Pentatonix is an a cappella group of five vocalists, Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, originating from Arlington, Texas. The group won the third season of The Sing-Off on NBC, singing an a cappella arrangement of "Eye of the Tiger", originally performed by the band Survivor, as their victory song. Pentatonix won $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony. Their debut EP, PTX Vol. 1, charted at #14 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Pentatonix is currently touring and recently released their album, PTX Vol. 2 on November 5, 2013.
1.1 Background and name,
1.2 The Sing-Off (2011)
1.3 Debut studio album and tour (2012-present),
3.1 Extended plays,
5 External links,
Background and name:
Pentatonix began with three friends that grew up together: Kirstin "Kirstie" Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. Hearing of a local radio show hosting a competition to meet the cast of Glee, they arranged a trio version of "Telephone" and sent it in. Although they did not end up winning the competition, it sparked attention around their school, where the group began performing. After their version of "Telephone" gained attention on YouTube, they continued performing.
Scott Hoying and Kirstie Maldonado graduated from Martin High School in 2010. Hoying went off to the University of Southern California (USC) to pursue a bachelor's degree in Popular Music, while Maldonado pursued a Musical Theatre major at The University of Oklahoma. Grassi, the youngest member of the trio, was still in his senior year of high school. While at USC, Scott Hoying joined an a cappella group called SoCal VoCals. He found out about The Sing-Off from another member of the group, Ben Bram (also their arranger, producer, and sound engineer) and was encouraged to audition for the show. He persuaded Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi to join him, but the show required at least four members. Hoying met Avriel "Avi" Kaplan, a highly recognized vocal bass in the acapella community, through a mutual friend and the trio found Kevin Olusola on YouTube, as one of his videos where he was beatboxing and playing his cello at the same time went viral (called "celloboxing.) Kevin graduated from Yale, Pre-Med, and also speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese after spending a year studying in China.
The group effectively met the day before the auditions for the third season of The Sing-Off began. Mitch Grassi skipped his high school graduation ceremony in order to arrive on time for the auditions. They successfully auditioned for the show and eventually went on to win the title for 2011 (season 3).
Pentatonix, as suggested by Scott Hoying, is named after the pentatonic scale, a musical scale or mode with five notes per octave. The group believed that the scale's five notes matched their membership. They replaced the last letter with an x to make it more appealing. The quintet derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, reggae and hip-hop.
The Sing-Off (2011):
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sing-Off_(season_3)
Pentatonix performed the following songs on The Sing Off. Note: they did not perform in Episode 1 or 3:
"Your Love is My Drug"
"Piece of My Heart"
Erma Franklin (credited to Janis Joplin)
"Video Killed the Radio Star"
Medley of "Oops!... I Did It Again", "Toxic" and "Hold It Against Me"
"Born to be Wild"
"Stuck Like Glue"
Usher (featuring will.i.am)
"Let's Get It On"
"Forget You" / "Since U Been Gone"
Cee Lo Green / Kelly Clarkson
"Dog Days Are Over"
Florence and the Machine
David Guetta (feat. Usher)
"Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)"
98 Degrees (sung with host Nick Lachey)
"Eye of the Tiger"
Debut studio album and tour (2012-present):
Scott Hoying and Kirstin Maldonado dropped out of school in the hopes of winning The Sing-Off. After they won, all of the members relocated to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career as recording artists. The main goal of the group is to become the first mainstream a cappella group in recent times.
In January 2012, Pentatonix began releasing videos of covers of popular and classic songs on YouTube. Several of their covers, including "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, "Gangnam Style" by PSY, and "We Are Young" by Fun, went viral on YouTube.
Their much-anticipated EP, PTX Vol. 1, was released on June 26, 2012, charting at #14 in the US Billboard 200 chart and #5 digital chart. It sold 20,000 copies in its first week of release. They promoted their album through press appearances on Access Hollywood, VH1 The Buzz, Marie, and local television shows. Pentatonix were also featured on the Chinese version of The Sing-Off as guests where Kevin showcased his fluency in Mandarin.
Pentatonix also embarked on their first national headlining tour in Fall of 2012. The tour was sold-out and spanned 30 cities. The band said the first tour was a chance to meet the fans and understand how to perform vocal music for 90 minutes. Openings acts consisted of Alexander Cardinale and SJ Acoustic Music.
The group released their Christmas EP, PTXmas, on November 13, 2012. The day after, they released their video for "Carol of the Bells". Continuously promoting their album, they were featured performers on "Coca-Cola Red Carpet LIVE! @ The 2012 American Music Awards" Pre-Show on November 18, performed on the Hollywood Christmas Parade, and were the main opening act for the "94.7 THE WAVE Christmas Concert Starring Dave Koz and Kenny Loggins" on December 16. They were also featured guests on Katie Couric (ABC), Home and Family (Hallmark), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Big D NYE. Ryanseacrest.com named Pentatonix the 2012 "Featured Artist of the Year" for their expansive growth online in just one year.
The band went on their second national headlining tour from January 24, 2013 to May 11, 2013, and simultaneously wrote additional original material for their second EP that will be released in Fall 2013.
The band has engaged in collaborations with other artists. In March 2013, Pentatonix posted a cover with violinist Lindsey Stirling of the Imagine Dragons song "Radioactive", which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in the classical digital songs category.
Pentatonix uploaded a cover of Lorde's "Royals" to YouTube on October 2, 2013.
PTX Vol. 2, set for release on November 5, 2013, will have four covers (including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us", and a Daft Punk medley) as well as four original songs: "Natural Disaster", "Love Again", "Hey Momma", and "Run to You". The album also includes a bonus track, the Swedish House Mafia mashup of "Save the World/Don't You Worry Child". The group promoted PTX, Vol. 2 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in November 2013, after the success of "The Evolution of Beyoncé" mashup on YouTube. The video went viral, and was seen by Beyoncé herself.
During The Sing-Off, Pentatonix visited the administrative offices of The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The group shared their experiences of overcoming bullying and recorded a PSA. A 60-second spot about The Trevor Project aired during the live finale, but it was met with considerable controversy as the producers edited out LGBTQ references and failed to acknowledge the orientations of Grassi and Hoying, who are both gay.
Pentatonix performed two shows in Rochester, New York, on December 11, 2011 in support of the University of Rochester YellowJackets' "United We Sing" Kenya project. The event, which also featured all-female octet Delilah, was hosted by the YellowJackets at Kodak Hall at the university's Eastman Theatre. Pentatonix was also invited to the A Cappella Palooza fundraiser in Boston in April 2012 (together with Ben Folds, Delilah, Dartmouth Aires, North Shore and the Dear Abbeys from Boston University) in an effort to raise funds for the Mass General Cancer Center.