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Pentatonix puts an a cappella twist on old, new hits by others

Mitch Grassi is about giving the people what they want – but in his own way.

As a member Pentatonix, the members take old and new songs and give them an a cappella twist.

It’s a style that has catapulted the band into mainstream music, and it’s a place Grassi and crew like to stay.

The band is headlining its own tour and is bringing along Echosmith and Calum Scott. The tour makes a stop in Albuquerque on Sunday, July 22, at Isleta Amphitheater.

Pentatonix also released the album, “PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. 1,” in April. The album features covers of songs by Charlie Puth, Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello, Ed Sheeran, Zedd, Portugal. The Man, Kesha, Julia Michaels and Demi Lovato.

Grassi is joined by Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee.

Grassi says the band is pretty attuned to which songs will best suit a Pentatonix arrangement.

“Criteria consists of (but is certainly not limited to), popular songs at the time, old classics, multiple fan requests,” he says. “We like to cover songs that we know people love.”

Grassi says that back in the day, the members used to sit in a big circle and toss out ideas until a song came together.

It proved to be tedious and difficult, but some of the best arrangements came out of it.

“The repetition helped us to learn the music really well,” he says. “Nowadays, we go into the studio with our chief arranger, Ben Bram. He uses a music notation software that makes it much easier to piece the song together, and it really helps to visualize the music we’re making, as well. As far as impasses go, we’re pretty democratic. We discuss until we’ve reached a verdict, and the verdict is usually what we all think would make the most sense for the arrangement. There’s no room for inflated egos.”

Grassi says getting the songs just right also takes a lot of work.

And it’s about the details.

“Honestly, it’s just about merciless repetition,” he says with a laugh. “We rehearse until it becomes muscle memory. When we’re recording music, we’re very particular about the small things. Making a record usually means going into the studio multiple times for each song.”

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