Ohio native hits big with work on Glee cover song
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Along with 10.9 million viewers last Tuesday, Ed Boyer and his wife were at home watching
Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” episode on FOX. For this Marion, Ohio native, a segment of the
episode represented a proud mark of achievement.
Boyer, who now resides in Ridgefield, Conn., arranged and co-engineered the instant-hit
a cappella cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” for the popular show.
“Growing up in Ohio near where Glee is set and having sung in showchoir and played football,
the whole idea of the show naturally strikes a lot of nerves,” said Boyer, a 1999 Marion Harding
High School graduate and 2004 graduate of Tufts University and New England Conservatory of
Music. “Actually being part of it just takes that surreal feeling over the top.”
|What do you think has
made Glee successful?
I'm no expert
on these things,
but here's my
philosophy: If you're the
type of person who thinks
singing and dancing around
to cheesy pop tunes is the
best thing ever, you love
this show for obvious
reasons. If you're someone
who thinks that's all a
bunch of crap, then you
watch the show because,
deep down, you like seeing
Sue Sylvester take them
down a notch. It speaks to
everyone's guilty pleasures.
ridiculous and self-aware."
Out Of The Blue ootb646.com
The Glee Cast version of “Teenage
Dream” quickly hit No. 1 on iTunes
and debuted this week at No. 1 on
Billboard’s Digital Songs chart as
well as No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The actual backing vocals heard
during the episode’s all-male “Dalton
Academy Warblers” performance are
those of Tufts University a cappella
group The Beelzebubs (the Bubs)
from Medford, Mass., the group
Boyer worked with on the track.
“They [Glee] contacted the Bubs,
an a cappela group I was in at Tufts.
I've done all their production and
recording work over the last eight
years or so, so they called me and
roped me into the project,” he said.
This project was appropriate for
the Bubs as they have previously
released albums with a cappella
cover songs, including: “Mama, I’m
Coming Home” (Ozzy), “All The
Love In The World” (Nine Inch Nails),
“Rebel Yell” (Billy Idol), “Livin’ On
The Edge” (Aerosmith), “Typical”
(Mute Math) and many more.
A cappella is Boyer’s specialty and
he has worked with more than 100
clients independently or as collabs.
Ed Boyer (far right, green cap) stands with studio workers, members of
the Bubs and Ricky Martin, who randomly stopped in to hear the track.
Submitted Enlarge Photo
The 29-year-old also works on the all-a cappella competitive reality show The Sing-Off on
NBC, which is where he was when the Glee request came.
“I got a call while I was still in L.A. for The Sing-Off,” he said. “I arranged it out there and gave
it to the group to learn. I flew back [to New York] a couple days later to start the recording.”
Considering Glee records all of its music in L.A. with the same producers and musicians,
Boyer said hiring an outside group and producer to record at an outside studio in New York
was risky for them.
“The Bubs really wanted me involved, so it was ultimately decided that they’d have their
producer [Tommy Faragher] there to oversee the sessions, but that I’d be doing the bulk of
the hands-on creative stuff,” said Boyer.
The decision for the Bubs to cover “Teenage Dream” was made by Glee's production team.
“I know they wanted something current and something that fit the script of a teenager falling in
love, so it was a natural choice,” Boyer said.
Boyer didn't work directly with the song’s lead vocalist, Glee actor Darren Criss (brother of
Freelance Whales' member Chuck Criss), but he put his skills into many aspects of the song.
“Although I was involved with arranging, directing, recording, editing and mixing, I’ll only
technically be credited with arranging, [which is] basically coming up with the specific parts
for the singers to perform, and co-engineering, meaning I recorded half the tracks in my
home studio,” he said.
Boyer said the most challenging part was making time adjustments to the song.
“Sorting out initial logistics was difficult, but once we figured out a plan for the creative
process and got contracts signed, it was pretty smooth sailing,” Boyer said. “Creatively, the
only hard part was figuring out how to cut a 3.5 minute song down to a 2 minute time slot. We
spent a lot of time splicing together pieces of the song and saying: ‘oh, that’s cool’ or ‘no, that
doesn't quite work.’”
The recording process in New York lasted for three consecutive days.
As for Katy Perry, she responded to the song with a tweet: “Oh...My...Gosh... this just brought
a sweet tear to my eye! Teenage Dream on GLEE makes my heart go WEEEEE!” Perry
extended her comments in a recent interview with Access Hollywood on NBC: "I love when
any of my songs are remixed or interpreted differently, I love that. I really welcome a creative
mind to anything."
Boyer is currently working on season two of The Sing-Off which premiers Dec. 6 on NBC.
“I help coach singers and mix the performance audio as well as write and record a lot of the
background music,” he said. “Right now promotion for that is ramping up. I’ll be mixing
singers for their performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and possibly a few
As for involvement with future episodes of Glee, Boyer said it’s likely but not certain.
“There are more songs in the works, but nothing’s certain until it airs. You never know when a
script will change,” he said.
The success of Glee's “Teenage Dream” is a big feather in the cap for Boyer and he
attributes such achievement to those who strongly encouraged him to participate in things.
Boyer said: “Growing up, I was pretty lucky to be surrounded by good people: peers,
instructors, the community in general. But the most important people in my life were by far
my family. They made me go out and participate in as many things as possible until I found
my niche. Without that, there’s no way I’d be doing what I do.”
Katy Perry performing her hit "I Kissed
A Girl" at Vans Warped Tour in Cincinnati.
OOTB Enlarge Photo
Singer Darren Criss performs "Teenage Dream" on Glee acting as Blaine
with the show's Dalton Academy Warblers. FOX TV Enlarge Photo