Derek Fuhrmann - vocals/guitar
Shawn Manigly - guitar
Josh Berger - bass
Tyler Ingersoll - drums
Jamie Orlando - keyboards
Omnisoul, a five-man outfit that create a refreshing and completely unique sound, is poised to explode into the national consciousness with their debut album, Things That Could Be Said in much the same way they have in their native Delaware.
The driving force of Omnisoul is front man and singer/songwriter Derek Fuhrmann. ?I really hadn?t thought much about a music career until high school,? he recalls, ?and even then I only discovered I could sing by accident -- I wanted to be an actor. I was told that to be an actor, I had to learn how to sing. I wanted to see if that was possible, and people started telling me I was good.?
Entering college at the University of Delaware exposed Fuhrmann?s to classic rock acts like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin as well as guitar-centric outfits like Radiohead and Dave Matthews Band. By his sophomore year he?d begun playing guitar, ?and I almost immediately started writing my own songs. I decided that I wanted to surround myself with people who were more advanced musically than I was, since I?d only been playing guitar for a couple of months.?
In an au courant twist from the usual way of choosing band members, Furhmann went online and started doing profile searches for ?University of Delaware students, piano? and so on, collecting an immediate database of potential partners. ?That way I was able to cherry pick the type of band I wanted to create,? he explains, ?although Jamie was the only one who actually was willing to meet with me and join. Everybody else,? he chuckles, kind of ignored my instant messages.?
?Jamie? is keyboardist Jamie Orlando, a self-taught musician who?d played in everything from jazz to techno bands before that fateful first meeting with Fuhrmann. ?When I first met Derek he had only been playing guitar for a couple of months ? I wasn?t sure what to think, but then he started singing and I realized that this was something I should stick with.?
?I didn?t even know how to read sheet music at that point,? Fuhrmann adds, ?and here he was with a book of jazz standards. Instead I asked him to improvise over my guitar playing and vocals. I figured if he didn?t want to do that, he was not the guy for me, but he went along with it. As a result I?ve learned a lot from Jamie.?
In the meantime, fellow Delaware students Josh Berger (bass) and Tyler Ingersoll (drums) had been playing together in a number of bands. ?I?d met Tyler during our freshman year, when I was still playing guitar,? Berger recalls. ?He came over to my place one day and we just played all day and into the night. The police finally came and shut us down.? The pair was eventually drafted into Omnisoul, to be joined a short time afterwards by guitarist Shawn Manigly. He had sung with Fuhrmann for about three years in a campus a capella group before auditioning for Omnisoul.
Realizing that a fiercely held passion for music might not be enough, Fuhrmann and Orlando took music management courses. ?That helped give the band direction,? says Ingersoll. ?We would come up with a list of goals every six months, and we were usually able to check each of them off at the end of those six months. Today the list is a little shorter, since we?ve done so much over such a short period of time.?
One of those goals was to build a fan base of at least 25 people who?d come to every show ? not counting people the group already knew. ?We thought that would be impossible, but we blew that number out of the water pretty quickly,? Fuhrmann says. Winning a Battle of the Bands during what was its first real gig gave the group even more motivation. ?It?s about the music first ? about it being a great deal of fun and being something we?re passionate about,? Fuhrmann says. ?But there?s also the business aspect ? which we take seriously too. We know that if we want to achieve our goals and build a long career, we have to take it seriously.? Another huge burst of optimism came when WSTW, Delaware?s Top 40 radio station jumped all over Omnisoul?s song, Waiting, leading to its eventual inclusion on CBS? Joan of Arcadia and in the feature film Fantastic Four. As the principal songwriter, Fuhrmann says he never lacks for ideas: ?It?s working off memories a lot of the time, which can be very inspiring.? He then presents songs to the group, who each strive to put their own stamp on the song.
Omnisoul worked with producer Gregg Wattenberg (Five For Fighting) and engineer Greg Gordon (Jet, Oasis) in recording Things That Could Be Said. The five band members are filled with awe at the possibilities that lie ahead, as well as confidence that their quick maturation will come across. ?Music is a language, and we want to touch as many people as possible with it,? says Berger. ?Other than that, our goal is simple: world domination.? He adds with a laugh: ?I?m only slightly kidding.?
?A lot of the songs I write deal with experiences, either personal or otherwise,? adds Furhmann. ?I hope that people will relate to the album?to me, that?s the greatest thing. It?s what makes playing music so rewarding.?