Tag Archives: Cindy Valerus

Meet “The Sing-Off” Season 5’s Traces!

Hey, AcaFans! We are just hours away from The Sing-Off: A Special Holiday Event, and we’re back with another group interview just for you!

L to R: Tamika Gumbs, Selame Scarlett, Gbianka Kotee, Keesha Gumbs, Cindy Valerus

Allow us to introduce… Traces!

Thank you to Gbianka Kotee (GK) and Selame Scarlett (SS) for their time and answers in this interview!

AcaFanBase: Who are Traces, and how did the group get started?

GK: Traces…hmmm, we are a group of friends–now family–who love to sing, create and perform. We got started as a result of the vision of two sisters (Keesha–lead; Tamika–bass). Those two connected the rest of the group and we have been singing since. We initially started out with a band and eventually started singing a cappella.

AcaFanBase: Introduce yourselves and let us know how you each got started in music.

GK: I am Gbianka Kotee. I am the 2nd Alto. I got started in the church choir–generation gospel choir.

SS: Hi! I’m Selame Scarlett! I’m the alto 2/vocal percussionist. I started singing in my senior year of high school. I was very hesitant to try (I was strictly a violinist/pianist in orchestra), but my friend Tyler Oakley actually peer pressured me to do it, and I’m so glad that he did (Tyler O and I went to high school together ūüôā )! As for VP, I first learned through my collegiate group Capital Green via Andrea Poole, the very first female VP¬† in my co-ed group! From there, I just watched a LOT of other college groups and pro groups on YouTube and imitated their VP sounds. Practice makes perfect!

AcaFanBase: What are each of you doing now, as part of or separate from Traces?

GK: I am currently a middle school math teacher.

SS: I am a family service counselor. Basically, I help people (who have lost loved ones) through the grieving process.

AcaFanBase: Who would you say is your current fanbase for Traces?

GK: So far, I would say our current fanbase consists of members of our individual churches, long time friends, family and a few people that we have met as result of Harmony Sweeps, Boston Sings and Sing Strong. After this interview, we will definitely pick up some more because of your following.

AcaFanBase: How do you select your songs? Who does the arranging?

GK: Song selection is a collective effort. Group members usually present a song that they are interested in doing and the group usually votes on it. As far as arranging…Robert Dietz, Jamal Reed, Tom Anderson, Roger Thomas (Naturally 7) have been the main contributors to our arrangements. Although I have recently contributed as well and moving forward the group plans on being more active in that department.

AcaFanBase: What did it feel like when you found out Traces had been cast in The Sing-Off this year?

GK: Honestly, when I was speaking to one of the producers and she said it…I heard her but didn’t. Then it clicked.

SS: At first, I was in disbelief. I honestly thought they were joking. But then as I boarded the plane to LA, I thought “Welp….I guess they weren’t joking with me. THIS IS REAL LIFE. I’M GOING TO BE ON THE SING-OFF. WOW.”


AcaFanBase: What would you like to say to all of the AcaFans out there?

SS: We love that you support this art form. We left our hearts on that stage and all we want America to do (when they watch us) is to have FUN with us. As Gbianka said earlier, we are a family that loves to perform and we sincerely hope that you enjoy our performance on The Sing-Off!

Thanks again to Gbianka and Selame for giving us some background info on their group! Here’s the contact info in case you missed it in our Sing-Off Season 5 intro post.

Members:  Keesha Gumbs, Tamika Gumbs, Gbianka Kotee, Selame Scarlett, Cindy Valerus
Website: www.traces5.com
Twitter: @traces5
Facebook: www.facebook.com/traces5
YouTube: www.youtube.com/gkotee
Instagram: www.instagram.com/traces5acappella

Remember, the hashtag is #SingOff with no ‚Äúthe‚ÄĚ in front. Get it trending when¬†The Sing-Off: Season¬†5¬†airs TONIGHT,¬†Wednesday, December 17, 9/8c on NBC.