By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
I am very excited to welcome back Peter Hollens to Jake’s Take!
He is one of the best artists of my generation and is one of the main voices that has guided A cappella music into being accepted into the pop culture world.
Throughout his career, Peter worked with a diverse group of recording artists such as music legends Brian Wilson and Gladys Knight and classical crossover artists such as Jackie Evancho, Lindsey Sterling, and The Piano Guys. He has also released over 125 digital singles and releases new music each week. He also serves as an advisor for several companies such as Loudr, Patreon, and Tubular, plus also serves on the YouTube creator advisory board.
Recently, Peter released his first holiday studio album: A Hollens Family Christmas. The album features some of his favorite collaborators such as Evancho, Mike Tompkins, and his wife: Evynne. He also recorded new tracks with the One Voice Children’s Choir and the final winner of The Sing-Off: Home Free. Also, it was revealed that A Hollens Family Christmas set the record for the most names ever credited on an album with 4,236 people.
In this edition of Catching Up, Peter opened up about some of this year’s highlights and his opinion on how A cappella music will continue to break barriers in 2017.
Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as an artist since the last time we spoke?
Peter Hollens: I have released two new albums, lots more music videos, and built an amazing community of supporters who make everything I do possible! I have gone from about 1,250 patrons to over 4,200 supporters on Patreon! Seriously, my Hollens Family is amazing. Personally, I have also grown a lot as a father and husband, and that affects my music too – the daily balance of work/family, and the inspiration for creating my music.
JE: Earlier this year, you released Misty Mountains: Inspired by The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings. Why did you initially decide to record the album?
PH: My fans asked for it! (smiles) I always cover my most requested songs on YouTube, and I had so many people asking for more Hobbit/Lord of the Rings music, and I figured, why not just make a whole album? The response was INCREDIBLE; people were so excited about it. (Smiles) It’s a genre I can dig into and make my style unique.
JE: One of the most powerful YouTube videos that you released this year was your interpretation of “Homeward Bound” that featured over 300 choir students from Oregon. What were some of the challenges that you faced creating this video? How did you overcome them?
PH: This video will stick with me forever. The story behind the dedication came from my heart, and bringing in the choir students and working with them was such an honor, an amazing experience. I’d say some of the challenges were just the logistics of working with so many people, getting everything scheduled and all the students in the shot. That and the emotional aspect. It was overwhelming the amount of support and love that came together with these hundreds of students to join me for such a beautiful cause. But it helps to have a unified purpose. You can get through all the crazy scheduling issues and things going wrong when everyone is excited and on board and determined to make it work!!
JE: You just released your very first holiday album. What can your fans expect from this album?
PH: It’s out now!! It just released, and I am SO stoked to share it with everyone. I am honestly so proud of this album, I worked many long nights getting it together, and my phenomenal arranger Tom Anderson helped to create some unique, excellent arrangements. My whole team pulled out all the stops to make this great! The whole thing was funded by my patrons, with 4,236 of their names printed in the album! It was just an amazing experience. You can expect some new twists on old classics, collaborations with great artists (Home Free, Jackie Evancho, Mike Tompkins), and I have an original Christmas song as well, both an A cappella and instrumental version!
JE: How do you see A cappella music continue to evolve in 2017?
PH: It’s been breaking some exciting new barriers! People are talking about it, Pentatonix is pretty much everywhere, the Pitch Perfect movies, Glee, et cetera. I am excited to see it becoming more mainstream, and I think it will do nothing but grow from here. I mean, there’s no downside to it, right? A cappella does the world so much good. I get a lot of messages from people who are starting a cappella groups or making a cappella cover videos and want advice, and it’s happening more and more! I am thrilled to be part of this incredible movement. (Smiles)