When the vocal quintet Sonos is introduced on the season debut of NBC’s “Sing Off,” airing at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, it’ll be identified as a Los Angeles group.
But two of the singers, Ben McLain, 28, and Jessica Freedman, 24, are from Santa Rosa. Sonos, formed in 2006, is now based in Los Angeles and tours nationwide, with a third CD coming out soon on the Verve label.
The new season of “Sing Off” features 16 groups competing for a $200,000 cash prize and a Sony Music recording contract, with the live finale Nov. 28.
But to McLain, the greatest value of this new adventure may be the connections he’s making with other singers on the show.
“I’ve met so many amazing people,” McLain said. “There are so many talented groups on this show. I’ve made friends and found musical partners I want to work with again.”
And, Freedman added, the group will reach the largest audience it’s ever had.
“We’ve been touring nonstop since we started doing this,” she said. “It’s amazing but grueling. We could tour and tour and tour, and never reach 10 million people.”
Invited to audition for the “Sing Off” show several times in past, Sonos finally decided to go through the audition and interview process in May, and made the final cut.
“This season, we said, let’s just go for it,” Freedman said.
Sonos is known for its use of electronic effects, blended with voices, but “Sing Off” is purely an a cappella competition, so Sonos is performing without its trademark technical components.
“That’s something new for us,” Freedman said. “It’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s still us.”
Sonos performs both original and totally reworked versions of hit songs, including the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
A third Santa Rosan and founding member of Sonos, Paul Peglar, left the group in February to pursue an acting career.
“Paul’s still a very good friend of mine,” McLain said. “We’re still in a duo comedy group together called Dakaboom.”
McLain, Freedman and Peglar all were proteges of Maria Carillo High School’s award-winning music teacher, Gail Bowers.
The Santa Rosans met the other members of Sonos — Chris Harrison, Katharine Hoye and Rachel Bearer — in Southern California.