which worked well, he said, with Celia, who is not only a singer/songwriter, but also someone with a strong baritone voice. The other key part of Eh440 is Stapleton, who Oliva describes “as world-class beat boxer.”

Put them all together, as their media kit suggests, and you have “Five voices, zero instruments, and one new, exciting vocal sound.”

And with that collection of talent, the next change in direction for Eh440, at least from Oliva’s point of view, is in the kind of songs they will perform.

“We are going to use mostly original songs while a lot of A cappella groups try to get by with covers. That has been done so many times, we are doing covers now, will be doing them at the show, but in order to progress things, we have to go a different route,” Oliva said. “There isn’t a rock band in the world whose manager would say do more covers.”

While not willing to speak for his fellow band members, Oliva said he personal believes it is a mistake that other a cappella groups focus on being just that, an a cappella group.

“Bobby McFerrin won a Grammy back in the ‘80s, but he doesn’t promote himself as an a cappella singer. That isn’t his focus. I think that was a lesson for everyone, but I don’t think they embraced it, “Oliva said. “The fact it is a cappella should be secondary, you have to focus on the things that are important for any band, writing great songs, having a great recorded performance of those songs and a great live performance of those songs.”

Darin Addison is a believer in that theory. Addison, production/marketing co-ordinator with The Aeolian, said he believes a cappella represents a good fit for the hall’s Summer Soiree concert series.

And that fit comes because a band like Eh440 puts their musical talent front and centre for the audience.

“It requires a lot of talent. People can’t hide behind distorted guitars or whatever else,” Addison said. “It is an opportunity for those artists to really showcase their vocal talents.”

Addison said he is hoping the band’s London connections; including family and friends, along with the existing fan base of The Essentials, will make for a successful show, “Something a little different and interesting on a Saturday night out in the middle of August.”

Not surprisingly, Oliva is hoping for the same. However, besides the London connection, he says Eh440 has “other things” going for it. Those other things include the TV show, The Sing Off, which Oliva describes as “a battle of the bands for a cappella groups,” along with Glee, which isn’t exactly a cappella, “but relies on that whole harmony thing.”

And understandably, Oliva is looking forward to performing in his hometown — even if it feels like he never left.

“My whole family is still in London. I have been gone from London for 10 or 12 years now. Janet left London six or seven years ago, she moved to Toronto as well. But London is still home to me,” Oliva said. “When I am driving in, going north on Highbury, it is that feeling of finally being home.”

For more information or for tickets, visit The Aeolian Hall box office (795 Dundas St. E.), phone 519-672-7950 or visit - London Community News

"Cool, Eh"

London natives Joe Oliva and Janet Turner return to the Forest City this weekend and although they’re no longer known as part of the Essentials, acappella is alive and well with their new group Eh440.

The Toronto-based quintet came together in 2012, not long after the Essentials began to wind down in 2011.

“We wanted to create what we thought was the most contemporary, most modern type of acappella group,” Oliva said.

There must be something about acappella that inspires London-born artists. YouTube star Mike Tompkins, also a Forest City native, has taken the genre in a new direction since first using his beat boxing and production savvy to cover popular music, eventually exploding on the Internet and leveraging that into a career in the music biz.

Eh440 is a little more traditional — none of their sounds are manipulated with technology — but the group is still about taking a progressive approach to acappella music.

Oliva said the group came together after a lengthy search for just the right pieces, and that includes well-known Toronto beat boxer Luke Stapleton, part of Eh440’s rhythm section alongside Oliva’s low bass tones. Booming vocalist Stacey Kay adds some musical theatre flair to the group (she’s a Sheridan College Musical Theatre Performance grad) and is joined by fellow singer/songwriters Turner and Mike Celia.

“What makes us unique is that we were assembled with very specific roles in mind and we looked for world-class people at each role,” Oliva said. “Its unique in that it was sort of built with a very specific purpose in mind, modern-day acappella music and acappella sonics.”

Eh440 will play the Aeolian Hall August 10. Oliva said the group is still primarily doing covers of popular music (you can hear many of their covers on their YouTube channel) but is planning an original album for release sometime in 2014.

“We do a lot of covers now just because we have to, but our real focus is writing original songs.” Oliva said.

That and their live show, which has travelled to places as far away as Nunavut so far, but will be in London for the first time Saturday.

“We’re excited about it, Janet and I in particular,” Oliva said. “We’ve always had great crowds in London with my old group and we hope that some of those same people will come back, and maybe some new ones.”
- Londoner

"Packed house for Timmins Concert Series"

Mar 29/13 - Timmins Press

The house was rocking last weekend, and even those that bothered knocking couldn't come on in. There just wasn't any room left.

The Timmins Concert Singers held their Spring Concert at the Dante Club in front of a whopping 300 guests. Along with special guests and a cappella super-group, Eh440, the Singers tore down the roof.

"First of all, it was a sell-out," said conductor Lauri-Ann Loreto-Neal. "We could have probably done two nights quite easily. Eh440 was beyond even my greatest expectations. They are one phenomenally talented group of performers. The audience was entertained for two solid hours." - Timmins Press


Still working on that hot first release.



5 voices, 0 instruments, 1 new exciting vocal sound!

Eh440 is an acappella group founded in Toronto, Canada in 2012. Of course, that means that they only use their voices to create their music.

How Did It Start? Four vocalists and a beatboxer got together in 2012 and decided to form a new kind of group. Some had sung together before, some only knew of each other through their music, and some had even been childhood rivals.

But they knew that they wanted to work together to start something fresh and new - recording and performing a modern side of contemporary acappella music. And, although the group is new, individually the members have vast experiences.

Between them, they have released CDs that have topped the charts, been certified gold, and toured all over the world including coast-to-coast in Canada, the U.S., as well as Europe and Asia.

How Do I Say It? Eh is pronounced the Canadian way (like the letter 'A') and then the number 4, and then the number 40.

What's Next? 2013 is already a busy year for Eh440 as they've booked several festivals and just taped an episode of the hit CBC show "Dragons' Den". They received the Galaxie Rising Star award 2013. Eh440 is also in the studio recording their debut full length album.

In their live show they cover contemporary pop songs that everybody knows and loves but in the studio the focus will be a mix of pop covers and also their own original tunes.

USA College/University Shows: Auburn Moon Agency 800-566-6653

Band Members