When Pentatonix, who had come on board with every intention of making a pop album, finally reconvened in the studio after the pandemic lockdown, the a cappella group turned to a more organic mix around the composition of their fifth holiday album. I realized that I gravitate towards things that are polar and rooted. Working more in singer-songwriter territory, her quintet has started naturally piecing together seasonal and other songs for a 2021 release. ever green.
The former studio of silent film legend Charles Chaplin, The Police, Toto, Van Morrison and Soundgarden are among dozens of artists recorded over the decades. , the group improvised and changed arrangements and was recorded at Henson Studios, where they recorded all five vocals together live.
Leaning towards more folk expressions, ever green Touching a different end of the Pentatonix spectrum, this is rarely behind their more epic holiday renditions.Through 13 songs ever green, The group’s 17th-century English carol “I Saw Three Ships,” Stevie Wonder’s 1984 hit “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” Joni Mitchell’s blue The folk classic “River” and the acoustic title track Pentatonix wrote as a tribute to their mother.For all the weight she carries, she’s not tired/I’m spending my whole life trying to be like her.
Continue ever green, A group that has connected with a collective of artists around the world with the release of its sixth season, world holidaysTheir multicultural collaborations include Meghan Trainor on the opening track “Kids on Christmas”, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Congolese gospel singer Grace Lokwa, Indian singer Shreya Goshal, British a cappella ensemble, The Kings Singers included. on the rest of the album.
More than a decade old and three Grammy Awards, including Best Country Duo in 2017 and Best Group Performance for Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit “Jolene” duet, Pentatonix is set to return in 2023. It was nominated again for Best Traditional Pop Vocal.album of ever green.
The group, who recently received their designated date in Los Angeles on October 28, 2022, American songwriter We talk about reusing their songwriting roots as they move forward, the magic of improvising and recording as a unit, and their constant fear of missing a holiday song.
American Songwriters: How ever green Evolving from pop albums to more acoustic and folky? What happened when we all got together in the studio?
Scott Hoying: What we’ve noticed in the past at Pentatonix is that when we sit together in a room and do things organically and improvise, there’s an energy there that creates something really special. And because of the pandemic, we haven’t done that in a really long time. All had sheet music and changed and moved things. I haven’t done it in a while so it was really good. I also sang them all at the same time. There is always a subtle magic about it too.
we are very happy [2023 Grammy] nomination of this [Evergreen] Because it feels like you are from a really special and authentic place.
Christine Maldonado: There’s something amazing about the technology we have now that allows us to record individually, but we couldn’t really capture the magic that Scott was talking about when we first got together and we were all sitting in that room. I was. I think I can convey the heart of music at any time. It’s like that when you’re on stage, you can feel that voice and connect with each other. It’s incredible that we were able to continue recording under the influence of COVID-19 and even under quarantine, and that’s why we feel this album is so special and meaningful to us. think. You really felt the heart in the room. Just layer it on top and it’s not easy to worry about perfection like that.
AS: What about those specific songs? ever green What draws you to everything?
SH: This album has a little more folk roots than any other Christmas song I’ve made, with three-part harmonies and plenty of emotional, poignant lyrics like “My Heart With You.” It’s not a Christmas song, but it’s a song that means a lot to us as a band. I think it’s also a passing point to the title song “Evergreen”. It is about thanking the mother or mother-like person in your life who makes all the sacrifices and does everything she can to make Christmas a special memory for you. and the heart and feelings and love I have for this album.
AS: Now that you have six holiday albums, and you’re taking classic standards and adding originals, how do you find new ways to reinterpret some of these songs? mosquito?
KM: The challenge is to find new songs to do (smile).
SH: Yeah, definitely lacking songs. The trickiest thing is that some of these songs are very famous. For example, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. When trying to interpret a Christmas song, stay true to what makes it special. But it also adds its own twist to make it unique and different. The perfect balance between reinventing without losing the essence of the original, finding that fine line. am.
KM: Naturally, traditional Christmas songs contain a lot of harmonies, and it was a big thing for me to want to bring that back on this album. we have done before.they [the songs] Being together is everything and after not being together for so long there was a lot of harmony with that and love. It felt so cozy and organic, as if you were sitting in the same room as us. that was our intention.
AS: You’ve been together for nearly 12 years now. How do you put songs together now as opposed to before? Is it still very collaborative?
Mitch Grassi: We have this kind of regenerated and rejuvenated mind. We are all locked in synergy. I think the overarching theme of the music we write is about unconditional love, gratitude, joy and happiness. And now that we’re in that place, it’s been really fun to collaborate. We’re not sitting around. Usually one or two of us write songs with another songwriter or producer. But then we bring songs to each other and figure out how to make it cohesive, how to make it Pentatonix.
We’ve been together for a long time, so we know how to communicate clearly, especially when it comes to creative decisions. We are very respectful and very open about what decisions need to be made to fit the band and its trajectory.
SH: That’s also what makes ‘Evergreen’ so special as the title track. Because I think ‘Evergreen’ is a story that all five of us are deeply involved in. With original music, it can be difficult to tell a completely authentic story to all five of us at the same time, but “Evergreen” feels like it captures it. That’s why it’s so much fun to sing together on stage.
son world holidays (2022) has many collaborators including Meghan Trainor and artists from India, Africa and beyond. What did these artists add to this particular collection of songs?
SH: We love collaboration. Whenever an artist that inspires us is ready to create something, we are always ready. There is so much magic that comes from combining styles, combining creative energies.upon holidays around the world, We have worked with different artists from different countries. Just learning about their music, genres, culture, and how they celebrate their holidays was an eye-opener. That combination of so many different people can make something very special.
Matt Sully: Also, I feel really humbled when we collaborate with artists who are so excited to sing with us. [Mariah Carey’s] “All I want for Christmas is you.” She was very dizzy. When she sang around the piano together, she was like, ‘This is Christina Perri and she’s singing with us. It’s happening more often than I thought, so it’s really cool to be in a position where people respect our work so much. are cooperating with
AS: From your individual solo projects and from collaborating with so many different artists, it adds a different dynamic to the music you make and the way Pentatonix approaches the songs. do you think?
KM: We all have solo endeavors where we think we can find ourselves personally. I feel like I learned a lot about songwriting and I was able to bring that with me to Pentatonix. I feel like we’ve all gotten creative with ourselves and our interests. It has helped us grow individually to unite and be where we are today.
AS: Holiday music is done all year round because we have to record these songs during the summer or well before Christmas. Why is Pentatonix returning for the holiday season?
SH: I think I’m drawn to holiday music because it’s such a fun time. Being able to create holiday music that so many people listen to is truly special. I think vacations are some of the best memories you’ve had growing up and generally some of the best memories you make with your family, so it’s amazing that they can be the soundtrack to many families’ central memories. , is something beautiful and deep that gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Also, holiday music and harmonies go very well together. It’s easy to jump into it every year.
MG: I think people have a strong connection to hearing human voices, and especially how human voices connect harmony and emotional memory. They’re entwined with the emotional nostalgia of the Christmas season and really feel like the perfect marriage.
AS: What kind of songs do you want to write now, except for the holidays?
SH: I’ve written a lot of songs over the past year in this new phase of Pentatonix’s songwriting direction, but I’ve noticed a recurring theme. Some of the songs we wrote are about regeneration and renaissance. It’s like an evolution, a new beginning, or a start. I think it’s a natural reflection of where we are now. It’s exciting that we landed there.
Photo: Courtesy of Oriel PR