After being featured on John Krasinski’s web show Some Good News and receiving recognition from Emmy award winning actor, Eugene Levy, for their cover of “The Best,” they’re back with another cover this time featuring their Squad Juniors. With the spiking numbers in Corona Virus and further being trapped in their house, Squad Harmonix decided to do an adorable rendition of the Canadian electro-funk duo, Chromeo’s “Clorox Wipe”. Squad Harmonix cares a lot about teaching youth and children to stand up for causes they believe in, which even means influencing them with a silly song to be serious about taking safety precautions surrounding COVID-19.
I got the chance to speak with Laura Saggers the manager and director of one of the most prestigious acapella groups Squad Harmonix;
You were born in the UK and moved to America, what compelled you to move to the U.S.?
As my accent may fool some, I was actually born in San Francisco so I had an American Passport already. I was adopted by Brits and moved back to the Motherland after several years, so returning to the States wasn’t particularly difficult with regards to papers. Moving back to the States was a dream I had had for a while. I had graduated from University with a degree in Music Business and my creative mind was constantly buzzing with ideas I wanted to try out. I love to challenge myself and LA is considered the center of the music industry alongside New York so figured why not give it my all and see what happens. At first it was strange, moving to a city where I knew no one. However, I found it so easy to dive right into the heart of the music scene and start creating and exploring that I soon adapted. A day wouldn’t go by where I wasn’t buzzing around from one project to the next, learning a new skill, understanding how the industry operated. I have learned so much having moved out here and it is such an exciting new chapter to be able to pass that knowledge on to my students to help give them a head start in their musical journeys, while at all times making sure they stay grounded.
Do you ever miss being back in the U.K., and if so what do you miss the most?
I do. England will be the place I hold my dearest memories. My tween and teen years created some of my most favorite memories. We lived in a quaint little British village on the outskirts of London and I am always grateful for the experiences and upbringing that took place there. The countryside is absolutely stunning and the friends I made have lasted me through my move. Luckily with advancements in technology, it is so easy now to stay in touch. When I go back it is like nothing happened and we are all teens again.
So tell me what got you interested in music?
My parents were massive music lovers. Music was constantly being played in our house. My mum would rock out to the Sound of Music when we were driving, my dad would blast INXS followed by George Michael, Elton John or Carly Simone. During the weekends we would have classical guitar music playing during our long Sunday brunches and then Mum could be heard singing along to Pavarotti while doing the cleaning, and I sang along to anything Disney related. They exposed me to Ballets like the Nutcracker, Musicals at the West End, Jazz at local restaurants. At the age of 5 I begged and begged and begged for piano lessons and honestly, never looked back.
You’re the manager and director of this fantastic group of singers Squad Harmonix, how did your involvement in this begin?
After moving over, I started the LJMA (Laura Jean Music Academy) where I was teaching roughly 40 students weekly, while also developing myself as an artist and musician in Los Angeles. Most of my students have stayed with me for many years and I started noticing that there was no outlet for my advanced young singers to progress into contemporary music. Sure, there are local musical theater programs, classical choirs but that was it. My students are not fame crazy, nor do I encourage it. I have had a waiting list for nearly three years now and I simply will not take on a family if I can smell a stage mom. Education and character first. It takes a village to raise a child and I am so close to each and every student that I would consider most of them family. Many don’t want to go down the whole Hollywood path of ‘home school, get an agent, make this a career.’ But these kids were getting really, really good and there just wasn’t anywhere for them to grow or get the experience I wanted them to have in order to understand what it truly is like in the industry. I noticed during our bi-annual big recitals my students loved seeing each other. Many went to different schools, but I would pair them up together with different people so they got to work with others and this beautiful bond was created. There was always such a warm loving vibe at the recitals and the kids always looked forward to seeing each other. I wanted to offer my students a team environment, something like Pro Soccer but for singers. A goal to work towards where they could develop skills they wouldn’t normally be able to achieve in solo class while also getting a chance to shine personally, but with a group of friends. A Cappella has all that. And Squad Harmonix was formed.
For up and coming singers, what does someone need to do if they want to be a part of Squad Harmonix Juniors?
To become a member at Junior level all you need to have is a hard work ethic and a decent solo voice. We will teach you the rest. To audition, you just need to send in a video of your child singing a verse and chorus of their favorite pop song and we will let them know if they are ready for Squad. If not we will suggest private lessons from our specialist teachers to get them up to speed.
Now they have a new song out called “Clorox Wipe”, how did this idea come about to write a song helping combat COVID-19?
During my private lessons I have been hosting online recitals for my students. They are so much fun and bring the whole family together. I teach a family of three girls who are in Squad and we were going through our song choices for their next private online recital. They brought this song to my attention. I had never heard it before, but they begged and begged to do it. Some of the lyrics were a little too suggestive for my liking, considering how young they were, however the beat was infectious. It is SUCH a groovy song, so catchy and completely perfect for kids. So after adjusting a few lyrics here and there to make it kid friendly, we decided to turn it into a full Squad number. The original group, Chromeo, showed us so much love when we released it by sharing the video and posting how great it was. The kids started screaming knowing that their idols had acknowledged them. It was so sweet. Brought so much joy to them during this time.
The video is very fun, how did the idea for the video come about, and how challenging was it putting the video together?
Thank you! First off we have all songs custom arranged to suit children’s voices. Most A Cappella music is designed for advanced adult singers. Since the skill to sing A Cappella is so advanced, it is saved for much older teens so the range is generally unsuitable for young tender voices who are in the midst of development. We teach the harmonies and choreography in class in online breakout rooms via Zoom. They audition for solos in front of everyone and we also work on recording techniques, as well as teaching them how to get the best light from their house when filming to make it look really professional. Our team decides on a color pallet for the videos, order outfits online, and have them sent to each kid so they can start filming. That way we touch nothing and the kids are able to do all of this in the safety of their own homes without ever having to leave it. They upload the footage to our server and our wonderful editing team edits it all together and voilà! It is a huge amount of work but it is so worth it. It is the creative outlet so many of the kids are craving during this time and we have had nothing but wonderful feedback from all the parents. They get to sing, dance, audition, and it gets turned into a professional looking, high quality music video that is released on YouTube. To a kid who is really down and miserable at home who absolutely loves to sign and work hard, this is absolutely awesome.
What’s the next chapter you have in store for Squad Harmonix?
We are releasing our very first 5 track Holiday E.P this Thanksgiving weekend on all streaming platforms, as well as three brand new music videos being released during the month of December to promote it. The kids have been working so hard and we can’t wait to brighten everyone’s day with our festive outfits, dance moves and harmonies. Look out for the “Run Run Rudolph” one. That is my favorite, it is such a fun video! After that we are releasing our debut full album late January, so please make sure to follow us on Spotify and sign up to our newsletter via
SquadHarmonix.com for more updates.
It’s been a pleasure having you but before we go is there anything you would like to say to everyone out there in OLC! world?
COVID is wretched. Everyone is suffering but especially the kids and my heart goes out to every single one of them. We really hope our videos bring some smiles to kids out there. We welcome any singing loving kids to audition as it is such a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for kids, which is something they all really need right now. Thank you so much for having us! xox