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Mitch Grassi :: Hitting the High Notes with Pentatonix

Pentatonix has taken the world by storm! We’ve all been bitten by the group’s availability and openness; we have the availability to access each member of the group online in ways that are entirely unique. And what’s really cool? Pentatonix takes the time to actually listen attentively and kindly encourage us! Seriously, what’s not to love? EdgeMediaNetwork sits down with Mitch Grassi and talks about his influences in life and what’s in store for the upcoming year!


Via EdgeMediaNetwork
“Man, does this group ever perform. The five members that make up Pentatonix have taken the world by storm. By hurricane is actually a more apt way to put it. Ever since coming into prominence by winning in the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” their introduction to the world-like the aforementioned hurricane-has been as fast as their tightly woven harmonies are to racing across the web.

Masters at marketing themselves via the internet, Pentatonix has not only offered their music on the medium, they have opened their lives up freely, to a whole new generation of tech-savvy listeners. And, let me tell you, those fans are loyal… You might even say a little rabid. Bitten by the group’s availability and openness, fans access each member of the group online in ways that are entirely unique. I witnessed it during an online video-conference, one of the many for sure, during which they laughed, joked and interacted with fans. They took the time to listen attentively and kindly encourage them, as fans chatted with them and returned the favor of their own music. We have entered a whole new realm, folks.

Mitch Grassi, the group’s stand out countertenor, is a perfect reflection of that new modality. He was gracious enough to take a moment during his quick sojourn in Paris, on the way to Munich for more of their whirlwind promo tour-which incidentally-has placed the group’s latest
self-titled album at number one on October’s Billboard charts.

Here’s some of that conversation:
Interviewer: “Let’s do some basic questions about your early days. I love to ask musicians about what their first memories around music are… care to share one?”

Mitch Grassi: “I think my earliest memory, really is just sitting in my bedroom when I was like 3-years-old and listening to tapes on repeat. I remember being so invested in the music and listening to it all day, never really giving myself a break. I mean I still do that now, (laughs) so, obviously music is really important to me.”

 

Interviewer: “Do you remember your first performance?”

Mitch Grassi: “Oh god. I was in community theatre at age nine and I think I played a rabbit. (Laughs) It was a play called “Don Coyote.” Like “Don Quixote,” except it involved all animals. That was my first time being on stage and I was so captivated by it… I was hooked. For about nine more years I did community theatre and musical theatre in high school and that all kind of turned into a love for music and performance.”

 

Interviewer: “Tell us a little about the moment you decided to pursue music professionally.”

Mitch Grassi: “I think it was maybe in eighth grade. I became a bit introverted at that age and I started to really delve into music and figure out what I really loved. What genres I was in touch with. I remember being really inspired by Imogen Heap, because she is so proficient and self-sufficient. She creates all her own music and production. That really inspired me to be a musician, because she did so much on her own and I thought that was amazing.”

 

Interviewer: “I understand that you, Scott and Kirstin formed a trio in high school back in Texas, is that correct?”

Mitch Grassi: “Yes, we did it for a radio competition. Scott and Kristin were a year older than I and were seniors, so it was right during that time. After that school year, they went to college, so it kind of died out a bit. Then we did the “The Sing-Off” (Pentatonix fully formed in 2011 and came to prominence the same year by winning the third season on the NBC show), which happened after that.”

 

Interviewer: “How long did the break end up being?”

Mitch Grassi: “We basically had a year hiatus. At the end of their (Scott and Kristin’s) first freshman year in college, Scott was like,”Hey, I really want to try out for The Sing-Off, I think it could be really good for us.” We obviously were down for that and flew out to audition. Basically, the rest is history.”

 

Interviewer: “Was it at that point that Avi and Kevin came on board?”

Mitch Grassi: “It was right before the audition. We knew we needed to fill out our sound quite a bit. We realized that three people singing and snapping, would not be good and certainly not enough to win. (Laughs)”

 

Interviewer: “What would you say are your biggest musical influences?”

Mitch Grassi: “I’ve been influenced by a lot of different musicians, but Imogen Heap was pretty much my first one. When I found her electronic music and vocals, I was blown away. If you compare us side by side, you can see that I definitely pull a lot of influences from her. I love her so much, it’s even a little unconsciously too, but it’s always there.

