The Early Years
In the fall of 1992, three members of the University of Maryland Treblemakers, Kera Rennert, Kelly Gillis, and Galeet Dardashti, became disillusioned with the group’s all-female format and decided to create the University's first co-ed a cappella group. Thus, in January 1993, Faux Paz was born under the name “The Looney Tunes,” and acquired eight other members through the founders’ auditions, including Raj Gupta, Case Ahr, Michael Ahr, Tom Koo, Kazu Takeda, Christoph Drieschner, Megan Truesdell, and Terry McClain.
During its first semester, the group went through a bit of an identity crisis. “The Looney Tunes” became a somewhat unpopular name for the group, and the members began to toss around names like “Skeleton Crew,” “The Scherzophrenics,” and “The Accidentals.” Then, someone suggested “The Faux Posse,” which for some reason met with less resistance than the other suggestions. The three founders made the executive decision to scrap “The Looney Tunes” and adopt the name “The Faux Paz” on the basis that no one in the group hated it. The name stuck, and its bilingual French-Spanish translation of “false peace” proved very appropriate for the group, due to its initially tense relationship with the University’s other a cappella groups. Faux’s logo also reflected that sentiment: the inverted treble clef turns the Treblemakers’ logo upside down.
Faux Paz Now
Since that first year, Faux Paz has continued to grow in popularity throughout College Park and beyond. The group has traveled all over the country to perform at universities, high schools, and private events in Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. Faux has also frequently competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). After only four years of existence, Faux Paz placed third at the 1997 ICCA Quarterfinals for the Southern region, marking the beginning of a successful journey in multiple ICCAs. In 2002, after earning first place at both Semifinals and Quarterfinals and winning multiple special awards for Vocal Percussion, Arrangement, and Soloist, the group advanced to the International Finals at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, where they were judged as one of the top four collegiate a cappella groups in North America. In 2008, the group placed first at Quarterfinals and third at Semifinals, in addition to winning Outstanding Vocal Percussion awards for Jon Resnick’s performance in both competitions.
Faux Paz advanced to Semifinals in the 2011 ICCA after placing second in the Quarterfinal and winning the Outstanding Soloist award for Laura Palantone’s performance of “I Surrender”. The group placed third in the 2012 Semifinal after placing first in the Quarterfinal and winning Outstanding Choreography for the entire set and Outstanding Vocal Percussion for Mike Lanzo’s performance of “The Lonely”. Faux placed second in the 2013 Quarterfinal and fourth at Semifinals in Nashville, along with awards for Best Choreography for the entire set and Best Vocal Percussion by Chris Lim for the entire set. Faux Paz had an exciting run in the 2014 ICCA. They placed second in the Quarterfinal at Johns Hopkins University and Sarah Sexton was awarded the Outstanding Soloist award for “Skinny Love”. At Semifinals in Nashville, Faux placed fourth overall and Chris Lim was awarded Best Vocal Percussion for the entire set for the second year in a row!
2015 was another incredibly successful year for Faux Paz in the ICCA. For the first time in over a decade, the group advanced to International Finals on Broadway’s The Beacon Theatre in New York City. Faux was crowned the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Champions at Semifinals and placed first at Quarterfinals with awards for Best Choreography and Best Soloist for Lynique Webster’s performance of “Come Into My Head”. Most recently, Faux Paz was once again crowned Mid-Atlantic Champions in the ICCA 2016 season after placing second in the Quarterfinal. At the 2016 ICCA Finals, on the same stage for the second year in a row, the group performed an amazing set. This time, Faux Paz was awarded third place with the highest score given to a co-ed group. Faux was fortunate to receive many special awards throughout the 2016 competition for Outstanding Soloist (Lynique Webster for “Dog Days Are Over” at Finals and Mid-Atlantic Semifinals), Outstanding Vocal Percussion (Lucas Tax for “Where Are Ü Now” at Mid-Atlantic Semifinals and Regional Quarterfinals), and Outstanding Arrangement (Joshua Singer for “Mad World” at Regional Quarterfinals).
During the past extremely successful year for Faux Paz, the group has been followed by Pop Television’s aca-docu series, Sing It On, from Executive Producer John Legend. The group is featured on Season Two, which premieres Wednesday July 27th, 2016 at 9P/8c! To find your channel, visit poptv.com and make sure to tune in every Wednesday at 8P/7c. For exclusive sneak peeks and Sing It On updates, be sure to follow Faux Paz on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Albums and Awards
Faux Paz has released eight studio albums and is currently developing their ninth record with The Vocal Company. The group’s first two albums, …ends with a Z (2001) and We Steal Your Songs (2003), each garnered reviews of four out of five from the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). The group’s third album, For Lack of a Better Word, was released two years later in July of 2005. In April 2007, Faux released its fourth studio album, Crisis Control, which received national attention. Three different tracks from the album were selected for the national and international "best-of" compilation albums: BOCA 2008: Best of College A Cappella, Sing IV: Good Medicine, and Voices Only 2007. In addition, the album was nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate Album in the 2008 CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards). In April 2009, Faux Paz released its fifth album, Busy Work, which was awarded 4.3 stars by RARB. Additionally, "Flashing Lights" was featured on the "best-of" compilation album, Voices Only 2009.
Faux Paz’s sixth album REV was released at the 20th Anniversary Big Show in April 2013 and received an overall rating of 4 out of 5 by RARB. REV is Faux’s first album available for digital download on iTunes and Loudr, as well as for listening on Spotify and SoundCloud. REV physical copies are also available for purchase here. A year later, Faux Paz completed their seventh album, Chaos, which was released in November 2014. Chaos marked the first collaboration between Faux Paz and the renowned a cappella recording label, The Vocal Company, and was also the first album to be given a 4.7 out of 5 by RARB. The album also received 3 CARA nominations in the Mixed Collegiate Group category, including Best Mixed Collegiate Album, Best Mixed Collegiate Song (“I Was Here”), and received the runner-up title for Best Mixed Collegiate Solo (Lynique Webster for “I Was Here”). Chaos is available for physical purchase here, and for digital listening on iTunes, Spotify, Loudr, and SoundCloud.
The most recent release by Faux Paz was their eighth studio album in 2015. The self-titled Faux Paz features tracks from the group's ICCA set that brought them to the 2015 International Finals. The album received an excellent review with a rating of 4.3 out of 5 by RARB. Faux Paz also received 4 CARA nominations including Best Mixed Collegiate Album, Best Collegiate Solo (Lynique Webster for “Come Into My Head”), Best Electronic/Experimental Song (“Our Own House”), and received the runner-up title for Best Mixed Collegiate Song ("Come Into My Head") . The opener track, "Come Into My Head" is also featured on the compilation albums, Sing 12: This Big! by the Contemporary A Cappella Society, and Voices Only 2016 by Voices Only A Cappella. Faux Paz is available for physical purchase here, and for digital listening on iTunes, Spotify, Loudr, and SoundCloud.
Faux Paz is currently recording its ninth studio album in partnership with The Vocal Company. The album will include Faux’s entire 2016 ICCA set, which brought them to International Finals for the second year in a row and earned them the third place award amongst many others. Stay tuned for updates regarding the newest album by following Faux Paz on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!