Billboard caught up with Scott Hoying of a capella phenomenon Pentatonix to discuss the group’s powerful cover of “Hallelujah,” which appears on their 2016 album A Pentatonix Christmas — and is currently climbing the Holiday 100.
Why do you think this particular Leonard Cohen cover from 2016 still resonates?
Scott Hoying: “Hallelujah” is one of the most iconic songs ever written. We made it really dramatic and emotional, and when people hear it, they feel something. We were originally going to put Christmas lyrics in it, but we wanted to honor the poetic original. It’s inclusive — people who don’t celebrate Christmas can enjoy it.
Christmas Is Here! is Pentatonix’s fourth holiday album. What got the group hooked on Christmas?
It’s the best part of the year. You get to be with family, and it’s just so warm and cozy. A cappella blends with Christmas so well, and that’s why we did our first Christmas EP. “Carol of the Bells” [from 2012’s PTXmas] did really well on YouTube, and it’s so much fun, so we made another album after that.
What are your Christmas traditions?
We always watch It’s a Wonderful Life. [Bandmate] Kirstie Maldonado makes a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake. I [listen] to classics with orchestra arrangements. That feels the most Christmas, besides Pentatonix.