Sean Altman

Sean Altman

 New York City, New York, USA

Ex-Rockapella frontman delivers acoustic-electric power-pop. “Wickedly humorous, tuneful and sharply witty” (LA Times). This “absurdly talented performer” (Village Voice) has “killer hooks” (Time Out NY), “a cynical edge” (Philadelphia Daily News), and a “silky tenor voice" (NY Times).


"Imagine Dion meeting Marshall Crenshaw at the Beatles' house, with the Kinks, Beach Boys, Four Seasons and Persuasions all dropping by for a song swap. The words have a cynical edge, but what really grabs you is the old-fashioned sweetness and punch of his neo-doowop vocals playing off incredibly hook-happy tunes" —PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

“The anti-Kurt Cobain” (NY Press) and “absurdly talented performer” (Village Voice) has “killer hooks” (Time Out New York), “a cynical edge” (Philadelphia Daily News), and a “silky tenor voice that produced chills” (New York Times). Sean is New York City's golden-voiced rabble-rouser; the purveyor of perfect pop songs; the founder and former leader of the pioneering vocal group Rockapella; the composer of the "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" TV theme song; perpetrator of the JEWMONGOUS comedy song concert; and entertainer to the pop-starved masses. His three solo albums feature his signature angst gift-wrapped as pop confection. 

Altman's three solo CDs are available at  He followed up his acclaimed solo debut, seandemonium (19 originals), with a more bombastic work: alt.mania (Chow Fun Records), which features Sean’s full muscular band blasting through 15 original songs of angst gift-wrapped as pop confection peppered with a dozen other bits of palate-cleansing sonic mayhem. alt.mania includes the song "Unhappy Anniversary" — Sean’s ode to divorce that pop starlet Vitamin C covered on her platinum Elektra debut.  Guests include Jian Ghomeshi of Moxy Fruvous, violinist Deni Bonet, and Elliott Kerman of Rockapella. 

Sean's CD catalogue also includes Losing Streak (Chow Fun Records), a 22-song collection of his live-in-concert performances of songs composed by his song writing heroes — McCartney, Costello, Brian Wilson, Nilsson, Paul Simon, Bowie, Bacharach, Carole King, and others — in the famed Loser's Lounge tribute series, and JEWMONGOUS’ debut CD “Taller Than Jesus”, a collection of original comedy songs.

Sean grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Brown University, formed Rockapella on a NYC street corner and orchestrated the group’s rise to its current status as the world’s premier contemporary a cappella group.  Sean’s credits with Rockapella include featured performances on the PBS documentary “Spike Lee & Co - Do It Acappella”; “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”; five years (295 episodes) starring in the PBS daily series “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” (for which Sean wrote the theme song with David Yazbek, composer of Broadway hits “The Full Monty” and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"); nine CD releases; concerts with Billy Joel (Madison Square Garden), Sting and Don Henley; and numerous commercials.

His song writing credits include the off-Broadway musical comedy “Minimum Wage” (NYC Fringe Festival Audience Favorite Award); numerous featured songs for Nickelodeon and Disney TV; and a dozen songs for the comedy “Connections,” which enjoyed a long run at Theater For The New City in New York.  Sean’s vocal arrangement credits include the feature films “Leap of Faith,” “Joe’s Apartment,” “Meet The Parents” and “Sing Now Or Forever Hold Your Piece”. Sean performs his songs in concert throughout the world with his five-piece band, as an acoustic-electric duo, or solo acoustic.  He has appeared with Elton John, Billy Joel, Joey Ramone, Moby, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Zevon, Fred Schneider of the B-52s, Styx, Dan Bern, Jill Sobule, David Cassidy, John Cale, Robyn Hitchcock, Take 6, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Persuasions, Chuck Berry, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, and They Might Be Giants.


The Notion

Written By: Sean Altman & Michelle Albano

The notion of you is better than the real you (the notion of you)
The idea of you drove me wild
The real you crashed and burned
The concept of you’s fine
But the flesh and blood is so unkind
Enough of you — I’d rather keep the notion

The notion of you made me crave the real you (the notion of you)
The idea of you smelled as sweet
As the actual you stinks
The myth of you’s profound
But the real life you just runs your mouth
Enough of you — I’d rather keep the notion

‘Cause the notion of you remembers who
The real you used to be
And the legend of you wouldn’t ever do
The things you’ve done to me

The notion of you is better than the real you (the notion of you)
The fiction of you owns my heart
So the fact has got to go
‘Cause if you stick around
Well the notion just might gun you down
Enough of you — I’d rather keep the notion

More In Hate With You

Written By: Sean Altman

I’m mourning over our remains
& I revel in the gloom & brave the pain
& I’m puzzling over just what to do
‘cause I’m still in love but more in hate with you

I lose you at the bottom of a bottle on rainy days
But that’s just a temporary remedy I’m afraid
& my smile lies like a cheap disguise
But I know the truth
That I’m still in love but more in hate with you

You were mine
I blink, you’re gone instantaneously
Now I’m wishing you here
& wishing you dead simultaneously

What a shiny fine double-edged sword
You turned out to be
That could bring me almost as much joy as misery
If I had you here
I could just as well kiss you as run you through
‘cause I’m still in love but more in hate with you

Unhappy Anniversary

Written By: Sean Altman & Noel Cohen

You ask me how am I.
Well I’m still standing, ain’t I?
That’s something, that’s one thing that’s gone my way
This morning, I’m sinking although the sun is rising
I’m falling, recalling my yesterday

This is my unhappy anniversary
But I lie...sayin’ it’s just another day
Here’s to my unhappy anniversary, oh

I know it’s such bad form to still be broken-hearted
I should screw her best friend to ease my pain
I drink up, and think up a toast to numb the hours
No silver, no diamonds, just flat champagne


And now it’s near midnight. A few more minutes & I
Can backtrack & get back my former cheer
A happy-go-lucky, example of contentment
I’ll feast ‘til, at least ‘til this time next year

This is my unhappy anniversary
But I lie...sayin’ it’s just another day
Here’s to my unhappy anniversary
But I it’s just another day
Here’s to my unhappy anniversary
It’s my unhappy anniversary, oh


Taller Than Jesus (Jewmongous, 13 originals, Chow Fun Records)
alt.mania (LP - 15 originals, Chow Fun Records)
seandemonium (LP - 19 originals, Chow Fun Records)
Losing Streak (LP - 22 covers, Chow Fun Records)
Unorthodox (What I Like About Jew CD 2006)
Glory (GrooveBarbers CD 2005)
1991-1997: Nine Rockapella CDs in the USA & Japan

Set List

Sean plays his brilliant originals, but if you really insist, he will perform sparkling renditions of songs he wishes he'd written by Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, the Beatles, etc. Two hours of originals, one hour of covers. Set length varies.