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Will the Barden Bellas Face in Pitch Perfect 2? That and Other Insights
(Including Karaoke Tips!) From Pentatonix
It has been three years since Pentatonix won NBC's The Sing Off, and the acapella group from Arlington, Texas, has been keeping themselves very busy in their victory wake: They've put out two albums, PTX Volumes I and II, covered everyone from Calvin Harris to Imogen Heap, and have gone on three official nationwide tours. But 2014 is shaping up to be their busiest yet, with PTX Vol. III due out September 23, a Christmas album hitting shelves and playlists October 21, and guest-starring in the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2. I caught up with Pentatonix's leading lady, Kirstie Maldonado, to get all the details.
Glamour: Let's start with just getting a life update. How has Pentatonix been since winning The Sing Off?
Kirstie Maldonado: Life in general has been a whirlwind. It's been really incredible. We've been really fortunate to get a lot of opportunities in these three years. We were touring the majority of the beginning of this year, and now we are working on music. I feel like we have just gotten better, and I'm really excited for PTX Volume III because I think it is really special.
Glamour: Tell us more about Volume III. How does it differ from your first two albums?
Kirstie: We made bolder choices. In my honest opinion, in Volumes I and II, we were still trying to figure out our sound. This time, the album is really well thought out and put together. Each song individually is important to helping the album move and giving it a good arc. This is the most I have been excited about an album, truthfully. It is a powerhouse album; I can't wait for everyone to hear it.
Glamour: We've already gotten a taste for Volume III with your first two singles, covers of Ariana Grande's "Problem" and a mash-up of Sam Smith's "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "La La La." How do you choose what songs to cover?
Kirstie: It is really all about inspiration. What is cool is that we all listen to a bunch of different music. For example, on our last album we did a song called "Valentine" that Mitch really loved. I didn't even know the song; no one really knows that song very well—but it was really pretty and worked well for our sound. We always look at what can we make of a song, what can we do well from a song, and what else we can bring to a song—because we always try to add an extra little Pentatonix flair to it.
Glamour: You're well known for your covers, but tell us about the original songs on the album.
Kirstie: They are my favorites. I feel like us writing and arranging is just becoming better. Each song has a different meaning, different people singing them, and they just move well in the flow of the album. I really think people will like them; I hope they do.
Glamour: Besides recording the new album, Pentatonix also filmed a guest-starring role in Pitch Perfect 2. It seems like a natural fit to us, but how did it come about?
Kirstie: We had attended the premiere and premiere party of the first Pitch Perfect, and we were dying because we wanted to be in it so badly. So when we were asked if we wanted to be a part of [the sequel], of course we said yes. We were super stoked.
Glamour: What is your role in the film?
Kirstie: We play a rival group to the Bellas. Basially, during whatever competition is going to happen, we are one of the rival groups competing. We'll be seen onstage with them as well as some other rival groups.
Glamour: And what will we hear from Pentatonix?
Kirstie: You will definitely hear Pentatonix style in the song that was chosen for us. We were not involved in the song selection, but we came up with our own arrangement.
Glamour: Is the Pitch Perfect set as fun as we imagine it to be?
Kirstie: It was so fun. It was really cool to be on a movie set and watch the Bellas perform onstage. They are all so, so nice. Elizabeth Banks is amazing and was always making sure we were OK.
Glamour: You guys are experts at covering songs, so we imagine you have some amazing karaoke tips. What's the secret to a killer karaoke performance?
Kirstie: You have to go out there and not care. A miserable karaoke experience is when people are trying really hard and trying to show off. You have to just be chill—that's what makes karaoke fun.
Glamour: And what are your go-to karaoke songs?
Kirstie: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Shania Twain. I would always go sing the song "Honey I'm Home". I was like 12 and I'm singing about coming home from work and PMS and stuff. I didn't know what I was talking about yet. Also, "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson.
Thanks Kirstie! Pentatonix latest album, PTX Vol. III, will be available September 23, and Pitch Perfect 2 will hit theaters on May 15, 2015.