Pentatonix - Bringing A Capella to the Mainstream
Official website: http://ptxofficial.com/
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/ptxofficial
So for those that don't know, I'm obsessed with the group Pentatonix. They won season 3 of The Sing-Off, and they're incredibly talented. They're an a capella singing group (meaning no background music or instruments, it's entirely their voices), but they cover a lot of mainstream music and it sounds really good. Here's a description from their website:
Vocal sensations and winners of season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off, Pentatonix are taking instrument-free music far beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Named after the world’s most widely recognized five-note musical scale, this vocal quintet has transformed one of pop music’s purest and most soulful expressions into an exciting future, filled with limitless sonic possibility. Pairing their intricate arrangements with cleverly re-imagined pop songs, Pentatonix have quickly cultivated a sound and style that is entirely unique and undeniably infectious.
Pentatonix is comprised of lead vocalists Scott Hoying (21), Kirstie Maldonado (20) and Mitch Grassi (20), vocal bass Avi Kaplan (23) and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola (24) and, while the individuals would maintain that each of their fellow band members is irreplaceable, the fact remains that 24-hours before their audition for The Sing-Off they still hadn’t all officially met.
A freshman at The University of Southern California, Scott decided to audition for the show and enlisted childhood friends and fellow Arlington, Texas-natives Kirstie and Mitch. As a high school vocal trio, they had found success both locally and online thanks to their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” Determined to add depth and a distinctive dynamic to the group, Scott set out to add more vocalists, first adding Avi, who’d built himself a reputation as one of the most talented vocal basses in Southern California, and eventually took to YouTube where he found the video for “Julie-O,” featuring Kevin’s cello-boxing (simultaneously beatboxing and performing the song on his cello).
Finally a fully formed group, Pentatonix perfected their sound (and their chemistry) throughout the season, naturally developing a signature style and a knack for arranging songs that pulled equally from the five individuals’ strengths. Despite drawing from a dizzyingly eclectic set of musical genres – the group cites pop, jazz, r&b, indie, folk, dubstep and electronica as just a few of their inspirations – the quintet seemed to mesh magically, evident in their modern interpretation of The Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star,” or their epic adaptation of Florence and the Machines’ “The Dog Days Are Over.” Before long, Pentatonix had become a legitimate musical force, armed with a collective confidence and swagger that would eventually propel them to win the competition.
Now a year removed from The Sing-Off, Pentatonix – who have all relocated to Los Angeles – have continued to build upon their already fiercely loyal fanbase, introducing a slew of new material via their YouTube channel, including covers of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Fun’s “We Are Young,” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The three videos – featured by Perez Hilton, The Huffington Post, RyanSeacrest.com and Nightline – have eclipsed 17 million views, collectively, while the channel has quickly reached 30 million views, buoyed by its roughly 250,000 subscribers.
On June 26, Pentatonix released their debut EP – PTX Volume 1 – courtesy of Madison Gate Records and debuted at #14 on the Billboard Top 200 selling nearly 20,000 copies in its first week. The EP includes 4 covers, highlighted with the group’s Gotye track, as well as Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” Imogen Heap’s “Aha!” and Jasmine Sullivan’s “Love You Long Time.” Additionally, the EP also includes two original songs, “The Baddest Girl,” written by Scott and Pentatonix producer Ben Bram and “Show You How To Love,” written by Avi and Kevin.
On November 13, Pentatonix will release a Christmas EP – PTXmas – in addition to continuing their North American headline tour, which included more than 2 dozen sell-outs and has prompted a second headline tour set to kick off in January, 2013. They will continue to create new music, consistently testing any and every preconception of what vocal music is and just how big it can be.
Their two EP's are AMAZING and I listen to them like every day. Anyways, I FINALLY got to see them in concert last night and it was INCREDIBLE! First off, I saw it at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC. That was a really nice venue, and kind of classy. They had tables set up to eat in the hall and that's where you viewed the stage. So I was not that far away from them. In fact, I could see them quite clearly, facial expressions and all... so that was awesome being close. They sounded so good! I loved them already, but I was not prepared for how they sounded live. The bass rocked the house, their vocals were amazing... it was so cool.
And I love how genuine this group is. They seemed so humbled to be up on stage and really were passionate about what they do. They had a little session where Avi (the bass) and Kevin (the beatboxer) got the audience involved in a song and it was great. And you could tell they were so thankful for everything and just had a good time. When Kevin was doing this one incredible solo, someone yelled out something like "yea, you better sing it" and it was awesome. He had to stop for a second and continue, but it was cool. I got that moment on video as well. They even are performing on Katie Couric in a few days, and for that they had to prepare a medley of the Top 5 songs of the year. They are still rehearsing it since it was a last minute thing, but they decided to perform it for us last night. They did screw up at the end, but it was still awesome and the audience stood up and clapped for them.
It was sort of more of an intimate, personal show. Pentatonix is pretty popular, but obviously not huge like many of the artists on the radio. So in that sense, they have plenty of support like last night, but you feel more connected to them and everything is more personal in a sense that way. So that's what felt really cool about it all. I did record most of the concert, and have been uploading the videos to YouTube. Once I've uploaded them all, I'll post them here. But it was a night I will never forget and I had a BLAST! Very, very talented group and it was a great time. Can't wait for more from them!