Sing proudly, Pentatonix fans – they hear you, and they think you sing ‘unbelievably well’
MANILA, Philippines – No one ever doubted that Filipinos are natural-born singers – but now we’ve been given the ultimate seal of approval from no less than Grammy Award-winning acapella group Pentatonix.
The group has been travelling the world to perform, and while they’ve had many wonderful fan experiences, they know from their previous shows in the country that there is no audience like the Filipino audience – if only for their vocal skills.
“Filipino audiences, I’ve never met an audience that just, they sing so unbelievably well,” said the group’s beatboxer Kevin Olusola in a phone interview with Rappler.
“The Filipino audience, they know harmony, they can all riff really well as well so it’s really fun because whenever we ask to sing something back, they sing it so perfectly,” he said. “It’s super incredible to hear. I absolutely love it, it’s so fun.”
Pentatonix is headed to Manila to perform for the first time in the country since 2016, and the group is looking forward to meeting with their Filipino fans again.
“I think the most special thing is the fact that we get to connect with the Filipino fans. We haven’t been there I would say maybe since 2016 I’m guessing. It’s just the fact that we get to come with a brand new show that I think people are gonna really, really love,” he said, adding with excitement that he hopes to eat some halo-halo backstage.
The show, which is part of Pentatonix: The World Tour, has a setlist that includes some veritable earworms and classics: “Havana” by Camila Cabello, “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.
Kevin shared that their choice of songs comes down to pieces that they’re excited about, and that create an even pace for listeners.
“We just kind of create an arc to the show that makese sense,” Kevin said. “I don’t know if there’s necessarily a story to the sequence but we make an arc so that, you know, there’s not too many slow songs in one part of the show. It’s even-paced so that people still feel like they’re on a journey.”
Their setlist also includes a lot of their original music.
Finding their own sound
Kevin shared that the group has written about 35 or 36 original songs now, and they’re trying to figure out the songs that they like and how they’re going to release them.
“We don’t know how we’re going to release it, if it’s going to be an album, or a single here and there. We don’t know, but all we know is that we’re really excited about our original songs,” he said.
That they’ve churned out a good chunk of original songs is impressive, considering they’re known and loved by their fans for their covers of popular songs. As Kevin shared, writing originals isn’t that much different from doing their covers.
“I don’t think it makes it more challenging [to write original music]. I mean the way we think about doing original music is like we’re covering songs that we’ve heard on the radio, so we go in, and produce a regular song. Like, we write the song with producers, write it as if we were hearing it on Spotify or on the radio, and then we just do our normal process of taking that song and arranging it for what we do best, so I think it’s a really great process and I think it’s fun to do or sing original songs that matter to us to the fans,” he said.
He also shared that as an acapella group, they’re figuring out what they’re best at – that is, the vocals.
“We don’t really mimic other instruments anymore because we realize that you know, we are a vocal group and to try to mimic some sort of electronic sound doesn’t really make sense because a voice cannot truly mimic any of those sounds in a very compelling manner, so we said, you know what, we’re gonna do what we do best and focus on our vocals, and make it really beautiful for hopefully people to enjoy,” he said.
Pentatonix have been on tour since May 2019, kicking off with shows in California, USA before heading to Latin America and Asia.
Kevin said that so far, the best part about the tour is, as one can imagine, “just meeting the fans and going to places that we haven’t been to in a long time, and all the places we’ve never been to before.”
He shared that the group got to go to South America for the first time.
“It was super, super fun for us,” he described. “It was cool to finally meet all these fans from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico that we’d heard about through social media and they continuously tweet us, Instagram us who we’ve never gotten to meet so I think that was super, super special for us.”
He shared one particular moment during their show in Argentina, when he and fellow member Matt Sallee led the audience in chanting “Ole, Ole, Ole,” describing it as “one big sing along.”
“So we did that with them and it was the craziest experience, I mean they jumped up like they were at a One Direction concert,” he said. “It was the most insane fan experience that we’ve ever had, I was like, this is crazy, this is not possible.”
Obviously, going on tour and waking up in different time zones week after week can be taxing – but the members make sure they take care of themselves through it all.
With halo-halo as a definite exception, Kevin said that most of them eat well and work out to stay on top of their game.
“I would say we drink a ton of water, I mean tons and tons and tons of water. And you know we each try to sleep about 8 to 10 hours each day beause you’re body is your instrument so if you don’t sleep enough, your body, your voice can’t function as efficiently as it would like to,” he said.
The group is set to arrive in Manila soon, in time for their concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, February 8, and it’ll be a night of amazing voices – both from the performers onstage, and from the Filipinos, natural-born singers that they are, in the audience. – Rappler.com