By Michele Stevens Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
The superstar group Pentatonix rolls into McKinney on Oct. 18 to perform before a sold-out crowd at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. As the Season Three winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off, this young quintet has been busy touring, and taking the country by storm with their unique, instrument-free vocal stylings, making a cappella pretty much the coolest thing to hit the pop music scene in decades. The group is comprised of three high school friends from Arlington, in lead singer Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, and Mitch Grassi, along with Avi Kaplan, and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola.
Recently, TSB had the opportunity to catch up with Maldonado, the lone female of the group, to hear more about life on the road, and the rewards and challenges of their musical journey thus far.
TSB: Life on the road, is it all you expected it to be?
Maldonado: Yes, and more! We knew we’d be very busy all the time, but not sure if we really knew how much it would take out of us! We’ve just been really trying to conserve our voices and stay healthy, and we all look out for each other. The touring part is so phenomenal – getting to travel around the country has been so fun and beautiful! We’re all absolutely in love with it, but it definitely is hard to be uprooted from home for so long!
TSB: What would you say the most amazing part of your musical journey has been thus far?
Maldonado: Besides winning The Sing-Off together, I think the most amazing thing that has happened to us as artists is that our first EP, PTX Volume 1, debuted on the Billboard charts at #14. We were all so shocked and grateful. It’s not that we’d set low sights for ourselves, but knowing that our name was on the Billboard charts was awesome. You get so used to seeing big names like Beyonce and Katy Perry on there, and then to see our EP at #14 was indescribable. We all freaked out.
TSB: What have you found to be your greatest challenges as you navigate your musical journey?
Maldonado: One of the biggest challenges is definitely staying healthy. For a band that only uses their voices and no instruments, you have to take care of yourselves and one person losing their voice could be detrimental to the entire group! It’s a balance, but we’re getting better at it every day. I think writing originals was also a big challenge for us, and we’re all still learning the best way to go about it. Sharing a song you’ve written in general is very personal, so doing that and then needing four other people to be inspired by it enough to arrange it is kind of hard, but it can be done. I feel like when our next EP comes out, the process will be a lot easier since we had two originals on our first EP.
TSB: Greatest rewards?
Maldonado: Performing for and meeting our fans has been so rewarding, and we always try to set up a meet and greet after every show if the venue will allow. The fans are supporting our dreams of singing professionally, we’re able to continue doing this because of them. And for that, we are so grateful. Also, traveling and performing at all the different places we do has been so cool. This is such a special time in our lives and everything has happened pretty quickly, so right now everything about our journey has been so amazing.
TSB: Your upcoming concert at the McKinney Performing Arts Center sold out quickly! What can the lucky ticket holders expect when you get to town?
Maldonado: Thanks, we were so excited to see that! It’s so awesome to come to Texas and know that we have so much support from our hometown. They should expect a night full of lively music, fun, audience participation, and hopefully some dancing! I really believe our show is for anyone. We have a variety of different music from Justin Bieber, to Imogen Heap, to Jazmine Sullivan. We have older songs and new songs that just came out! It’s a family show that you will definitely enjoy. And for people that have seen us previously, we have a couple new songs and have thrown some different twists on songs that you may have heard us do before, so we’re keeping you on the edge of your seat!
TSB: McKinney is literally brimming with young talented musicians and singers, many of whom look to your successful journey for inspiration. What advice do you have for those following a similar path to your own?
Maldonado: Work really hard, be a perfectionist in all that you do, and let yourself go in your music, don’t over analyze yourself or your talent. Everyone may have their doubts and insecurities, but if you want to do this for a living, as hard as it is, let them go! A lot of people are held back because they don’t fully believe in themselves, but if you believe in yourself than you are one step closer. On that note, stay humble. Always work very hard in everything that you do and be attentive. You make your own success, you be the one to push yourself to really perfect what you’re doing so that it’s that much better. And besides that, just take each opportunity with gratitude and really go for it. If music is what you love doing, then you should have nothing to lose and enjoy and cherish every step on the way!
TSB: What’s next for Pentatonix?
Maldonado: Every day we’re just trying to bring our music more into the mainstream and get more people to know about us. We’re currently working on a Christmas album and after that we’ll release another album. And we’ll keep touring.
TSB: Anything else you want to make sure I know about you?
Maldonado: Definitely check out our social media sites if you want to stay connected. We’re always trying to come out with new content, and we love interacting with our fans. Our twitter is @ptxofficial and you can find us on Facebook and YouTube as well. And again, just a huge shout-out to our fans. You make this possible every day, and your love and support mean the world to us. Working on getting some more music out to y’all!
TSB: Thank you for your time. We wish you continued success, and look forward to hearing you when you get to town!
Maldonado: Thank you!
Be sure to check out the video below for a sample of what you’re in for when Pentatonix takes the stage on October 18th, at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.