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Jasmine Edwards

The Florida State University AcaBelles recorded their polished cover of "Royals" at a music festival in Orlando on a moment's notice.

"It was at the very end of a long day of workshops and master classes and we'd been singing all day," said Florida State student and AcaBelles business director Caroline Del Rey. "So honestly we were kind of tired when we did it."

But the group was honored to be asked to record the song, Del Rey said, and went for it.

The video of the all-female a cappella group singing the hit song has gone viral, racking up more than 6.5 million views on YouTube and praise from the singer Lorde, who wrote of the FSU cover of her song: "These ladies have the coolest blend; they make this song into something so incredible."

The ladies' cool blend was heard at a recent Jacksonville Jaguars game when the AcaBelles sang the National Anthem at Everbank Field. And everyone from actor Russell Crowe to the Huffington Post is tweeting the group's praises.

Founded in 2000, the AcaBelles is a student group that performs concerts and participates in competitions, including in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) where the group was named South Champions in 2009 and 2011. The AcaBelles released their full-length album "Seamless" in 2012 on A Cappella Records. They've released a new video in which they take on Justin Timberlake's "Blue Ocean Floor."

The AcaBelles' video of their performance of "Royals" has been featured on BuzzFeed, "Good Morning America," the websites for Elle, Seventeen and People magazine and many more media outlets.

"This all feels like nothing short of a dream," said Florida State senior Jasmine Edwards, seen above, who serves as music director of the AcaBelles. "The fact that major websites, national news stations and Lorde herself, the original artist, have all shared and spoken so highly of us is just so incredible."

The comments posted on the AcaBelles' video speak to the power of music, Edwards said.

"A lot of mothers have commented telling us how their daughters won't stop watching us, and thanking us for being positive role models for them because we are just performing as we are, completely ourselves. That's what means the most to me."

It is Edwards' hope that the AcaBelles continue to represent a "woman's role in the a cappella world, and music in general, in a positive light."

The group comprises more than a dozen performers who are mostly music therapy, vocal performance and choral music education majors, although there are also social work, exercise science and criminology majors in the mix.

The Lorde single "Royals" has proven to be an ideal song for the AcaBelles to cover, and a recording is available for purchase. The performance video was produced by an a cappella production company, The Vocal Company.

Lorde is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She's the first New Zealand solo artist to have a No. 1 song in the United States; "Royals" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October.

The AcaBelles' next performance is Feb. 15 at the 2014 ICAA South Quarterfinal at the University of Florida.

By Nicole Brooks
18 December 2013

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