Pentatonix (often abbreviated as PTX) is an American a cappella group of five vocalists originating from Arlington, Texas. Their work, mostly in, but not limited to, the pop music style, consists of covers of pre-existing songs and some original material, sometimes in the form of medleys. Their music is defined by their own arrangement style, a strong presence of low bass vocals, and a diverse range of vocal percussions.
On August 7, 2014, Pentatonix announced that their third EP PTX, Vol. III would be released on September 23, 2014. The EP went up for pre-order on iTunes on August 11, 2014 and included a download of two tracks from the EP, "Problem" and "La La Latch". PTX Vol. III debuted at Number 5 on the Billboard 200.
The group also revealed on August 7 that they would release their second full-length Christmas album, That's Christmas to Me, titled after the title track of the album, an original song that was penned by Pentatonix themselves. The album was released on October 21, 2014 and peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200.
A single from the album, "Mary, Did You Know?" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 26 and on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 at number 44.
Pentatonix formed in 2011 and came to prominence the same year by winning the third season of The Sing-Off on NBC, their victory earning them $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony. Their debut EP PTX, Volume 1 was released in 2012, followed by PTXmas the same year, with their third release, PTX, Vol. II, debuting at number 1 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart in 2013. 2014 saw the release of PTX, Vol. III, and their two first full-length albums, PTX, Vols. 1 & 2 (a compilation of Vol. 1 and Vol. II) and That's Christmas to Me. They have sold over 500,000 records.
Pentatonix began with three friends who grew up together: Kirstin "Kirstie" Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. Hearing of a local radio show hosting a competition to meet the cast of Glee, they arranged a trio version of "Telephone" and sent it in. Although they did not end up winning the competition, it sparked attention around their school, where the group began performing. After their version of "Telephone" gained attention on YouTube, they continued performing.
Avi Kaplan's basso profondo vocal range is a distinctive element of Pentatonix's sound. Hoying and Maldonado both graduated from Martin High School in 2010, Grassi in 2011. Hoying went off to the University of Southern California (USC) to pursue a bachelor's degree in Popular Music, while Maldonado pursued a Musical Theater major at the University of Oklahoma. While at USC, Scott Hoying joined an a cappella group called SoCal VoCals. He found out about The Sing-Off from another member of the group, Ben Bram (also their arranger, producer, and sound engineer) and was encouraged to audition for the show. He persuaded Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi to join him, but the show required at least four members. Hoying met Avriel "Avi" Kaplan, a highly recognized vocal bass in the a cappella community, through a mutual friend. Then the trio found Kevin Olusola on YouTube, where, one of his videos in which he was simultaneously beatboxing and playing the cello (called "celloboxing"), had gone viral. Kevin was born in Pasadena, California and graduated pre-med from Yale. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese after spending a year studying in China.
Pentatonix, as suggested by Scott Hoying, is named after the pentatonic scale, a musical scale or mode with five notes per octave. The group believed that the scale's five notes matched their membership. They replaced the last letter with an 'x' to make it more appealing. The quintet derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, reggae, hip hop, and classical music.