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Reality TV Interview

'The Sing-Off' Pentatonix interview: 'We want mainstream success'

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The Sing-Off 2011: Pentatonix

© NBC Universal

Pentatonix may seem like a small group, with only five members, but don't underestimate them. After an exciting two-hour live finale on Monday, the Arlington, Texas-based a cappella group were crowned the winners of The Sing-Off's third season.

We caught up with Pentatonix following their win to hear about their experience.

What was going through your head when you were announced as the winners?
"It was completely unreal! We were all in shock, as you could see on the show. It was just a culmination of all our journeys thus far and the fact that we were standing on stage accepting the prize was something we never thought would happen. It was a real feeling!"

You've had a lot of Twitter support throughout the competition. What was it like having so much backing from the public?
"It feels great! It's so amazing to know that we had all those votes, it was the most amazing feeling. We just want to say a big thank you - we're humbled and grateful to know that the music we created is being received so well. We're going to keep making music and we hope they enjoy it. "

Being a five-piece group, did you ever feel intimidated in the face of those with so many more members?
"In the beginning, we were definitely really intimidated. Some of the groups had 16 people - we'd hear them rehearsing and they had such a big sound and it was scary 'cos we were newbies. But we gained confidence because we put together a great rhythm sound... and got such great feedback about our parallel harmonies and our rhythm section. We created a great sound as the show went on."

What was your experience like visiting the Trevor Foundation?
"It was unbelievable! It's a cause that we all support definitely and I think we've all kind of experienced that before so it was cool to meet volunteers that have as well. It's a great programme with a great message that saves lives and helps kids to feel not so isolated and alone. We were happy to be supporting it and were so excited that they wanted to work with us when we asked."

Pentatonix

© NBC Universal


Every week you were masterful at creating a new sound. How did your arrangements come together?
"We pretty much always arrange as a group. We sit in a circle and start with the arrangement. Sometimes one particular person will have more ideas if they really connect with the song and they'll kind of take it over. Avi and Kevin come up with a sick rhythm part and we'll come up with the background and then come up with cool little highlights. Usually at the last second, we're fortunate enough to pull enough arrangements together."

What was it like singing with Nick Lachey during the finale?
"It was great! We thought it was going to be awkward with the parts we had to play but he was really down to earth and sweet and he had a lot of advice for us, so it was a pleasure to work with him. He also filled out our sound a lot and was really easy to work with. We totally rearranged his song and he was cool with it and gave us a lot of freedom so it was great."

Was there ever a point when you thought you wouldn't make it another week?
"Every week we psyched ourselves out. If we messed up in dress rehearsals, we'd think it was the week we were going home and get discouraged. In that kind of atmosphere with that pressure, getting discouraged is common for all of the groups. But the only week that I really thought we were going home was [when we sang] 'Your Love Is My Drug' because the judges had a lot of criticism on that... the Britney Spears medley one, as well. But we all have our weeks, and fortunately we never did [go home]."

Who did you see as your biggest competitors?
"We thought Afro-Blue was our biggest competitor - they're amazing musicians and are so humble and put so much heart into their arrangements. They're all so talented and we thought they were our biggest competition. We thought they were going to win and when they were eliminated, we really thought it was the Dartmouth Aires. They have so much energy on stage and are incredible. Michael is the most amazing frontman and in person it was the most amazing thing to see them perform."

What kind of album do you want to make?
"We really want to stage our sound - just five people but with an incredible giant rhythm sound and a three part harmony. We want to make it electronic-influenced like we did on the show. We want to stay true to what our fans really like about us. We want to have soul in it and make it eclectic but still really be us. We also want it to be mainstream and pop too and get some radio play and maybe be one of the first to have done that."



What did you make of your experience with each of the judges?
"Shawn Stockman is just an incredible musician, an incredible performer and a legend in the business. We love how he connects with the emotional aspect of the music and connects with the song - that's important to us... He also helped us connect with songs, too. We thought he was an incredible judge.

"We have been a huge fan of Sara Bareilles forever so it was cool she was on the show. She's great - so quirky and fun with her comments and it's great to get feedback from someone we looked up to so much. That's really what helped us grow.

"Ben Folds also gave really great technical advice. He's a genius - he would go into our technical arrangement and talk about what was wrong and could be better and we took it to heart when considering a new arrangement. Their critiques were a huge aspect of how we won the show."

Besides winning, what was the highlight of your Sing-Off experience?
"Definitely the people we've met. Every single group was so genuine and awesome. Everyone was there for a reason - there were no egos. We became so close to everyone. Some of the best friends we've ever had in my life came from that show so that was a definite highlight of the experience."

Do you have any advice for other groups who might want to audition?
"Just go for it! Be a go-getter, put a group together, rehearse and don't be afraid to audition!"

What's next for you?
"We're just going to do some gigs and press and hopefully put an album together and become recording artists. Hopefully we can make our music transfer into the mainstream and become the first mainstream a cappella group!"

The Sing-Off airs on NBC

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