I’m especially inspired by soundscapes and ambient music, really electronic music in general. Ironically, it’s something that is synthetic, but there is something so emotional about it for me. It’s pure. I feel like that kind of helped me in Pentatonix as well, because that’s what we really started out doing. We emulated electronic music, because it was really starting to get popular at that time-dubstep and EDM and all of that, it was everywhere.”

 

Interviewer: “Your timeline from your early days to now fascinates me. It’s really mind boggling how much you’ve accomplished since 2011.”

Mitch Grassi: “It really is. It’s very surreal. I can’t even believe it myself, because it’s all happened so quickly. We really dedicated ourselves to this career and it has really paid off. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

Interviewer: “At what point did you realize that you as a group had “made it…” Was there a particular moment when that hit you?”

Mitch Grassi: “Hmmm… There have been a lot of moments like that. But I feel that the most obvious change for me was when we hit number one on the Billboard charts [Pentatonix, their self-titled album hit number one on Billboard’s 200 the week ending October 22] that was an eye-opening experience for sure.”

 

Interviewer: “You knocked Taylor Swift right off the top! Congratulations on that.”

Mitch Grassi: “Thank you. Yes, she has been there for a long time! I feel like it has set a new precedence for us and has put us at a new and higher level. Now, I really feel like we’re competing in the top industry levels. As an a cappellaband, that is almost unheard of, so it really makes me feel like we must be doing something right. People seem to be genuinely enjoying what we’re doing.”

Interviewer: “I’m curious to know if you have felt any resistance in the music industry because of being an a cappella group?”

Mitch Grassi :”Sometimes maybe… I’ve never really been one for the campiness of it all. I feel like we have strayed away from the gimmicky, kitschiness that has defined a cappella music for a while and I think we’re in a really great place, in that sense.”

Interviewer: “My sense is that you have taken the best part of the early trends; things like “Glee” and “Pitch Perfect,” then refined it. You’ve found a way to rebrand yourselves in a way that works really well.”

Mitch Grassi: “Yeah, for sure… We’re a pop band too and we’ve really tried to pay attention to the patterns and trends in pop music and want to stay current. We want to be able change with the tides.”

Interviewer: “Who does most of the writing for your music? Do you all collaborate?”

Mitch Grassi: “We all took turns on this album in particular. We collaborated with songwriters in groups of two or three and sometimes one on one as well-we’ve all had a hand in creating it.”

 

Interviewer: “When do you plan to start touring with the new album?”

Mitch Grassi: “I’m not really sure, I’m assuming next spring, maybe in March. We’re not certain yet because we have to arrange a bunch of live versions from our new album and prep for touring. There are lots of things to think about before it can happen.”

 

Interviewer: “Not that you’re not busy enough already!”

Mitch Grassi: “I know, I know, we’re everywhere right now. But it’s all really good and we like it… and the label likes it too. (Laughs)”

 

Interviewer: “What’s next on the horizon?”

Mitch Grassi: “We have a new Christmas CD that’s going to be coming out soon. Aside from a ton of promo and the tour coming up next spring, that’s about it. I don’t know if we can fit anything else in!”

 

Interviewer: “What’s your favorite place that you’ve performed at so far?”

Mitch Grassi: “I think Japan is my favorite place to be and perform. I’ve always been so fascinated by the culture, arts and the language and the people there are so sweet. And, the fans there are very intense. They are just so emotional when we meet them before and after the shows. They are so generous; they illustrate us a lot, give us gifts and write very sentimental things to us. They are the sweetest. I feel like once you have a fan in Japan, they are dedicated to you for life.”

 

Interviewer: “Do you have any favorite stories about a performance or one of your fans?”

Mitch Grassi: “Yes, yes, yes! Speaking of Asia, we did a show in Manila in the Philippines and I think that was collectively one of our favorites so far. It was a stadium and we felt like Taylor Swift performing for a ton of people. They were so invested in the performance and our music, it was a really unforgettable night.”

 

Interviewer: “Is there anything else specific that you’d like to include?”

Mitch Grassi: “I would really like to thank everyone for supporting our music and us … and for getting us to number one on Billboard! We love you all, so much.””

 

To see the original article, click here.

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Comments...

  1. I’d love to know when you guys will tour Scotland. There are fab halls to compliment your amazing voices….Best

  2. I would like to see y’all tour down in Mississippi

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