Pentatonix beatboxer and cellist Kevin Olusola says the collective’s forthcoming album, “The Lucky Ones,” showcases the singers’ musical and personal growth.
“There’s been so much growth that each one of us has gone through personally and in our artistic works,” Olusola says.
“We’ve all done so many different things and experimented with a lot of things. Now, finally coming together to write this original album, it feels elevated. It feels like we have more to say and we’re confident about saying it.”
The multiplatinum a cappella group last released an album of original material five years ago. Olusola says he hopes listeners hear the progress the group has made on the 11-track “The Lucky Ones,” which drops February 12.
“I think for us, this album is very much coming of age with maturity and growth and progress,” he says. “So, that’s what I hope they hear from us in this album. We feel more mature sonically to where we’re going. It feels more elevated. I hope we just see growth.”
This growth was achieved with the help of the producers like Ben Bram, Dan Book, Johan Carlsson, Martin Sjølie, Matthew Koma, Ojivolta and Sean Myer.
“I think it’s been so exciting to work with people who have industry experience,” Olusola says. “However, they’re open minded enough to work with a very left-field pop group who doesn’t use instruments. They helped us push boundaries. I really loved working with people who are different from us but helped us achieve something that we haven’t achieved before.”
Olusola says Pentatonix’s producers and songwriters helped challenge the singers by encouraging them to try new effects on their voices, and to create music that’s a diversion from their “down the middle” a cappella sound. Its team helped Pentatonix gain “a lot of clarity” about elevating its sound, Olusola says.
“For example, if you hear, ‘The Lucky Ones,’ you’ll hear some effects on our voices that makes it more reverberant and in a way that we have never done before,” Olusola says.
“That’s something that we’ve always wanted to try, and it felt like these producers made us feel comfortable in trying those different effects.”
Earlier this year, Pentatonix released its “At Home” EP, which features six tracks and original music videos for its medley “Home,” along with new arrangements of “Blinding Lights” (The Weeknd), “When the Party’s Over” (Billie Eilish), “Break My Heart” (Dua Lipa) and “Dreams” (The Cranberries).
Shortly after releasing its “At Home” EP, the group debuted its arrangement and video for Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.” In addition, Pentatonix released its first original singles in over five years for “Happy Now” and “Be My Eyes,” along with official videos for both tracks.
“The Lucky Ones” features these tracks, along with more original songs. One of Olusola’s favorite tracks is the upbeat “A Little Space,” which features catchy harmonies.
“That one came so naturally,” Olusola says. “I think it really showcases what we do so well as an a cappella group. That one, I feel, represents us extremely well to a mainstream audience.”
Pentatonix has toured throughout the world, but with the pandemic, the group does not have the ability to perform. A virtual show isn’t in the books, but the singers are “always discussing possibilities of how we can connect with the fans,” he says.
When it’s safe to perform again, though, Pentatonix is looking forward to the challenge of singing with increased production.
“Because we added more vocal production to some of them, I think it may be a challenge figuring out which parts to strip back so that when we perform it, it still feels like the song you know,” Olusola says.
Still, Olusola says, the group is looking forward to finally releasing the new music on February 12. The songs were written before the pandemic, but the album was finished during the lockdown.
“It’s been so long since we’ve written all this material,” Olusola says.
“I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to finally have it come out. We’ve done all the work and we’ve thought through every single meticulous detail. Finally, we get to birth this beautiful piece of work into the ethos. I think that’s the thing that excites us so much — all the hard work finally culminates into this one big moment.”