Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado and Kevin Olusola share their quarantine check-in process – and what’s next for the group

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Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado remembers when she called up her classmate Kevin Olusola in a slight panic as she set up her new home studio as the group went into quarantine earlier this year.

“I was like, ‘Kevin, I’ve got this, this, and that. What cords am I missing? What do i need? What am I doing? Like, what’s going on? She remembers now, laughing.

Eventually, Maldonado reunited his studio, and she and Olusola – along with the three other Pentatonix members: Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying and Matt Sallee – dove into recording their new, aptly titled cover EP. At home.

The six-song project, which was released on June 24, features the group’s takes on “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish, “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd and “Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa, and was born as a desire for the group to go back to its “roots,” says Olusola.

“We said, ‘You know what, we always want to bring joy during a tumultuous time like this,” Olusola tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen below). “So let’s go back to our roots. Let’s do some covers that excite us, songs that interest us. ”

the At home The project will thrill fans as Pentatonix finishes preparing for the release of their next original songs (“we’re really, really proud of them,” says Maldonado) as well as a new holiday album.

Christmas albums are nothing new for the vocal group, as the three-time Grammy winners landed five of the Billboard’s top 10 200 albums with holiday plans, including No.1 2017. A Pentatonix Christmas. The act reached the top 10 in 2019 with The best of Christmas Pentatonix.

In total, Pentatonix had 10 top Billboard 200 albums, reaching No. 1 twice – with both A Pentatonix Christmas and the group’s self-titled release in 2015, which was also the almost entirely original material act’s debut album.

Here are some highlights from Maldonado and Olusola’s conversation with the Pop Shop podcast.

On how the At home EP get together:

Kevin: We did most of the recording at home. And that’s kind of what led to the concept. We said, “You know what, we always want to bring joy during a tumultuous time like this. So let’s go back to our roots. Let’s do some covers that we are excited about, songs that interest us.… And the cool thing is that the label (RCA Records) gave us a recording budget so that each of us could have a recording studio. with us. So (we) learn to use Pro Tools and Logic and go to YouTube and the like. Kirstie, do you remember texting me or calling me like, ‘hey, how does that work? uh …

Kirstin: Well, because Kevin is traveling with a little mini studio on tour. So if he has any ideas for songs or covers, he works them on the road. And so, I knew Kevin would have the best mind to help me at the start. I was like, ‘Kevin, I’ve got this, this, and that. What cords am I missing? What do i need? What am I doing? Like, what’s going on? (Laughs.) But it was really rewarding. I think we just maybe recorded a song (for At home) before all the quarantine stuff happened, like we (recorded songs). And then the rest of them were done individually with us.

But it was really cool because it wasn’t like there was a vocal producer in the room telling you exactly how to do it. You had to listen to yourself and follow yourself and make it sound the way you wanted. There is a sense of pride that goes with it. More pride in your work because you are the one who has to make sure it is of the quality you want it to be. So, it’s been just as frustrating to just, you know, make it work, but it’s also been just as rewarding.

Hearing artists, they cover:

Kirstin: I feel like early in our careers, when YouTube was first a huge thing, we heard more from artists, because it was a new platform to create music and movies. times. But Kevin just heard from Billie Eilish’s team, right?

Kevin: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah! A friend of mine works for Finneas (Eilish’s brother). (He) played the music for Finneas, and he said “oh my God”. And then he showed it to Billie and she loved it, which was super cool…

By having Eilish’s seal of approval:

Kevin: It’s very cool. Very cool.

Kirstin: It’s amazing! I know, it’s … I’m a geek. I love it. I mean, I love him and Finneas …

On how the band has new original songs on the way:

Kevin: By the time we were in our forties, we had actually finished some original songs (without covers) that we’re excited about. We are proud. And we’re excited to start thinking about how we’re starting to bring these songs to the world …

Kirstin: Obviously we’ve always been on the road and on tour, and so if you come out with an album, and then we have all these tours lined up, you can shoot that music, promote that music. And since COVID, we no longer have that ability. So it’s about creating a different marketing plan. Because these originals, we are really very proud of them. And we’ve only had one original album in the past. But even from then on, you know, we were like little babies. We were so nervous every writing session. And I really feel now, as people, and as what we’ve been through and been through as a group, and how we’ve grown, just over the past nine years – it all really comes to life and is. shown in this original album. So we try to condition it in the best possible way for times like this. And we are almost ready to publish it. We wanted him to come out forever forever, but obviously we want him to have pretty good support, and to have the proper thinking and planning behind it. So that’s everyone late. (Laughs.) We know we always tease him.

On plans for a new holiday album:

Kirstin:… We talk and end the conversations to original music, some of which we hope to release before anything Christmas-related. But we’re definitely going to do a Christmas album this year. I feel that, especially this year, that love and that joy, and that feeling of bringing everyone together is really needed. And so, I feel like our Christmas album can be really special this year. We’ve done so many, I think we weren’t really expecting to maybe make a giant out of it (album). But I think I can’t wait to see what we can do to continue bringing people together like we’ve done in the past.

In addition to the Pentatonix interview, Pop Shop hosts Jason and Keith discuss how Harry Styles recorded his first # 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Watermelon Sugar,” which led to the track to its crowning glory on the count, and Styles’ pivotal year with his Fine line album et ses singles «Adore You» et «Watermelon Sugar».

the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one stop shop for everything that is happening Billboardthe weekly charts of. You can always count on a lively discussion of the latest pop news, fun stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and people from the pop world. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear BillboardKeith Caulfield, senior chart director, and Jason Lipshutz, senior music director, weekly on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or uploaded to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)



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