Well, let’s get right to it, shall we?
What is the meaning behind the song “Run To You?”
Avi and I wrote the song "Run To You" around the theme of longing. Everyone yearns for something in their life at one point, whether it’s love, a desire, etc., so we wanted to capture that feeling in "Run To You." Before the band recorded it, we all went to Scott and Mitch’s apartment to discuss what the song meant to us and what each of us longed for in our lives, and I think that conversation made our performance much more genuine. I hope our song resonates with you!
Do you miss Owensboro, and how often do you get back? Have you been back since we’ve revitalized downtown? If not, PLEASE DO! I’m thinking a downtown concert!!
I definitely do miss Owensboro, KY! It’s my hometown, the place where I grew up and started building my musical foundation. I have the fondest memories of my hometown. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back since Christmas of 2011 after winning the Sing-Off and moving to Los Angeles. Also, my family moved out of Owensboro! But I’m hoping that we can do a concert in my hometown! We’ve done one in all of the other band members’ hometowns, so why not mine? :)
What experience did you have in China that truly made a difference in how you act, think, or see things?
There’s one experience that comes to mind. Before China, I was never someone interested in topics such as business/social sciences/etc. The only topics I really knew were music and medicine. However, I’ll never forget the first time I went to China on a ten-day trip for 100 Yalies by invitation of former President Hu Jintao. One of the places we visited was Shanghai’s Pudong district, a very well developed area for business. I found out that ten years prior, there was practically nothing there. I couldn’t believe that in ten years a district could rapidly develop into something of that magnitude. Truly mind-blowing if you ask me! It was one of the pivotal moments that sparked my interests in business, development, social sciences, and entrepreneurship. I didn’t know I had it in me at that time, but now I guess I do :)
Emily Anne Maldonado
I have no confidence to do what I love, which is singing. Do you have any tips on becoming more confident?
I believe confidence is a mindset. It’s a mindset of fighting for yourself and what you believe is important to you. Every morning, I do something that Quincy Jones taught me: he reads a list of affirmations to channel the mindset of the person he desires to be everyday. I tell myself “I am a confident person” and believe it in it, and know that I am someone who will fight for what I believe I am able to do. Try that out, and then pair it with lots of hard work. Practice, sing songs, take lessons, put yourself out there on social media, etc. The more you do it, the more your confidence will build and those affirmations will become real to you. It’s difficult, but I really believe that the pairing of a strong mindset and strong work ethic can help you get to where you want to be in life.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a musician? What do you find most difficult/challenging?
What I love the most about being a musician is seeing your musical idea come to life and then sharing it with an audience. It’s an exhilarating feeling that I never want to let go of! I think the hardest thing is juggling all the various responsibilities you have. Today’s industry requires you to be more than just an excellent musician. You have to be an entrepreneur, a business person, a social media personality, etc. You have so many hats to wear that sometimes it’s hard just keeping up with your craft! That’s why time management is such an essential part of being a successful musician!
Have you ever thought of lyrics for Renegade?
I have actually! I haven’t gotten around to it, but if you want to write lyrics, be my guest! :)
Have you ever thought about taking a break from music?
I haven’t thought about it! To be honest, I feel like I’m just at the beginning of my musical journey, especially since I decided to pursue this career relatively late in my youth. There’s so much I’m figuring out in terms of my own sound, my gifts and talents, my strengths and weaknesses, the types of songs I like to write, etc. Also, I believe that being a musician teaches me about my inner strength and tenacity, which is invaluable to me. So, even though music is challenging, I don’t think I’m ready for an early retirement just yet ;)
What’s the best lesson you have learned in your career?
Be consistently creative! So many people want to have a career in music, but I think those that make a stamp on the industry are those who have honed in on their uniqueness and creativity. As a band, we believed in our ability to make a cappella music something that wasn’t novel that everyone could enjoy. We’re always thinking about creative concepts for our music and videos so that the product would be something everyone would share. For the cello, I listen to so many interesting musical styles that could enhance the way I “sing” through my instrument. That type of creativity is crucial to having a long-lasting career.
It's been a while since I did an essay #KOCorner, so I thought, "let's bring it back to basics." The question this week comes from @queenolusola @KaylaUzlik:
What advice/words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?
