Peter Hollens is an American pop singer-songwriter-producer. He has been heavily involved with a cappella music since 1999 when he co-founded the University of Oregon’s award-winning a cappella group On The Rocks, known as the first official collegiate a cappella group in Oregon. Originally from Ashland, Oregon, Peter graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Since his graduation from the U of O, he has become very involved with collegiate a cappella, including recording, producing & judging international a cappella competitions throughout the United States.
In 2010, Peter was featured on NBC’s The Sing Off season 2, receiving acclaim from judges Shawn Stockman, Nicole Scherzinger and Ben Folds for his solo performances with On the Rocks. Peter records and produces from his home studio in Eugene, Oregon.
Peter Hollens. Photograph by Jay Eads
Peter’s eponymous debut album on Portrait/Sony Masterworks Records is now available in iTunes, Amazon, and Loudr. The album features seven songs from Hollens’ catalog and six new releases. It includes collaborations with Brian Wilson, Avi Kaplan (from Pentatonix), Jackie Evancho (covering Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”), and Sabrina Carpenter (covering U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). The diverse tracklist also includes “Skyrim (Main Theme)” (with Lindsay Stirling), a Les Miserables medley (with guest vocals from his wife Evynne Hollens), and original composition “Ashland’s Song,” written for his young son. Rounding out the collection, Hollens includes iconic songs from his YouTube catalog such as Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up,” as well as a selection of folk songs he was working on before the album deal came to fruition.
You can check out his website here, and he is very active on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
His latest YouTube video, “Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair,” performed with Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix, is up now right here and at the end of this post following the interview.
Peter, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions.
First of all, congratulations on the new album!
Thank you kindly!
How busy were you in the weeks leading up to this tremendous accomplishment, a debut album on a major record label?
It has been a lot of work getting everything together, but I’m so excited to be able to get this album out to my community of supporters, and hopefully to a wide range of new listeners!
The album contains a combination of songs you previously recorded and some new tracks. Did you get to choose which of your existing tracks would be included, and if so how did you narrow it down from such an extensive catalog?
Yes, I was able to choose the songs on the album. I ended up listening to my supporters and my wife a lot for which songs to include. I almost made a few changes at the last minute by adding another song that I recently did with Malukah —http://youtu.be/17svtURunUk — I actually believe Evynne ended up choosing the final song order on the album as well. She’s been an enormous help!
The album has a new, original track with the legendary Brian Wilson, whose harmonies decades ago continue to inspire the a cappella community overtly and subliminally. How did that collaboration come about and what were you thinking when you found out this was going to happen?
The collaboration came about because of a mutual awesome acquaintance, Winston Simone, who introduced me to the project. I think the song came together quite amazingly!! I’m so honored to be able to sing with someone I’ve looked up to my entire life.
Who are some other major recording artists that have influenced you musically or with whom you’d like to collaborate? Continue reading…