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Maldonado Of Pentatonix Talks Music!
When Kirstie Maldonado was very young, she remembers listening to her mom’s favorite music and telling her mom she wanted to be a singer, too.
“I feel like she didn’t really believe me until I sang at her wedding,” Kirstie said. “Then everyone was like, ‘Does she do singing or voice lessons?’ and my mom was like, ‘Uh, no.’”
The experience encouraged her mom to place her in voice lessons when she was eight years old. Kirstie’s voice instructor introduced her to musical theater.
“I absolutely fell in love with it, and ever since then, that’s everything that I want to do,” she said. “I can’t see myself doing anything else. I knew I at least had to try or I would really regret it.”
Kirstie was in her high school choir throughout all of high school. While she had sung some a cappella in school, she never really got interested in the genre until she started singing a cappella with her friends Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi.
Kirstie had known Scott since she was 9 years old, and met Mitch in freshman year of high school. The three were in the same grade and did theater together, spent time with the same groups of friends and shared most of the same AP classes.
“Scott, Mitch and I formed a little trio for a radio contest and put something together,” she said. “We ended up singing at a choir concert and it got a lot of attention so we just kept doing it.”
Scott and Kirstie were in their first year of college when the trio decided to audition for the NBC a cappella singing competition The Sing-Off.
Before the audition, they decided to add a bass and beatbox voice to fill out their sound.
They found the missing members of their sound in Avi Kaplan and Kevin “K.O.” Olusola.
The group met their vocal bass Avi through a mutual friend, Ben Bram, who later became the group’s producer.
“Avi was really well known in California in the a cappella genre for amazing bass,” Kirstie said. “Ben introduced Scott and Avi together, and Scott thought he was perfect.”
Finding the right beat boxer for the group was a little tougher. The group tried singing with a few beat boxers before they found their perfect match.
“What’s kind of fate about the entire thing is that when we were looking for someone, Kevin’s cello beat boxing video became really viral on YouTube,” Kirstie said. “We just kind of stumbled across him and thought he was so amazing and so cool.”
They messaged him telling them they were planning go audition for The Sing-Off and asked him if he wanted to join them. He agreed.
“I think originally it was just a fun thing to do where we could all hang out and see each other, and we all we obviously loved singing, so that just took off,” she said. “The second we all sang together as a five person group, it literally was magical.”