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Sound Check: Pentatonix makes hearts beat on Kelly Clarkson tour

By Gary Graff, The Oakland Press
POSTED: 07/24/15, 7:04 AM EDT

Pentatonix has won plenty of friends since winning the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”

The a capella quintet from Texas has more than 8 million subscribers on YouTube, where its inventive arrangements have been viewed more than a billion times. Daft Punk loved Pentatonix’s Grammy Award-winning tribute to the duo’s music (more than 145 million views), while its 2014 album “That’s Christmas To Me” is certified platinum.

Pentatonix also makes a cameo in “Pitch Perfect 2,” and Kelly Clarkson hand-picked the group to be part of her current Piece By Piece Tour, with Pentatonix joining her on stage for “Heartbeat Song.”

“The Kelly tour has been the most amazing thing ever,” Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying, 23, says by phone from Los Angeles, where the group is now based. “Kelly’s the nicest person ever. She’s so sweet.

“When she announced the tour she said, ‘I hope I get Pentatonix to come up on stage with us,’ and I was like, ‘Uh ... Yeah, we would love to.’ She wanted us to sing ‘Heartbeat Song’ with her, so we arranged a little version of it and it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole night.”

Being on the road with Clarkson has also helped Pentatonix boost its visibility. “There are a lot of Kelly fans out there who don’t know who were are,” Hoying acknowledges. “It’s fun to watch through our set how people get more into it, more into it. The past couple of shows it’s felt like we won the whole audience ever been the end. That’s been pretty special.”

The momentum comes as Pentatonix is heading into its next album, which Hoying says will be composed of mostly original material written by him and his four bandmates.

“All of us songwrote a little bit, but we weren’t super prolific,” Hoying says. “But going into this album we wanted it to be our artistry. I’d say we wrote 40, 50 songs ourselves, and we worked with professional songwriters to learn more about it and learn more about the process.”

The group hopes for an October release, but Hoying says the timetable “changes every day.” He promises the end result will be worth the wait.

“We’ve got some sultry, soulful stuff. Then we have some upbeat stuff with stomps and claps, and some stuff from our folkier side,” Hoying says. “So it’s all over the place, but it’s coming around, and we can’t wait for people to hear it ’cause we think it’s going to add a whole new dimension to what Pentatonix has been to this point.”