FARGO — Pentatonix may be a hit on the pop charts, but one member of the a cappella group had a bit more twang when he sang.
As he got ready for a show in Nashville, Tenn., last week, founder Scott Hoying said that growing up in Arlington, Texas, all he listened to was country music.
“Then, right around 13, my friend introduced me to R&B, and that’s when I knew what I wanted to sing," he said.
Hoying and his bandmates won’t likely delve into country tunes when they play the Fargodome on Wednesday, June 26, as they are touring behind their fourth studio album — excluding Christmas records — “PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. 1.”
After releasing its last studio album of mostly originals in 2015, going back to pop covers for 2018’s “Top Pop” was seen as a bit of a curve by some fans.
“Things were crazy,” Hoying said, explaining that original bass singer Avi Kaplan had announced he was leaving the band to spend more time at home. The group didn’t want to spend too much downtime, but their options were limited.
“An original album takes months and months and months of work, but when it comes to pop covers, we’re kind of experts at making them a cappella for us,” he said.
Experts indeed. The group exploded onto the national scene in 2011 by winning the third season of “The Sing-Off” with covers of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” and Ke$ha’s “Your Love is My Drug” and more.
Doing songs by contemporary artists occasionally leads to feedback by the original singers.
The group’s “Evolution of Ariana Grande” mashup drew praise from the pop star.
“It was such a sweet testimonial,” Hoying says.
They haven’t received the same kind of shout out from Lady Gaga, who has been one of the biggest inspirations on the band — they've covered “Telephone,” which they used to audition for “The Sing-Off,” and more recently, “Shallow.” Even better, though, they did get to meet her and chat for a bit, which was even better than getting public props.
“She’s such an amazing artist,” Hoying said.
Another iconic artist the group covered was Leonard Cohen and his anthem, “Hallelujah,” on 2016’s “A Pentatonix Christmas.”
The tune is such a classic it’s been covered by everyone from Jeff Buckley to Bon Jovi.
“I’ve been wanting to do that song for a few years, but there were so many other versions of it," Hoying said. “There were so many verses, we realized we could all take a verse and make it our own.”
Fans will likely hear that on Wednesday night, but one group they won’t hear is Superfruit, Hoying and fellow Pentatonix singer Mitch Grassi’s humorous pop duo. Their video blogs have become YouTube hits.
“We keep those two brands separate,” Hoying said. “It would be hard an awkward transition to go from a cappella to Superfruit’s synth pop.”
He won’t say what songs Pentatonix are working on now, but admits Taylor Swift’s new hit, “You Need to Calm Down,” is tempting.
“I actually thought that would be a great song for us to cover,” he said with a laugh.
The Swift single was released earlier this month and the accompanying video was a nod to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Pride, widely marked in June, though Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its Pride in August.
Hoying and Grassi are both gay, and he said all members of Pentatonix are allies to LGBT communities. As much as he appreciates a month of Pride observations, he says the 11 other months of the year are just as important.
“We encourage people to be themselves all year long,” he said. “But Pride Month is so great to see all of the (rainbow) flags out there.”
If you go
What: Pentatonix, with openers Rachel Platten and Citizen Queen
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26; doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive, Fargo
Info: Tickets range from $29.50 to $129.50; http://fargodome.com