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Interview: The Pentatonix Are Going 'Around The World' This Holiday Season

Interview: The Pentatonix Are Going 'Around The World' This Holiday Season

The group revealed what Broadway musical would make the best a cappella album.

Superstar a cappella group Pentatonix is gearing up for another holiday season, filled with a new holiday album, a Disney+ special, and North American tour dates!

Their new album, "Holidays Around The World," is out now and features guest vocals from Lea Salonga, Meghan Trainor, Lang Lang, Grace Lokwa, Hiba Tawaji, La Santa Cecilia, Shreya Ghoshal, HIKAKIN & SEIKIN, and The King Singers. The album features original music and classic holiday covers.

In their Disney+ special, they are taken on a whirlwind tour around the world, discovering holiday traditions and inspiration from Pentatonix fans all around the globe: from Japan to Grenada, Iceland to Ghana and Mexico. The special will be released on December 2.

BroadwayWorld caught up with Pentatonix to discuss their new album, their favorite memories on tour, and what musical they think should get the a cappella treatment.

What can audiences and listeners expect from this new album?

Mitch Grassi: It's a world of difference. I didn't mean to make that, but it came out and I just ran with it. It's quite different than our last Christmas records. There's a lot of instrumentation. There are a lot of featured vocalists and guests.There's a lot of world influence. It's so much fun to make. I think the listeners are gonna be really surprised. And original music!

Scott Hoying: There's a lot of originals on this one, too. I feel like the most of any of our Christmas albums.

How do you all go about curating the track list and figuring out which covers you'd want to include on the album?

Scott: Well, at this point, whatever's available. Honestly, we just jam and talk about it and we bring ideas to the table and whatever just feels like it's working and inspires us. It's a pretty free flowing process. Then we'll do writing sessions if we love the song, we're like, "Put that on there." Like whatever just like came from an organic, authentic place makes the album.

Kirstin Maldonado: And what made the most sense to the artists we were collaborating with too and their culture.

Interview: The Pentatonix Are Going 'Around The World' This Holiday Season
The Pentatonix in their new Disney+ special

What is everyone's favorite track on the album and why?

Scott: This is so hard because honestly I think this is my favorite album just of anything we've done. So, but I would have to say the one I've listened to the most is "Love Came On Christmas." Always. Then I also just love "Kid on Christmas" so much because it's like that classic Christmas vibe and Meghan [Trainor]'s voice is amazing.

Kevin Olusola: Yeah, for me it'd probably be that one or "Star on Top." We went to Nashville to write with amazing songwriters. It's our first time ever doing a Nashville songwriting camp. When we wrote that song with Chris August, I mean there was just something so special about the way he writes and then we got some of the best Nashville players to play on that record. It turned it into something so magical that I don't think we even could have imagined when we wrote the song. So it's, it's a really special one to us.

Mitch: I love Hark The Herald.

Kirstin: That's also my favorite.

Mitch: That's my favorite arrangement. The guest vocalist is so good. It's beyond.

Scott: It's wild singing with artists, like singers from other countries, that can sing scales and like just stylistic choices that I would never even like think of.

Mitch: That you don't hear in Western culture, too.

Kisten: It's also fun to redo. We've already done "Hark," but to do it with Hiba [Tawaji] on it, it's a completely different song and brings a whole new life to it and she's just so incredible. I love that one. I also love "Star on Top." I also love that we're doing a song with Lea Salonga. Queen, Queen, Queen. She is just amazing and incredible and so it was such an honor to sing with her.

Scott: So that covers every song on the album.

You have your fifth Christmas special coming out. What can we expect from this new one on Disney+?

Matt Sallee: So this special actually inspired the album. This special came first. We did this special in January right at the beginning of this year right after. We were in different territories and we use this XR technology where we would go to each different country because we weren't allowed to fly obviously because of COVID. So we're going to Japan and the XR takes us on top of a rooftop and we're in the congo with people. So it's this beautiful conglomeration of just culture and music and I think that it inspired us a lot. So like, let's take these songs and expand on them and let's do more songs and let's reach out to the artists around the world and just really dive in that way. And we do some acting in it.

Scott: Emmy winning acting.

Interview: The Pentatonix Are Going 'Around The World' This Holiday Season
The Pentatonix in their new Disney+ special

You're are also doing a holiday tour this year. You guys have been on the road together for such a long time and you must have so much fun. Do you have a specific memory from one of your past tours that sticks out to you as your favorite?

Scott: Oh, so many.

Kevin: Well one of the memories that always sticks out to me was seeing a great-grandmother, a grandmother, a mother and a daughter all come to our VIP and all say that they all agree on listening to our music. That's spans so many generations and to know that the way we sing and our style of a capella reaches that many people from literally completely different generations is truly special. It's just not something you hear about today.

Kirstin: It's also really fun to just travel with each other and celebrate Christmas for a whole month long because everywhere we're going is so festive. When you said that, this memory came into my head, we were in Germany, we went to a Christmas market like, that was like 2012, 2013. Like we've been able to do that and then just go around and there's beautiful holiday lights and it's just really special to have that joy for an entire month and then be able to sing and do what you love is great.

Scott: I would say my favorite memory is we did a ping pong tournament once and I would say I was about fourth seated, just like not expected to win and I ended up winning. Spoiler alert. It was just like, nice to prove myself.

Since you have so many ties to musical theater and Broadway, if you could take any musical and turn it into an a capella album, what would it be? What musical do you think would make the best a capella arrangements?

Mitch: Spring Awakening.

Scott: Dear Evan Hansen.

Kevin: Could we do Wicked?

Scott: Wicked would be hard. It would be cool though.

Kirstin: I feel like Into The Woods would be really hard but really cool.

Mitch: That would be sick. Or Sweeney Todd.

Matt: I was gonna say Sweeney Todd, that would be a good one.

Check out their upcoming tour dates here. Watch the trailer for their new Disney+ special here:

Photos: Disney/Eric McCandless

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