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|The Other Guys|
|Origin||St Andrews, Scotland|
Tarleton Watkins III
|The Other Guys|
|Origin||St Andrews, Scotland|
Tarleton Watkins III
The Other Guys (TOG) is an all-male a cappella ensemble from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. The group was founded in 2004 and has been one of the groups responsible for the rise of collegiate a cappella in Scotland.
The group are perhaps best known for their musical parody videos, most notably their YouTube hit "Royal Romance", a tribute to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton based upon Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance", and their follow-up video "St Andrews Girls", a cover of Katy Perry's "California Gurls", which was released in conjunction with a charity single raising money for Breast Cancer Care. As of 12 January 2013, the group's YouTube channel has over 1.3 million views, making them the most viewed university group in the UK.
The group was founded in 2004 by a group of friends who wanted to bring the American tradition of collegiate a cappella to the university. In the spring of 2005, the newly founded group went on its first international tour to the United States singing in New York City for the University Glee Club of New York City and in Westport, Connecticut at the Java Jam - a concert of American Collegiate A Cappella Groups at Greens Farms Academy. After three years spent increasing their reputation in both St. Andrews and Scotland, they released their debut album, Indecent Exposure in May 2007, which included covers of tracks by Seal, Backstreet Boys and Chris DeBurgh.
In the winter of 2007, St Andrews hosted the quarter-finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) for the first time. The Other Guys went on to win this regional round and progressed to the Western European Final in London.
On 12 May 2008, the group released their second studio album The Damage is Done, which included a mash-up of two Scouting For Girls tracks, "Elvis Ain't Dead" and "She's So Lovely", and a rewritten version of "Gangsta's Paradise" which was renamed "Golfer's Paradise", referring to the status of St. Andrews as the 'Home of Golf'. A rewritten version of the latter is also present on their fourth album, Barely Regal.
The Other Guys won the ICCA quarter-final again in 2008, where David Borowsky was awarded 'Outstanding Vocal Percussionist' at both the St Andrews quarter-final and the resulting Western European Final.
Following the formation of The Voice Festival UK (VF-UK) in 2009, The Other Guys proceeded to compete in one of the three semi-finals on 7 March 2009 in St. Andrews. Tenor David Borowsky won the award for 'Outstanding Solo' for the performance of "Desperado", and the group went through to the London final, where Borowsky went on to win the 'Outstanding Solo' award once again.
On 1 May 2009, the group released their third studio album, entitled Well Sung. This incorporated for the first time a guest vocalist and several well-known hymns, including "Amazing Grace" and "Auld Lang Syne". The album was launched in a special performance at Younger Hall in St Andrews, and was well received throughout the university and by Rector Kevin Dunion.
The following year, on 4 March 2011, the group entered the VFUK competition for the third time. Due to the rising popularity of university a cappella in the UK, there were five semi-finals and as such, the number of groups qualifying from each semi-final was reduced from two to one. The Other Guys won awards for 'Outstanding Musicality', 'Outstanding Arrangement' for their performance of "Royal Romance", and tenor Henry Synge was 'Highly Commended' for his solo on "Kiss From A Rose.
Filming and recording on "Royal Romance" began in March 2011. The video was cut and edited at the beginning of April and was released onto YouTube on 11 April 2011, to celebrate the Royal Wedding and to 'put a smile on people's faces'. Within a week, the video had earned recognition in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and India. The group made their first TV appearance in a report on Five News on 14 April 2011 and later on STV News. The video was also featured on The Today Show in America as part of their 'Webtastic' section. The group also received praise from Eric Whitacre, an eminent American composer and conductor, who described their video and sound as 'awesome', in a communication on Facebook. As of 23 October 2012, the video has amassed over 815,000 views.
After the success of the video in St Andrews in particular, the group were invited by Louise Richardson, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the university, to perform at the Principal's Awards Dinner at Lower College Hall on Wednesday 20 April. Their first public performance post-video was in the Byre Theatre bar, where they performed a set of eleven songs, including "Royal Romance", some of which involved several former members of the group.