Well, do I have an answer for the two of you:
1. Don't stress about needing to date while you're young. Growing up, my parents jokingly enforced this rule that none of their kids were allowed to date until we were married (shout-out to all of the children with immigrant parents lol!). But in all honesty, I wasn't necessarily someone who was looking to date, because of what I called the "Middle School-High School Dating Cycle":
1. Students date.
2. Students fall in love.
3. Students spend all their time together.
4. Students eventually break up.
5. Students are so emtionally drained that they can't focus on anything else.
And I tell you now, I just wasn't into that. Don't get me wrong. I definitely was attracted to some of the girls in my class, but seeing that five step process time and time again strayed me away from trying it (I didn't have my first girlfriend until college, and even that experience I don't think I was ready for or committed to fully). Friends would constantly wonder why I hadn't asked girls out, and I'd sometimes question myself thinking, "Shouldn't I be wanting a girlfriend? Everyone else does!" But now looking back, I would have told myself Kevin, don't worry about it. You'll know when you're ready. When you're older, you'll know what you want in a girl, you won't see the person as a distraction to your career/future, and you'll be much more emotionally mature to handle what comes from being in a relationship. It's worth the wait (Now, this is just me personally. I know there are many people that have had very successful relationships during their younger years. For myself, I just wasn't at the social or emotional maturity level to date. If you believe you are, then go for it!).
2. Read everything that interests you. When I was younger, I viewed reading as a chore. I was primarily exposed to reading literature and textbooks, and neither I was fond of, unless it was about science or music. When I got to college, I started gaining exposure to other areas of life such as business, economics, foreign affairs, entrepreneurship, etc.; learning about these other aspects of life gave me a more well rounded perspective of the world. I had never realized I was interested in these subjects, so I started delving into reading magazines such as Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Foreign Affairs. I also found out I loved reading autobiographies of people who I admired and learned from their failures and wise decisions. I'm such a different person than I was before, and I only wish I would have realized that much earlier in life. I think I would have gained much more wisdom at a younger age.
3. Enjoy the wealth of opportunities and people around you. During my years at Andover and Yale, my main focus was to do well in school. I learned a great deal about my work ethic, which has been invaluable to achieving certain accomplishments, but I didn't soak in all of the various opportunities that a world class institution afforded me. Every week there were talks by world leaders and top-notch professionals, performances by renowned musicians and actors, trips to NYC to see Broadway musicais or the Met, and I missed out on so many of them because i was "too busy" studying for classes. Not only that, but I didn't tap into the wealth of relationships that I could have. Granted, I was a pretty popular kid on campus, and my closest friends tell me that I couldn't walk from one area of campus to another without getting stopped by classmates. However, I wish I spent more time forging long-lasting relationships with all of the talented, thoughtful, diverse, and interesting people that could have challenged me to be better. Now that I live in Los Angeles, which is such a fascinating city with so much to do and so many people, I'm not going to make that same mistake again.
I hope this helps!
Guys! I know I choose one question a week to answer, but sometimes I want to respond to all of you! So this week I answered multiple Facebook and @Twitter questions! Check ‘em out below!
YOUR MOM IS GORGEOUS! My question is…How did you feel when Kirstie, Mitch, Avi and Scott picked you to be the one to fill up the space for one more member of Pentatonix?
You know, I just took it as a fun opportunity to showcase what I do on TV and to meet new people who love music. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t take it too seriously in the beginning (but maybe I should’ve because I didn’t realize at the time they had auditioned so many beatboxers!). It was only after we met and sang for the first time that I said “wow, we have something really different and really special.” Never in a million years did I think that “fun opportunity” was going to turn into what this is now! Sometimes, you just have to take those random opportunities in life, cause they might lead you down a more amazing path than you could’ve ever dreamed of for yourself!
So what i would like to know is…what is the song you really really love to beatbox/sing?
Currently, it’s the Michael Jackson Medley! Michael Jackson has been a hero of mine; in everything he did, he put in his all. He wanted to give his fans the best show, to write songs that made people feel good, and to give people hope around the world. To revisit what he exemplifies through his work is a blessing, and to sing the medley on stage means the world to me (especially now that I have a solo!).
