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Meet YouTube Sensation Pentatonix

Posted by Nelanthi Hewa ON Feb 3, 2013 IN Pop


We're all familiar with YouTube artists, but a cappella group Pentatonix stands out as not only one of the most talented, but also as one with a strange origin story. While most groups start off their YouTube careers by simply turning on a camera and singing, five-piece group Pentatonix originally performed on The Sing-Off, one of many, many American talent shows. In fact, they won the title for 2011. Their prize? A tidy sum ($200,000) and a record contract with Sony. But rather than stop there, they went on YouTube, where their skill, originality and electric personalities captured the attention of millions.

The first thing you notice when you watch Pentatonix is that almost all of their songs are performed live and in one take. YouTube artists seems to fit into two categories; they're either singing to a camera or they're performing in high production value, high-tech music videos, the result being their voices are just as tampered with as the radio artists they're covering. But with Pentatonix, you're hearing five people actually sing. Refreshing yes, but also impressive.

The second thing you notice? Headphones are a must when listening to this group, so that you can appreciate the insane talent that is Avi, the guy who does the bass line. Without headphones, you may find yourself wondering what exactly he's doing. But with them on? Not only do you understand why he's making all those weird faces, but the entire song is transformed.

Pentatonix has killer harmonies, bass lines and oh yeah, even beat boxing. While they mostly cover pop songs, they fearlessly combine pop, rap, dubstep and others genres to create an entirely new musical experience. They do things with their voices that most artists can only do with synthesizers, and they make it look easy.

While the medley of different sounds can initially be overwhelming, their renditions of songs have the tendency to make a home in your head. Not only their covers blow the originals out of the water, but they'll be sure to ruin the radio for you- if it's not ruined already.


They have, however, managed to disappoint me recently by making a few "official cover videos", where they pick up that fake, produced sound that I'd been trying to escape. However, the majority of their videos are them doing what they do best: turning on a camera and combining their five voices in a way that is brilliant, exceptional and never done before, at least not on YouTube.

Pentatonix has released two albums (PTX. Vol. 1 and PTXmas), and are currently on tour. Check out their mash-up of "As Long as You Love Me" and "Wide Awake" down below.