The Blenders are a vocal quartet based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (not to be confused with the 1960s vocal quartet of the same name that was led by Steve Smith, appeared on the Lawrence Welk Show for two years, and disbanded in 1967).
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, the four members of The Blenders - Tim Kasper, Ryan Lance, Darren Rust and Allan Rust (replacing original member Paul Dunkirk) - built up their fan base on the strength of a primarily a cappella singing style. Although their music in recent years has included instrument-backed recordings, there has always been a focus on The Blender's own style of vocal-based harmonies. The group has toured the U.S. with such acts as Jay Leno, Howie Mandel, Savage Garden, Jonny Lang, Blues Traveler, Chicago, The Righteous Brothers, Lou Rawls and Chuck Berry. They have appeared on a variety of national and regional television shows including The Arsenio Hall Show, The Today Show and Crook and Chase on TNN. Their music has been used for films such as The Perfect Holiday and Nothing Like the Holidays. Albums usually include some of their own original songs, plus covers of music that ranges from standards to decidedly non-traditional fare. They have recorded for four different labels: Cowtown Records, Primarily A Cappella, Orchard Lane Records (A former division of the Musicland Group) and Universal Records. Their release for Orchard Lane was co-produced by former member of Prince (musician)'s New Power Generation, Levi Seacer, Jr.
The Blenders spent their early years, beginning in the '90s, touring hundreds of colleges and universities across the country. The Blenders found international success with a number one hit in a handful of European countries with a remake of Dean Friedman's quirky song, "(I am in Love With the) McDonald's Girl." Although their influences stretch far and wide, The Blenders find a common bond in vocal music – from R&B and Jazz, to Pop and Rock, their focus is on tight unmistakable, smooth vocal harmonies. In 1994 and 1995, The Blenders received the Contemporary Artist of the Year award by the National Association for Campus Activities. They have been cited as a strong influence by many of the vocal groups that formed in the 90's and are garnering attention today.
The Blenders have become known for their Christmas music, and have been staging a very successful Christmas Tour in theaters (mostly in the Midwest) since 1997.
Recently, The Blenders have performed on Minneapolis/St. Paul television commercials. In December 2005, The Blenders sang their original song "Tiny Little Christmas," and the following year repeated with "When it Snows" in an advertisement for KARE-TV promoting Toys for Tots. They also appeared in an ad, singing KMSP-TV's morning news theme song ("Wake Up with FOX 9") while riding a METRO Blue Line light rail train. Their work with KMSP has won them Three Emmy awards. They currently have a McDonald's commercial airing nationwide featuring their version of "McDonald's Girl." It began airing in February 2011 and was still running as of January 2012.