Is Raniere’s A Cappella Group, ‘Simply Human’, Now Defunct?

Simply Human is/was an a cappella group made up of five Nxians.
It does not seem to be very active or, if it is, it is not much in demand.
In the past it was known to sporadically performed at events sponsored, paid for, and attended by Nxians/Bronfmans.
Keith Raniere is the founder/inspirational leader of the group, according to its members.
A website for the group has evidently been inactive since 2013. For instance, in the bio section, it speaks of one member, Siobahn Hotaling “currently working on songs for a follow up record, due out in summer 2013.” See:
The photo gallery section on the website refers to a photoshoot in the fall of 2012 with the words “coming soon.” There are no pictures posted.
Simply Human also has a Facebook page. The latest post on the timeline is March 2014, almost two years ago, where it was announced: “Coming soon! A digital video release of one of our live recordings as well as new material! Stay tuned!!!”
There are no photos of the group in concert either on the Facebook page or the website.
Is the group defunct?
Does it matter?
In the end, the group is an unwanted, not listened to, not in demand, amateur group. Perhaps it could be rightly called a ‘vanity group.”
But in this case, the vanity seems to come from the singing group/student’s pride of approval from Raniere, not from an audience, even a bored audience, made up of Nxians, dragged there to listen, to please Raniere.
On the Simply Human website, Raniere is quoted as saying this about a cappella:
A cappella means “in the style of the chapel.” This, combined with an historical misunderstanding, led to the modern understanding of the term, which means “voices only.” All instruments, percussive sounds, echoes, electronic sounds, and sound effects are made only with sounds from the human voice and body.
The beauty of a cappella is its accessibility to many people. It harnesses people’s strengths while enabling them to participate in music making, without their being held back by the areas of their sound production that are less developed.
Throughout history, song has been an important part of world culture and an important mode of expression of human kind. In modern culture, such activities as karaoke and singing in shower evidence people’s desire to experience joy and community through the creation of sound.

Here are the bios of the members of Simply Human from the webpage


Is Simply Human simply a vanity singing group or did Keith Raniere have some greater purpose? Did he tell the members that they would achieve certain measurable success through this musical effort? Did they achieve it? 

Mike Baker
Mike Baker is a New York-based guitarist, drummer, singer, vocal percussionist, and songwriter. His first major gig was as the drummer for the post-Conehead-Buddha group ‘The Brian Kaplan Band’. He has since turned his attentions to songwriting and live acoustic performances. Much of his music is influenced by, and in the style of such artists as Dave Matthews, James Taylor, and John Mayer.

Mike also owns and operates Boondock Productions, a music production company located in Albany, NY. The company’s goal is to offer high-quality, economical resources to aspiring musicians and to help them stabilize themselves with the basic tools needed to start a career. Mike has also delved into musical theater in the past year, and has played the roles of both Anthony and Sweeney in Sweeney Todd. As he continues to develop his skills as the vocal percussionist for Simply Human, he is also establishing himself as the primary mentor and inspiration for a new generation of beatboxers, developing programs for teaching and learning vocal percussion.
Siobahn Hotaling
Siobahn Hotaling started playing piano and violin at a young age, but her musical career really started when she picked up a guitar at the age of 15 and began performing as part of an original folk-rock duo. In college, her love of composition and sound began to interface with the evolving world of music technology, and in 1996 she began making electronic music as well as continuing to write and record her acoustic-based songs.

Seven years ago, Simply Human was formed, with Siobahn as the primary musical arranger and band director. As one of two original founding members still in the band, she has been a driving force in moving the group forward into its current incarnation. During that time, she also directed an amateur a cappella group insipired by the accomplishments of Simply Human. At the same time, she began participating in musical theater, first directing and writing for a short Les Miserables spoof, and then taking on the role of choral director and chorus member in a full-scale production of Sweeney Todd.

Siobahn is also an accomplished songwriter and solo musician, recording her first album, Heart on Fire, in 2012 with Canadian producer Mike Borkosky (Alannah Myles, Melanie Doane). She is currently working on songs for a follow up record, due out in summer 2013.
Mark Hildreth
Mark taught himself to play the piano on an old upright in his parents’ home when he was 8 years old. Never having taken a music class, driven by a directed passion rare in kids, he learnt to play purely by ear. This is a kid who at six told his father that he wanted to act and proceeded to have a thriving professional acting career for decades. One day, driving in the car, an ad came on the radio looking for kids to play the son of Madame Butterfly at the 1800-seat Queen Elizabeth Theater. Mark convinced his Dad to let him try out. He booked the role.

