The Exchange (link- http://www.exchangevocal.com/) is an American A Cappella Quintet. All the sounds are formed by the human voice, from the lyrics to the drums. The international phenomenon was formed by Christopher Diaz and Aaron Sperber during NBC’s The SingOff, and they were soon joined by Jamal Moore and Richard Steighner and added Alfredo Austin a few months after the show’s finale.
Since 2012, it has been an incredible journey for the five singers: 32 European cities with The Backstreet Boys, 8 tours around the world, Season 5 of NBC’s The Sing Off, dozens of singles and videos, 3 albums with songs on iTunes Vocal Top 20, award winning studio albums, and headliners for festivals throughout Australia, Europe, Asia as well as a massive 56 city Sony/LiveNation sponsored US tour.
The Exchange’s performing style is fresh, exciting and interactive. Think of the movie Pitch Perfect live and in your face. The 5 vocalists do more than sing and beatbox. They connect with and inspire young people around the world as Cultural Ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State.
The Exchange Bios
With The Exchange, every show is half concert, half house party. It’s a chance to interact, and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. The five guys on stage are proof; at first glance, they’re almost too different. Each is a powerhouse, but with his own distinct voice and style. It’s the fusion of their contrasting roots–r&b, rock, gospel, opera, and hip-hop—that ignites The Exchange’s explosive energy. What unifies the musical melting pot? The voice. The band will continue to blend different styles and instrumentations, but its sound will always be defined by the raw, soulful power of the human voice. Why “The Exchange”? The guys met on set of a singing competition, seeming to have little in common. They learned first-hand that differences are not to be feared; that embracing them can produce something special. As they shared riffs, beats, jokes and life stories, tensions eased and they became friends. They discovered the power in combining their different strengths, and decided to pursue their dreams as a team, rather than alone. Together, they strive to live their name; to use music to bring people together, to share ideas, culture, and humanity. In just its first year, the band “exchanged” around the globe, from London to Hong Kong, Alaska to Dubai, Vegas to Singapore, and The Virgin Islands to Australia. In 2014, The Exchange opened for the Backstreet Boys on the European leg of the In A World Like This World Tour, including a performance at London’s O2 Arena in front of 15,000 fans. The guys followed that up with an appearance on Season 5 of NBC’s The Sing-Off where they were finalists on the program and headlined a 56-city national tour across the United States. Among the stops on this tour was a performance at the famous (and sold out) Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Additionally, the Exchange and its members have shared the stage with the likes of Olly Murs, Flo Rida, Sara Bareilles, Wynton Marsalis, Boyz II Men; partnered with McDonalds, Kraft, and NY Giants; and were featured on The Daily Show, Rolling Stone, Ryan Seacrest, Perez Hilton, and Entertainment Weekly. Recently, The Exchange released a brand-new a cappella album titled Pursuit. Pursuit features cover songs The Exchange performed on The Sing-Off, original music, and more! The album is available online for digital download (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pursuit/id969579489), and the band has been selling the album successfully at touring/performance locations around the world. Traveling has convinced The Exchange that the key to global progress is education, and that music can be the first spark that gets kids ready to learn. Wherever they go, the guys always work to set aside time to connect with young people through school workshops. The Exchange participated in the American Music Abroad Program in 2015 and toured through Azerbijian, Georgia, Kazahstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.
ALFREDO AUSTIN: The Soul
Alfredo Adolfo Austin III, “Fredo,” is a soulful, gritty vocal powerhouse. Onstage, he holds nothing back; restraint is not in his vocabulary. Whether Motown, hip-hop, rock, or a ballad, Fredo takes you on a ride. His smoky, sensual mid-range supports his passionate wailing high notes; he can move and groove on stage with the best. Raised in Delaware by his Panamanian father and American mother, Fredo’s musical athleticism had its roots playing linebacker on the football field. He owes his distinctive sound to an elbow to the throat that left him with only one healthy vocal chord. Alfredo is not just cool; he’s also a geeky teddy bear, with an unforgettable smile. A closet left-brained genius, Fredo earned a degree in Music Business from the University of Delaware. His math mind and tech skills make him a stand-out recording engineer and music arranger. He is known for recording in his hotel room studio from midnight to dawn, roommate or not.
