Peter Hollens Covers Ed Sheeran's 'The Hobbit' Cut 'I See Fire' and 4 Other A Cappella Acts to Check


Peter Hollens - I See Fire

With ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” coming out tomorrow (Dec. 13), many “Lord of the Rings” fans are hyped about the sequel to last winter’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” To that end, meet Peter Hollens. Equipped with a Vocal Performance degree (who has that?) and more than a decade’s worth of a cappella singing experience with his group On The Rocks, Hollens alone covered Ed Sheeran’s contribution to the “Smaug” soundtrack, “I See Fire.” Watch it below:

Hollens, once featured on the second season of NBC’s "The Sing Off," is a huge fan of “Lord of the Rings.” “After seeing the midnight showing of the first ‘Hobbit’ and hearing “Misty Mountains” I had to cover it,” he says. “I had the exact same response after hearing Ed Sheeran singing this one last week.”

The “music nerd” put a great deal of effort into this song. It features 98 different sound tracks—from his hand-to-knee claps to hums and other subtle warbles that his vocals rest on.

“I record between 8-14 vocal parts,” he starts, “and then layer each of them multiple times. I’m very particular about each individual part. ‘Labor of love’ is an understatement. Each video takes between 85-200 hours of work from audio to video to upload.

It’s not the sexiest cover pick, but Hollens isn’t concerned with rating high on anyone’s cool-o-meter. It’s about feeling. “Honestly, I enjoy covering the more dorky stuff like this than any other pop music out there,” he says. “It just has so much more emotion and passion behind it.”

“Did I mention I'm an enormous dork?” Hollens asks after mentioning that he’s working on a medley for massive sci-fi computer game “World of Warcraft.” He’s also working on his own full-length folk LP. While he cooks those up, give a listen to some of Hollins’ a cappella peers and one legend that's made a career for jazzy a cappellas.

Pentatonix Performing "Daft Punk"

The Beelzebubs Performing "Cruise"

Duwenda Performing "Locked Out of Heaven"

Bobby McFerrin, Performing Cuts From His "Spirityouall" Album



The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.