Fundamentally Sound: Pentatonix Take A Cappella Mainstream

The L.A. based quintet is leading the charge into a new and instrumentally challenged landscape



His bass is so smooth, it earned him a special award at the collegiate a cappella championships.



The lone lady cast off her show-choir roots to embrace five-part harmony, thank God.



Songwriter. Pianist. Baritone. PTX’s tallest member can produce vocal runs for days.



A tenor and the group’s youngest member, he’s been referredto as the “secret weapon.”



Not only does he beatbox, he “celloboxes.” YouTube it. And he’s fluent in Mandarin.

A cappella, long regarded as pop’s nerdy cousin, has doo-wah-diddied its way into the mainstream. Leading the charge is Pentatonix, a local quintet that won season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off. The group’s arrangements showcase original tunes and diverse covers (everything from Beyoncé to Korean rapper Psy).

Think you’re hearing an instrument or two? That’s Kevin Olusola, a beatboxing demigod whose snare drum and crash cymbal sound effects are anchored by Avi Kap­lan’s bass. Harmonies from Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kirstie Maldonado add the final layers. In the middle of a sold-out world tour, the group performs at the Orpheum Theatre on March 1 and 2. That’s music to our ears, no auto-tune required.

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  • Jill0

    I love these Kids. Their beautiful tones and beautiful faces. I love every song I’ve heard. I could only imagine how awesome to hear them life. Best of luck to them.

  • Wendy Clare

    This group DESERVES every accolade they get…they are gifted, polished, prodigious vocalists, their arrangements are stunning–and they are genuinely nice people who are managing to stay humble in an egocentric industry. More power to them!

  • Linda

    If you haven’t heard them, you’ve got to do yourself a favor and listen. They are simply amazing, each one more talented than the next. I could listen to them all day.

  • Joan S.

    I just wanted to let you know that I love your music. I am a 62 year old wife, mother of 2, & Grandmother of 2. When you post a new song I share it on facebook. My 13 year old Grandson loves your music also. Thank you for the beautiful music. <3

  • Michele

    Thanks for your article regarding Pentatonix. My grandson introduced me to them & I am so glad he did. I listen to them daily.

  • Captain Chris

    What a combined talent! As an old man, I’ve lost interest in most of my old favorites, this has spurned an interest in a new sound that is making my dying love of music alive again. I mean like how many times can you listen to ‘Whole Lotta love’ before you puke. Thanks kids, I thought the music died.