CHRISTOPHER DIAZ: The Heart
Chris is a giant. Giant height, giant range, giant heart. At 6 foot 4, (6-6 when his mohawk is at its prime), Chris towers over many, yet is never intimidating. His warm and relaxed way puts others at ease. Even addressing a crowd of thousands, he seems like he is chatting with each person one-on-one. Chris is known for his resonant low notes, but he catches audiences by surprise with his soaring high notes. As The Exchange’s resident hipster, it’s hard to find Chris wearing something other than skinny jeans, flowing tops, and beanies. Raised in Virginia, Chris embodies the American melting pot: half black, half white, with a Latin-influenced upbringing. Chris learned at a young age to overcome life’s obstacles by turning to music as a guiding light; this ultimately led to conservatory operatic training and a degree in Voice Performance from Florida State University. His love for a cappella music and uncanny ability to connect with just about anyone led him to become an internationally sought after vocal coach, and eventually, a vocal producer on NBC’s The Sing-Off. Beyond music, Chris is a connoisseur of world culture. He picks up languages wherever music takes him, reads global news daily, and cooks fine world cuisine, to the delight of his kitchen-clumsy band mates..
JAMAL MOORE: The Charm
What do you get when you blend Nat King Cole and Andre 3000? Jamal Moore. Born in Augusta, GA, Jamal was raised on gospel music in the church. Recruited by The Eastman School of Music for his rich baritone voice, he traded in his hip-hop/R&B aspirations for opera, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance. At Eastman, Jamal won the coveted William Warfield Award an unprecedented three years in a row. He also met Aaron, the two became best friends, and led their a cappella group to national attention on NBC’s The Sing-Off. Now, in The Exchange, Jamal no longer has to choose one musical passion over another. He fuses them all with class and finesse. No matter the style, his iconic warm, smooth deep voice captures hearts in every corner of the globe. Jamal is a true Southern gentleman. With impeccable manners and sense of style, he charms attractive young ladies, and enlists parents to see him as their ideal son-in-law. Despite all these gifts, Jamal remains humble, genuine, and strong in his faith.
AARON SPERBER: The Spark
Aaron is known for his high, pure voice and his fun-loving “can-do” attitude. As the founder of The Exchange, Aaron’s entrepreneurial spirit and knack for brokering unlikely partnerships have taken the group to dozens of countries across five continents. He has played cello since age three and piano since age ten. At twelve, his cello playing earned him the Yo-Yo Ma Music Ambassador Award, for which he had written an essay laying out his career aspirations of becoming an International Music Ambassador! He holds degrees in Voice Performance from The Eastman School and in International Relations from URochester. Aaron is the producer of a documentary film called United We Sing, about a musical humanitarian mission he led in rural Kenya. The film’s message is that music can connect the world and inspire young people to find meaning and direction in their lives. At home, as an answer to cuts in school music programs, Aaron started an inner city a cappella program based on the principles of United We Sing. Aaron’s unapologetic optimism is infectious; he integrates dreams with the pragmatism and work ethic to make sure they happen.
RICHARD STEIGHNER: The Mystique
Richard is a modern, mysterious Renaissance Man. As the group’s primary beatboxer, Richard is known to many as “Robot,” named for his superhuman ability to create cyberlike sound effects, using only his mouth. Ironically, this mouth magician doesn’t speak much, but Robot doesn’t need words to captivate a crowd. Before the song starts, Richard has already drawn in his audience with his timeless good looks and his quiet intensity. But the downbeat flips Robot’s switch to on and unleashes his raw, off-thewall, explosive energy. Not to be limited to “the drums,” Richard impresses with his earthy, honest rockabilly solo voice. The story behind Robot’s intrigue began in the mountains of Colorado, where his creative bent found many outlets. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Psychology from the University of Colorado, taught himself rock guitar, started his own furniture company, and became a master web designer. How Richard manages to morph all this creativity into one human being will likely remain an unsolvable mystery.