Pentatonix's Scott Hoying Talks New Music & Performing With Kelly Clarkson
Pentatonix decided to slip in one of its original songs at "random" into the Detroit area stop of Kelly Clarkson's Piece By Piece tour on Sunday -- and were both pleased and relieved by the favorable crowd response to the quirky, soul-tinged "Can't Sleep Love."
It was good news because there's more where that came from. Pentatonix's next album, the follow-up to 2014's PTX Vol. III (not counting last October's That's Christmas To Me) will be comprised of all original material, about 90 percent of which was written by the five group members according to PTX's Scott Hoying.
"I would say we wrote 40, 50 songs ourselves, and we worked with professional songwriters, too, which helped us learn more about it and learn more about the process," Hoying tells Billboard. "All of us songwrote a little bit, but we weren't super-prolific. But now we have some really good songs and we're feeling super confident about what we have."
PTX is working with a number of collaborators -- Hoying estimates "probably 30 other songwriters" -- on the new material. Among them are Boys Like Girls' Martin Johnson. "It's all a cappella," Hoying says. "But in terms of genre, it does a lot. We've got some sultry, soulful, slow stuff, then we have upbeat stuff with stomps and claps, and some stuff on our folkier side, too. So it's all over the place, really. We have one collaboration that's already done that we're really, really excited about, and another one that's tentative now with a super-big artist that turned out super great."
The album's timetable "changes very day," however. Hoying says PTX is hoping for October but continues to add and subtract songs and also entertain new producer opportunities. "I don't want to get fans excited and have it come out six months later than I say," he notes. For now PTX continues to hunker in the studio when it can and is also enjoying its warm reception on the Clarkson tour, which includes performing "Heartbeat Song" with her each night.
"The Kelly tour has been the most amazing thing ever," Hoying says. "Kelly's the nicest person ever, so sweet. It feels like summer camp, in a way. The audience is partially our fans, but there are a lot of Kelly fans out there who don't know who we are. It's fun to watch throughout our set as people get more and more into it. For the past couple of shows it's felt like we won her whole audience over by the end, which has been really special. We've got that kind of competitive nature to being an opening act; 'You don't know who I am and all you want to see right now is Kelly Clarkson, but we want to show you how good we are.' That's how we approach each."