Smooth McGroove

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Smooth McGroove's recording of Mega Man X - Spark Mandrill Stage music

Max Gleason, better known by his stage name of Smooth McGroove, is a YouTuber known for recording re-arranged a cappella versions of video game music.[1][2][3] His videos feature multiple videos of himself, recording each part, often complemented by a video of the relevant game being played and the appearance of his cat Charl.[2]


Gleason's musical career began when he was eleven years old and began playing the drums. He eventually started teaching private music lessons to support himself.[1] In college, Gleason began recording some MIDI tracks and posting them on MySpace, but never got much recognition for them. Later, he and some friends of his started a rock band, and in addition to being the drummer, he was responsible for the audio mixing. The band fell apart, and a few years later, Gleason decided to do more music. He began rapping about video games, and he gradually moved to auto-tuned cappella music.[3]

Gleason has recorded music from many popular video game series, including The Legend of Zelda,[4] Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy,[5] Mega Man,[6] and Street Fighter.[7] Gleason's videos have garnered millions of views, and he eventually left his job giving private music lessons to focus fully on his a cappella videos.[8] When asked about working with more modern tracks, he sided against it, stating that "music for video games today serve a more atmospheric role with less of a focus on memorable melodies". He noted that the Elder Scrolls series was an exception.[9]

A Starbound patch known as "v. Enraged Koala" released in early 2014 added a microphone feature including sounds by Gleason.[10][11]

In 2014, Gleason provided narration for an episode of the video game webseries Did You Know Gaming? covering the F-Zero series.[12]

On January 22, 2015, Gleason was featured on Episode 2 of the Reddit podcast Upvoted. Gleason recounted how his musical career began, and how he suddenly gained the attention and viewers that eventually allowed him to pursue making music as a full-time career.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Gleason currently lives in Oklahoma City with his cat Charl[1][2] and his wife, Jo.[3]


  • VGM Acapella: Volume 1 (2013) [14]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 2 (2013) [15]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 3 (2013) [16]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 4 (2014) [17]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 5 (2014) [18]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 6 (2014) [19]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 7 (2015) [20]
  • Undertale Acapella (2016) [21]
  • VGM Acapella: Volume 8 (2016) [22]


  1. ^ a b c Grubb, Jeffrey. "How Smooth McGroove quit his day job to record acapella versions of classic gaming tunes (interview)". VentureBeat. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Fenn, Mike. "Smooth McGroove: How a bearded gamer became YouTube's next big star". Daily Dot. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Tamburro, Paul Carmino (30 September 2013). "Interview: Smooth McGroove on Becoming YouTube Famous". CraveOnline Media, LLC. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Ponce, Tony (2013-03-03). "Bearded dude performs amazing Zelda a cappellas". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  5. ^ Futter, Mike (2013-10-21). "Smooth McGroove Leads Us To Final Fantasy VII Victory". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  6. ^ Vas, Gergo (2013-05-04). "Mega Man X's Spark Mandrill Theme, In An Amazing A Capella". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  7. ^ Helgeson, Matt (2014-06-19). "Smooth McGroove Tackles Street Fighter". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  8. ^ Cornell, David. "YouTube User Smooth McGroove Talks Quitting His Day Job". The Inquisitr. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (September 9, 2013). "How Smooth Got His McGroove – The Introverted Acapella YouTube Artist". Game Informer. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Savage, Phil (19 February 2014). "Starbound patch prepares for daily content updates, adds Smooth McGroove". Future Publishing, Ltd. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Hillier, Brenna (19 February 2014). "Starbound updated, one more universe wipe expected". vg247. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Did You Know Gaming? (2014-02-22). "F-Zero - Did You Know Gaming? Feat. Smooth McGroove". Normal Boots. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  13. ^ "Episode 2 - The Story of /u/SmoothMcGroove : Upvoted". Reddit. January 22, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ [1]
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  20. ^ [7]
  21. ^ [8]
  22. ^ [9]

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