The group performed three times in St Salvator's Quadrangle in St Andrews on Friday 29 April 2011 as part of the celebrations of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Each time they performed "Royal Romance" along with other songs from their repertoire, including "Canned Heat" and "Kiss From A Rose", the other two songs from their set at the VF-UK Semi Final. They also appeared on ITV's morning show Daybreak.
After the success of "Royal Romance", the group embarked upon several charitable endeavours, both just as a group and as part of various charity fundraisers. The group have twice appeared at fundraisers for the Muir Maxwell Trust, firstly on 3 July at Fettes College, Edinburgh as part of their Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and the second time on 10 December at the Savoy Hotel.
Recording for their fourth album, Barely Regal began on 27 June 2011 and was completed on 7 July. The album was released on 5 September, alongside an EP of their 2009 album, Well Sung, which featured six of the tracks from the original album. The group worked with American professional a cappella group Overboard, who did the mixing and editing, and music producers Diovoce, who mastered the album. The group also announced that a 'significant proportion of any profits made' were to be donated to the scholarship at the University of St Andrews that was set up in dedication to William and Kate. On 2 December 2011, the group announced that they had thus far been able to donate £500 to the scholarship.
Following a performance at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Gala Dinner on 1 October 2011, they were invited by professional golfer Colin Montgomerie to sing at a fundraiser for his own charity, Maggie's Cancer Care.
On 3 March 2012, the group competed for the fourth time in The Voice Festival UK, entering the St Andrews Regional Round. The group won the round, as well as the award for 'Outstanding Performance', and progressed to the final in London, where they won the award for 'Outstanding Arrangement' for their song 'Skinny Love'. Shortly afterwards, the group performed for the English National Ballet at their annual Gala Fundraiser held in The Dorchester. Pictures of the performance were published in Tatler.
Almost a year after the anniversary of "Royal Romance", the group revealed plans for their latest project, a charity video and single in aid of Breast Cancer Care entitled "St Andrews Girls". As part of the filming process, the group invited girls from St Andrews to be a part of the video during a special day of recording in St Salvator's Quad, St Andrews, on 22 April 2012. The single was released onto YouTube on 15 May 2012. On 22 May, the group revealed on their Facebook page that after one week, the song had raised over £1000 for Breast Cancer Care, and they had received statements of support from Colin Montgomerie, ex-member Jules Knight, and Dawn Porter, as well as several companies featured in the video, including Barbour and Hunter Boots. As of 23 October 2012, the video has amassed over 100,000 views.
Work on the group's Christmas EP, entitled The Other Guys' Christmas, began on 1 October 2012 and was completed five days later. The album was released on 26 November, and contained 8 tracks, including an original, entitled "Christmas Gets Worse Every Year", written and arranged by friend of the group, Oscar Foxley.
The group then revealed plans to release the original track as a single as part of a campaign to achieve the UK Christmas number one. The campaign was launched on December 5 with the single made available for purchase in conjunction with a video on YouTube. As of 12 January 2013, the song had peaked at number 2 on the Amazon.com Bestsellers Chart, had amassed over 130,000 views on YouTube, and had attracted media attention on Classic FM, BBC Reporting Scotland and the Scottish Daily Mail on Sunday. The group had also received backing on Twitter from Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry, as well as other members of the musical community, including Eric Whitacre and members of Pentatonix. In the first week the song was eligible for the Official Charts, it reached number 9 on the independent chart and number 32 on the Scottish charts.
|Jules Kay||Now Jules Knight, later co-founded classical quartet Blake|
|Henry Synge||Highly Commended Soloist: VF-UK 2011 Semi Final|
|David Borowsky||MD||Outstanding Vocal Percussion: 2008 ICCA Semi Final; Outstanding Soloist: 2009 VF-UK Final|
|Rory Feilen||Outstanding Choreography: 2008 ICCA Quarter Final|
|Iain Glen||Outstanding Arrangement: 2010 VF-UK Semi Final|
|Rob Baggott la Velle|
|Richard Phillips||Outstanding Arrangement: 2012 VF-UK Final|