ROYAL GAZETTE BERMUDA

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Bermuda is latest stop on Pentatonix’s tour to the top

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Published Jan 14, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm)

After winning NBC’s popular vocal competition The Sing-Off in 2011, followed by releasing a hugely successful version of Little Drummer Boy that went viral on YouTube, Pentatonix have watched their world turn upside down.

The five-member a cappella group will be journeying to Bermuda just in time to perform at two sold out shows at the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts on Thursday and Saturday.

The youngest member of Pentatonix, Mitch Grassi, told The Royal Gazette he was excited to experience what the Island had to offer and meet other music lovers during his visit.

“I’ve never been [to Bermuda] before and I love travelling,” Mr Grassi said.

“We will be doing a full Pentatonix set. We aim to inspire our audience with our music. And above all, we want them to have fun.”

Like the other members of the group, Mr Grassi has always been in love with music.

He started performing in musical theatre productions at age nine and said it wasn’t long after that he determined to make music and performance part of his life going forward.

Fate also intervened and allowed Mr Grassi’s path to cross with fellow music lovers — vocalist Kirstie Maldonado and songwriter Scott Hoying — during high school, where they were involved in a choir together.

“There was a local radio competition to meet the cast of Glee, so [Kirstie, Scott and I] formed an a cappella trio and filmed a video of us performing Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’,” he said. “We didn’t end up winning the competition, but we continued to sing together.

“Once Scott went to college, one of his classmates suggested that we try out for The Sing-Off. Prior to the trio, I had had no a cappella experience, but I had always been enamoured with the idea of music that solely utilised the human voice.”

Before auditioning for the singing competition, the trio needed to add a few more members to the group “to fill out the sound”.

Through friends they found out about classical musician Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, who had a viral video going around on YouTube of himself playing cello and beat boxing.

Together the five musicians proved to strike the right chord with the viewing audience and were named the winners of the competition.

Since then life has “changed pretty drastically”, Mr Grassi said.

“We all moved out to Los Angeles in early 2012, and we’ve been there since,” he continued. “We’ve received so many wonderful opportunities that I had only dreamed of.

“I would say it’s been quite a learning experience and we have all grown as musicians and people. It’s a busy, nonstop lifestyle, but it’s worth every minute.”

The success only continued when they released an a cappella version of Little Drummer Boy on YouTube in late November.

The video has amassed more than 27 Million views on the social media site; it also beat Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ on the Billboard charts, which the band mates described as “nuts”.

Mr Grassi said it has been “overwhelming” to see the amount of support received from fans. However it has also been amazing to see how Pentatonix have been able to touch so many people with their music.

Despite all the milestones, the band aren’t at the point where they feel they have ‘made it’.

“We’ve definitely accomplished a lot, and I’m exceedingly proud of us,” Mr Grassi said. “There’s always room for improvement, though.”

Pentatonix are looking forward to releasing a full album in the near future. Although the recording project is still in “it’s embryonic stage”, Mr Grassi said they are working to create more original material and music videos, as well as a new live show.

Pentatonix will be playing at a sold-out show at the Fairmont Southampton on Thursday and Saturday at 8.30pm.