BERMUDA SUN

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Social media sensation to take Bermuda by storm
Pentatonix founder speaks exclusively to the Sun ahead of concert
Sarah Lagan, Sub-editor/Writer
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 9:56 AM

Third-season winners of NBC The Sing Offs, Pentatonix is one of the most popular current acts to hit the Bermuda stage since Beyoncé.

The American a cappella quintet have rocketed to fame via social media and are known for their unique take on pop songs.

This includes a marathon tribute to the ‘Queen Bee’ herself packing together a medley of nearly 30 of her songs.

Their new album, PTX Vol 2, was released on November 5 via Madison Gate Records which includes three original songs and a modern take on the classic Hit The Road Jack.

The group, named after the famous five-note musical scale, is currently working on new videos as well as preparing themselves for their upcoming, largely US sold out tour following two North American tours and a sold out European tour.

Bermuda certainly lucked out thanks to the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts who lined them up as the opening act at the Fairmont Southampton on January 16 & 18, just ahead of their tour.

Catalyst

Aside from their phenomenal talent, social media has been a catalyst for Pentatonix’s success. Their version of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know attracted 18 million views, their abridged Evolution of Music (21 million) while their YouTube channel has built up 122 million views. Their collaboration with Lindsey Stirling for Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive attracted more than 45 million views over the two artists’ channels and picked up Best Response Video at the YouTube Music Awards last year.

Scott Hoying, the founding member of the band, told the Bermuda Sun: “Social media has been an amazing platform for us to really promote our music and stay relevant. I think it is crucial for upcoming artists to be putting their content on YouTube and seeing what people like and don’t like. Also, the younger generation and the mainstream audience all are constantly on every social media platform there is these days, so we’ve realized learning to connect with fans is so important.”

Hoying originally put together a trio of lead vocalists with himself, Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi to enter a contest. They ended up falling in love with it and began posting videos to YouTube for fun including a popular cover of Lady Gaga’s Telephone. This attracted attention online and so they decided to take it a step further and audition for The Sing-Off adding a bass vocalist Avi Kaplan and beat boxer Kevin ‘KO’ to the mix.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Hoying said that said that he never envisaged the group would attract nearly as much success as it did when he put it together.

“Not. At. All. We really just had a passion for music and choir, and wanted to do it for fun. We didn’t know that it would lead to everything that has happened in the past couple years.

“I think the key to our success has come from us constantly putting out new, interesting, creative content.

“I think if we had not started a YouTube channel, people would have slowly forgotten us and what we could do. I attribute a ton of our success to our ability to market ourselves through social media.”

But it’s not just social media, they have performed for Quincy Jones at Atlanta’s Fox Theater and with Diana Ross at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.

Television appearances include performances on Ellen, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Katie Couric Show, The Talk, The American Music Awards Red Carpet Show and Sesame Street. Pentatonix have also been regularly featured online by Perez Hilton, RyanSeacrest.com, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and The New York Times. Both of their albums have debuted on the Billboard’s Top 200.

Hoying said he could see a cappella, seen in the likes of Glee and Perfect Pitch, becoming a significant part of main stream music in the future.

‘Raw, organic artists’

“Absolutely.

“I think that even though the music industry primarily is electronic overproduced music, I think the public is ready for some real, raw, organic artists to be born.

“With Gotye, Lorde, Adele, and more coming to the forefront of music without much more than piano and vocals and a really good song, I think it is the perfect time in music for us to really emerge and show the world what we can do.”

Asked how much production is involved in their music Hoying told us: “For some YouTube videos and songs, we record it first in a studio, so we are able to get perfect takes, and mix/EQ everything perfectly. However, a good majority of our YouTube videos are done completely live.

“We do not ever use auto tune.”

While pop is their main stay, other genres include pop, jazz, R&B, indie, folk, dubstep and electronica.

This will be the first time the band members have come to Bermuda and they are “super excited” to be coming.

Asked what we might be expecting to hear, he said: “We aren’t sure yet!

“We are still solidifying our new set list, but I promise you it will be a good time.”

To see all the Bermuda Festival listings visit http://bermudafestival.org