Pentatonix tenor Mitch Grassi sings praise for a cappella, electronic
music, social media, and his favorite apps.
Josh Rotter by Josh Rotter January 23, 2014 5:11 PM PST
Between the success of "The Sing-Off" and "Pitch Perfect,"
it's fair to say that a cappella is making a comeback. Pentatonix,
a five-piece vocal group fresh off a well-attended European tour,
has been reaping the benefits of the increased interest. The group
has garnered 4.5 million subscribers and 300 million views on the
Pentatonix YouTube channel; has released a top 10 album, "PTX
Volume 2"; sold out its entire North American tour, which runs
from February 4 to April 10; collaborated with Lucky Charms cereal
on its 50th anniversary commercial, which premieres during CBS's 2014
Grammy broadcast; and is set to appear on "Sesame Street"
on February 7. Download.com chatted with the quintet's tenor, Mitch
Grassi, about a cappella, electronic music, social media, and his
What do you have to do
to prepare for this tour?
Well, actually we were just preparing, because we've done the same
set list for a year and a half now, and we want to bring something
new to the table. As far as prep, we're just getting ready to feel
the jet lag and language barriers. But we're looking at it in a positive
light, because it's going to be incredible.
How do you explain the renewed interest in a cappella music?
I think it goes hand-in-hand with the success of "The Sing-Off"
and "Pitch Perfect," which is all about a cappella groups.
And more than that, I think people need something real and more organic.
Everything is so overproduced and saturated on the Internet, so I
think people are looking for something different, and I think we're
a good bridge between mainstream and a cappella, because we do everything
with our voices. But we do all these pop songs and flip them on their
heads and give them our own unique spin.
Speaking of music styles, I've read that you're very into electronic
music. How do you reconcile your love of electronic music with singing
in an a cappella group?
I find it interesting, and eventually I want to be a music producer
and make my own music and sing over it. But my interest in electronic
music really shaped the sound of the band, because we're really into
the electronic sounds, and it's easy for us to pick up on the dance
sounds. I think people really like our dance music a lot.
Watch Pentatonix's seven-song Daft Punk medley, entitled "Daft
You all have such a huge
social media presence, with millions of YouTube subscribers, 973,000
Facebook fans, and 224,000 Twitter followers. What is your social
Aside from releasing YouTube material, we like to plan out our Facebook
and Twitter, so we do get those crowds. But we just like to interact
with our fans, which I think is the most important thing. They see
we're real people and not just a product of the music industry. But
yeah, we're constantly on Twitter, keeping them updated, and it's
really helped out a lot.
While you're on the road, which apps will you use the most?
I'll probably use Twitter, because I use it a lot, regardless. I'll
probably use an app called Songkick, because it allows you to see
the concerts and shows in the area. I love Fancy, which is a shopping
site for luxurious things. They're expensive, and it's fun to look
at and see new things. And I play Candy Crush a lot. It's my new obsession.
Also, Pitch Pipe Now, because we get the key of our songs with that
app if we don't have a pitch pipe.
2014 U.S. Tour Dates
4 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
5 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, OK
6 Gillioz Theatre Springfield, MO
8 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL
9 Egyptian Room Indianapolis, IN
11 Milwaukee Riverside Theatre Milwaukee, WI
12 State Theater Minneapolis, MN
15 Paramount Theatre Denver, CO
17 The Complex-Rockwell Salt Lake City, UT
19 Vogue Theater Vancouver, BC
20 Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA
22 Fox Theater Oakland, CA
23 Grand Sierra Resort Reno, NV
25 Soma San Diego, CA
26 House of Blues Las Vegas, NV
27 Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ
1 & 2 Orpheum Theatre Los Angeles, CA
19 Peabody Opera House St. Louis, MO
20 Robinson Center Music Hall Little Rock, AR
22 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
23 Iron City Birmingham, AL
25 Hard Rock Live Orlando, FL
26 Georgia Theatre Athens, GA
27 The Fillmore Charlotte, NC
29 DAR Constitution Hall Washington DC
30 The Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
3 & 10 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
5 & 6 House of Blues Boston, MA
8 Danforth Music Hall Toronto, ON
9 UB Center for the Arts Buffalo, NY
Check out the Pentatonix
Lucky Charms commercial: