By Marla Santos
Where can you hear the songs “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from Lion King, Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” all on the same stage — and without a band? The answer is MO5AIC. This five-man group performs completely a cappella – well, not exactly in the traditional format. They use only their voices to sing, but you won’t see a backup band performing behind them on stage – rather, a full band of instrumentation is created by MO5AIC, by using their voices, alone. Tony Bennett describes them as: “The best vocal group I’ve ever heard,” should inspire you to see their show, if nothing else. MO5AIC was the winner of MTV’s “Top Pop Group” in 2008, and in 2009 they became a semifinalist in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. They won two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards for their debut album: Will Sing 4 Food. They even performanced on cruise ships – and then George Wallace got wind of them. Wallace hired MO5AIC to open for him nightly at the Flamingo Las Vegas, where they performed with him for over three years. Wallace joked with audiences, saying: “Each one of these is my kids. I met their mothers in different places… the tall kid, Josh – I met his mother in Colorado, and I met another mother in Jamaica.” They’ve also been featured in V—The Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Opening for such stars as Prince, Stevie Wonder, Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo, and Jay Leno, they have made a name for themselves nationwide. This past September they started a yearlong Vegas residency, headlining their own show at LVH’s Shimmer Cabaret. Combining music genres such as pop, rock, jazz, R&B and funk, they are drawing in all ages to their show.
Josh Huslig, the group’s founder, can’t be missed, even in Vegas, with his multi-hued and platinum blond Mohawk. Singing in vocal groups at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, 12 years ago he recruited other talents to form MO5AIC. The band MO5AIC consists of Josh as bass and baritone, Jake Moulton as the beatbox (performing vocal percussion and bass), Heath Burgett as tenor, Corwyn Hodge as tenor, and Roopak Ahuja as baritone and tenor. Each member is skilled in music, instruments and vocals.
As a child, Josh was exposed to the sound of vocal music on family road trips, with a cappella music blasting from the station wagon tape deck. Josh can pinpoint the exact moment he decided that vocal music would be his future: when he first heard Prince’s “7” while attending high school in Colorado. He began studying layered vocals and unique harmonies to achieve specific sounds. He earned a degree in Opera and Musical Theatre, and sang and/or arranged music for Walt Disney World, Warner Bros., MTV, America’s Got Talent, and the Grammy Awards. He creates the bass guitar in MO5AIC.
Jake Moulton mimics the sounds of a drum kit and the technical beatboxing heard in hip-hop. He also does guitar, flute, and harmonica. His ability in doing this is nothing short of amazing. Jake has shared the stage with Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Kenny G, and Sheryl Crow. He has been featured on The Academy Awards, Monday Night Football, and in commercials for the NBA Finals.
Heath Burgett grew up with a preacher as his father, exposing him at a young age to Gospel music. He spent his early years in Winter Haven, Florida, while singing tenor in churches and prisons across the country. With his love of Gospel music and R&B, he sought out a career in music and landed a job with Universal Studios. He has worked with artists like Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men, Sheila E., and Yolanda Adams.
Corwyn Hodge is from Louisville, Kentucky, and has a BFA in Musical Theatre. He has performed singing tenor as Simba in The Lion King, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Daniel in Once On This Island. Corwyn was featured on the soundtrack of the film, The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Gina Davis, and has worked with Patti LaBelle and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls.
Roopak Ahuja comes from a family of musicians and artists traced back to 19th century India. After getting his vocal training at Berklee College of Music in Boston singing both tenor and baritone, he has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and his compositions and voice have been featured on the National Geographic Channel and on NBC’s “The Sing-Off”.
The 350-seat Shimmer Cabaret showroom has the perfect acoustics and intimacy for MO5AIC – allowing the audience to get up close and personal with the group – leaving you wondering where “the band” is. I would go see them again, just to hear their amazingly beautiful rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – which everyone knows is a technical challenge for singers to perform accurately. But MO5AIC rocks it!
MO5AIC performs on select nights in LVH’s Shimmer Cabaret at 8:30pm. Mo5aic.com