Mitch Gulkis attended UF to study biochemistry, not to sing.
That was until the president of the UF Ukulele Club convinced him to audition for an a cappella group.
A year and a half later, Gulkis, a 19-year-old UF chemistry sophomore, became the music director for the UF a cappella group Tone Def and is now hooked on music. Its members will record their first studio album this Spring.
“One of our big goals this year was to record an album and produce something that we’d all be proud of,” Gulkis said.
The group hopes to reach its goal of raising $10,000 on its GoFundMe page to pay for recording, mixing, mastering and distributing before UF’s Spring Break, Gulkis said. As of Sunday, the group raised $1,040 from 20 people within a month.
In September 2018, Tone Def contacted Plaid Productions, a production company that members had met with at a 2017 a cappella festival in Miami. The group scheduled a recording session without audition or a waitlist, Gulkis said.
Two members of Plaid Productions will travel to Gainesville in March to record the group, said Claudia Del Pozo, the president of Tone Def. It’ll take about three to four days to record the album.
The group will record in Del Pozo’s apartment living room because Plaid Productions travels to clients’ locations for all recordings. The company will provide equipment and record each person’s part individually.
“Music is a pretty important thing to me. It’s been a major impact on my life,” said Del Pozo, a 22-year-old UF political science and international studies senior. “It’s taught me so many leadership skills. Outside of that, I’ve made awesome friends.”
Jenine Marquez, the group’s public relations manager and singer, said she is looking forward to learning more about recording an album.
“Getting the chance to do this one last thing with the group before I leave UF is really important to me,” said Marquez, a 19-year-old UF advertising senior who will graduate in May.
The album will consist of six cover songs, Del Pozo said. Although the 16-member group is not sure of the set list yet, genres may include pop, classic rock and rhythm and blues.
By Fall, the group hopes to release the album for free on services like Spotify and Apple Music, Gulkis said.
“Being in the group has given me a creative outlet to perform and sing with a bunch of other people who appreciate music as much as I do,” Marquez said. “We all love each other. It’s like a second family.”