Inspired by Elton John and Stevie Wonder, Mark started to write his own music. This skinny little white boy trying to express his soul through a keyboard and his voice. Mark makes music with a mission: he wants to create love, honesty and ethics in the world. And he has held true to those values, despite current trends in the music industry. At 35, he is creating with more honesty than ever before and he is working to ensure that his music reaches as many people as possible. He has moved from his hometown, his family, and the things that are comfortable for him, to build his career in the hub of all entertainment, Los Angeles.
Bonnie Piesse
Bonnie was born in Melbourne, Australia and is known for her work as an actress in “Star Wars” episodes II and III as Beru, and in Australia Television Series’ “Blue Heelers,” “Stingers,” “Horace and Tina,” “Last Man Standing,” and “High Flyers.”

As a singer, she’s recorded with Emile Kelman (Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Brandi Carlile, Zahara Smith, Doran Danoff, Brian Greenberg) and Val Garay (Kim Carnes, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Jackson Brown, Dolly Parton, Santana) and has written songs with some of the greats, including Jack Tempchin (“Peaceful Easy Feeling”), Eric Kaz (“Love Has No Pride”), J.D. Souther (“New Kid In Town,” “Heartache Tonight”) and Bonnie Hayes (“Have A Heart”).

Bonnie’s song “All I Have,” was featured in the CW show “Life Unexpected” And she composed the soundtrack to the upcoming movie, “Gus” starring Radha Mitchell and Michelle Monaghan, with composer Mark Kilian.
Allison Mack
Allison Mack has been a performer since the age of 4. Born into a family of musicians, she never feels more inspired or at home than when she is surrounded by artisans creating harmony. She has been a professional actress in film, television and theatre for over 26 years and is most known for her role as Chloe Sullivan on the CW television hit Smallville.

Allison is passionate about the arts and sees them as her way of spreading joy, love, and compassion in the world so when she was invited to join Simply Human three years ago she jumped at the chance. With this group of 5 she has found a family of artists who share the same vision, commitment and perspective on art as a whole. She is proud and honored to be singing with Simply Human.
SH alumni
Sarah Peters
Sarah was raised in a family with a strong musical tradition. As a result, she participated in a variety of instrumental and vocal activities all through her childhood. She has been playing classical piano since she was eight years old, and she also played the trumpet and the baritone horn in school bands. She even directed her school band as their drum major for a time. Although she participated in church choirs, most of her choral experience was in a non-vocal capacity as the musical accompanist.

She began to focus more on the vocal arts in the summer of 2005 when she played the role of Guinevere in Camelot. In 2006 and 2007, Sarah played the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd, and also took on the role of assistant musical director for that production. In the spring of 2007, she joined the newly formed A Cappella group, Simply Human as a synthesound, a role which seeks to vocally reproduce the sounds of stringed instruments and synthesizers.
Farouk Rojas
Farouk Rojas attended piano lessons early in childhood, and, after a short stint as a choir member during his early teens, he began performing as a soloist in musical productions at age 16. Thanks in large part to the generous performing arts programs at his high school and college, Farouk experienced professional-caliber musical accompaniment and mentorship during these formative years, which only deepened his ever-growing love of performance. For the next five years he traveled nationally and internationally to participate in concert-style shows and he performed as a vocalist in songwriting competitions. He also acquired studio experience recording commercial spots for radio.

Farouk first performed in musical theatre as a chorus member in Candide; he later went on to play the lead role in Fiddler On The Roof , King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Sancho Panza in Man Of La Mancha and The Beadle in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. His dedication and love for music has led him to take on a number of other roles as well; not content as a mere cast member of both La Mancha and Sweeney Todd, he also elected to become musical director of both. Additionally, he took on the role of vocal coach to the entire cast, guiding them with his knowledge of proper vocal techniques and sharing the tools he has learned and used to develop himself throughout his career.




About the author

Frank Parlato

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


Discover more from Frank Report

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading