BIGGER THAN BEYONCE
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW W/ PENTATONIX
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: Many may know you as the winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off Season 3, but I want to know some REAL history. How did it all start? I read in an article that you guys never officially met until 24 hours before your audition? Is this true?
MITCH GRASSI of PENTATONIX: Yes, that’s true! Scott, Kirstie, and I started out singing together in high school as an acapella trio. When Scott got to college, one of his college friends suggested that we audition for The Sing-Off, but recommended we fill out our sound a bit more. We met Avi through a mutual friend, and discovered Kevin on YouTube.
MC: What made you decide to try out for The Sing-Off? They had to have some inclination that they had some talent on their hands with a band named after a five-note music scale!
MG: [Laughs] We hope so! Scott convinced us to fly out to LA to audition if, for nothing else, to say that we took advantage of the opportunity. I’d say it turned out pretty well!
MC: Noticing that you combine everything from Pop, R&B, Soul, and even Electronic music, it seems pretty evident that you are all influenced by many genres. How would you all describe your sound if you had to?
MG: We all have vastly different music tastes and influences. Scott is very R&B and soulful. Kirstie was in musical theatre, so she has this beautifully bright tone. I would say my voice is fairly feminine and trebly — I listened to mostly female musicians growing up! Avi is our ground-shaking bass man, and Kevin is influenced by classical music and old-school hip-hop.
MC: Acapella swag at its finest, I must say. You guys are anything but a “typical” group. What is the toughest part? Harmonizing? Putting together arrangements? It has to be tougher than it looks!
MG: The toughest part is arranging, but we’ve gotten so much better at it than we used to be! It’s a fun challenge, though, because we get to brainstorm and come up with different musical ideas.
MC: You guys have some amazing covers on your YouTube channel including Gotye, FUN, and even PSY! How do you decide what you cover? Does it just come naturally? Does the whole group decide? Take a vote perhaps?
MG: What we’re known for is taking top 40 hits and giving it our own spin. Sometimes, however, we’ll take a poll on Facebook and ask the fans what they want to hear! And sometimes we will just bring a song to the group if we are really digging it.
MC: Evolution of Music surpassed five million views on YouTube in its first week! Honestly, how do you react to that success in such a short amount of time?
MG: We were very excited! That particular arrangement was our most difficult to date, so we were thrilled/relieved it got such good feedback.
MC: Your live show is getting quite a buzz, and you are embarking on a nice U.S. tour this summer! You guys are actually headed to my turf to play The Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey on July 25th. Any surprises up your sleeves?
MG: I won’t say much, but I WILL say that we have a killer light show.
MC: If you could give your younger selves some advice on how fame would be, would you do anything differently?
MG: My younger self was a bit more introverted than my present self, so I would tell him to not be so afraid of expressing himself, and to be happy with who he is!
MC: When you’re not singing your brains out, what do you guys like to do? Are you always together?
MG: We spend most of our time together. [Laughs] We do all have various hobbies, though. I picked up DJing and music production, so on the off-chance we have break time, I like to practice that. I’m also a total music nerd, so I love record shopping and keeping up with the latest music.
MC: You are all very active on your social media. Does fan engagement ever become overwhelming?
MG: It can be, yes. Sometimes fans will tweet us literally 30+ times until we follow them. Otherwise, we love interacting with our fans on Twitter. They’re usually very sweet!
MC: What’s an artist on your iPod right now that fans might be surprised to see?
MG: Candi Staton! She’s an old disco vocalist. I love her voice.
MC: What’s next for Pentatonix? More music? More tours? Perhaps starting your own singing competition (wishful thinking)?
MG: We are currently working on PTX Vol. 2, while planning our brand new tour and performing at venues around the country.
MC: Give us five words to encourage new fans to give you a listen.
MG: Like nothing you’ve