Pentatonix hit high note with Hollywood debut in Pitch Perfect 2
A Grammy, a hit album, an appearance in hit movie Pitch Perfect 2 - US a capella group Pentatonix are hitting all the right notes
The US a capella group Pentatonix boasts a resume so packed with accolades that it is getting hard to keep track.
Barely four years after they formed and won the third season of US reality TV series The Sing-Off, the five-piece act have already clinched their first Grammy.
The quintet, comprising vocalists Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, took home the trophy for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella earlier this year for their Daft Punk medley.
They have more than eight million followers on YouTube and too many viral covers to name, including their rendition of Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera as well as Royals by Lorde.
Their album That's Christmas To Me (2014) shifted over a million copies, making it the fourth best-selling album last year, just behind Taylor Swift, the Frozen soundtrack and Sam Smith.
Now, they can check off another item on their laundry list of achievements - their debut cameo appearance in a hit Hollywood movie.
Pentatonix, who will be performing here again next month, scored a bit role in musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2 as a Canadian a capella group competing against the film's protagonists, the Barden Bellas, and other international groups at the championship finals.
The sequel is showing here now.
"I'm actually going to see it tonight. Oh my God, I am so excited," beatboxer and cellist Olusola, 26, told M in a phone interview from Los Angeles last week.
"Being on a movie set is a completely different experience. We wanted to push ourselves and see how it all comes together for us," he added.
Mere seconds of screen time is a huge deal for Pentatonix, especially since Pitch Perfect 2 topped the US box office over the weekend and raked in US$70.3 million (S$94 million).
The chance to talk to the star of the film, Anna Kendrick, who plays the Barden Bellas' co-leader Beca and who is a Pentatonix fan, was a lucky bonus.
"She told us she has seen our Vine videos and thought they were good," Olusola recalled.
Ahead of Pentatonix's second gig here, Olusola is already looking forward to exploring the city.
Last year, they played three sold-out shows to rave reviews.
"It will be even more exciting for sure. This time round, I hope to see even more of Singapore... and eat more chicken rice," he said, laughing.
Olusula had also visited the National University of Singapore, which partners with his alma mater Yale University, to speak with students.
The 2011 Yale alumni, who wanted to pursue medicine, completed his pre-med requirements, but ended up majoring in East Asian Studies.
It was in university that he explored music seriously and honed his "celloboxing" skills, finishing in second place at the international "Celebrate and Collaborate with Yo-Yo Ma" competition in 2009.
This year, he released his first solo EP The Renegade, which debuted at the top of Billboard's Classical and Classical Crossover Albums charts.
"My parents were initially sceptical," said Olusola of his Nigerian psychiatrist father and Grenadian nurse mother. They wanted me to get a stable, proper job. I felt like this is different, but it is a unique way of supporting myself.
"Now they are incredibly supportive and have seen three or four of our shows."
Pentatonix, who have released four EPs, comprising mostly covers, will open for several of US singer Kelly Clarkson's concerts as part of her Piece By Piece tour.
They will also work on a full a capella album of original tracks. "We've never done this before, so it is something we are still figuring out every day," said Olusola. A new medley with "a big star" is also in the works.
Pentatonix have achieved much in the industry, but they continue to set new goals for themselves.
"We want to get on radio. There hasn't been an a capella group that have done that so we want to aim for that," he said.
"This time round, I hope to see even more of Singapore... and eat more chicken rice."
- Pentatonix beatboxer and cellist Kevin Olusola on retuning to SIngapore
Pentatonix The On My Way Home Tour
June 1, 7.30pm
The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre
$88, $108, $128 and $148 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)