Hahaha you all are so cute :) And that’s awesome!
how can one decide their future? Like in school because I have no clue what to do with my life and next year I have to pick my GCSEs and I'm really confused on what to pick! How could I know what to do or chose!?
If you don’t know, then I’d say explore things you’ve always been interested in. I think that during this phase of uncertainty in your life, it’s important to love what you do, so jump right in and try something you’ve always wanted to do!! By following your passions, you may discover new passions, change your view on how you see the world, or maybe it’ll spark a new idea that turns into an entrepreneurial endeavor.
Wow, what a good question. I think my first album was an introduction to what I can do now with just cello and beatboxing. Now, I want to build upon that foundation to dive deeper into new areas of music and enhance my sound. Recently I’ve been writing a lot more for the band, in addition to experimenting with my voice and music technology. Also, I’ve been listening to not just classical music, but also classic songs such as jazz standards and other popular 20th century songs. I love the idea of juxtaposing those sounds with the musical texture of our time. All in all, there’s so much I’m learning, and I want to showcase what I’ve learned in this next album.
I think I would’ve loved to apply for the foreign service. It would have incorporated cultural diplomacy (so looooots of music), my language skills, and my academic background. That would have been a dream come true! Who knows, maybe I could have become an ambassador to China later on in life if I had followed that passion!
Your K.O corners are truly so inspiring so thank you for doing them! My question is: do you ever get caught up comparing yourself to other individuals, and how do you get over it? I often feel like I missed the boat to achieve a lot of things friends or classmates have and it seems likes its too late to start working towards or achieving new goals as everyone is so far ahead.
That’s such a difficult one. I’ve felt that, even now as I work on practicing certain talents that come so naturally to people in the music industry. Plus, I decided that I wanted to attempt a career in music at the age of twenty, not at a young age like most of my colleagues. You just have to know that you have a uniqueness about yourself that others don’t have, and you have to hone in on that. And the other parts of you that you feel like you need to enhance for your dreams to come true, go after it full force. It’s about utilizing your unique experiences and ideas to create something truly special for yourself and others.
I think talent is when a skill comes easier to a person than to others. Now, don’t get it twisted, there are definitely talents that society gives their thumb of approval on (music, speaking languages, sports, etc.), but don’t forget about the intrinsic talents such as the ability to collaborate, the ability to express yourself well, the ability to show love to people in service, etc. Those talents are just as important as the more “socially accepted” talents. I really stress this idea because so many people feel “untalented,” but maybe they just haven’t tapped into those intrinsic talents that make them special.
I think it’d be fun to be fluent in Japanese or Korean! I love going to those places on tour, and I actually said that if I didn’t learn Chinese, I would have learned one of those two languages. Also…Arabic would be suuuuuuper cool :)
Kevin, because you all have such eclectic tastes in music, will you be exploring more World music? Zulu-pop is so uplifting and danceable. Y'ssour N'dour's music runs the gamut of tribal to Middle Eastern to rock and even some edgy hip-hop. Shakira has some great Latino elements. Any thoughts?
I would looooove to do that! One of my favorite albums is “Graceland” by Paul Simon! I love how he took his sound, incorporated a lot of South African-inspired music, and created a truly original album. There’s so much great music out there in the world that needs to be explored.
I wish I could answer this question with more details! All I can say is that we’re working on it each day when we’re off tour, and when we’re on tour we find times to arrange and practice new material. We’re hoping that while we’re on the Kelly Clarkson tour, we can fly out a lot of producers to help us finish the album. But the album is beginning to crystalize and we’re knocking out songs!
Weeeeell I just saw this “bass cello” that NS Design makes, and I’ve always thought it’d be cool to learn how to play the cello like a bass! I think it’d be such a cool look during a concert.
Oh man, I wish I had the power to master anything I put my mind to. I’d start learning everything I possibly could!
Absolutely. That was my whole K-10th grade experience. And I was bullied a lot for it as well, not just because my talents were different, but my mindset also differed from everyone else’s. What helped me the most was surrounding myself with like-minded individuals who could support me and I could support back. That’s why I went to boarding school at Phillips Academy, decided on Yale for undergrad, and I work with musicians who understand my vision for what I want to create, albeit a little off the beaten path ;). That way, you’ll obtain the constant inspiration you need to keep pursing your dreams, and I believe you’ll be more successful because of it.