The Untold Truth Of Pentatonix's Mitch Grassi

Mitch Grassi is one fifth of everyone's favorite a cappella group, Pentatonix. The group began as three friends from Texas, but quickly expanded to become a multi-platinum-selling group of five with three Grammys and numerous hits. The group is best known for their Christmas music and pop covers, but they also make original music and do covers that span just about every genre under the sun. Grassi is a fan favorite in the group thanks to his one-of-a-kind voice, massive range, and iconic whistle notes.

And, of course, Pentatonix isn't Grassi's only claim to fame. The singer-songwriter is also part of the duo Superfruit alongside fellow Pentatonix member Scott Hoying. And, in 2021, Grassi released his first solo music under the name Messer. Add to that his YouTube videos and constant fan engagement, and it's clear that Grassi is pretty busy. Curious to find out more? Here is the untold truth of Mitch Grassi.

Mitch Grassi grew up in the conservative town of Arlington, Texas

While Mitch Grassi now lives in L.A., the singer spent his formative years in Arlington, Texas. For a young queer boy obsessed with singing pop music, it wasn't always the easiest place to call home. "It was a complex experience for me, I think, as a queer person," he told "Bringin' It Backwards." "It's a very sports-centric town, and there was a lot of toxic masculinity growing up." These days, when Grassi returns home, he's pleased to see that his home town has become a little more accepting and tolerant.

While Texas wasn't always the most natural fit for Grassi, it was where he met Kirstin Maldonado and Scott Hoying who eventually became the two other members of the original a cappella group. Grassi told Go Pride, "We had been in choir for most of our high school careers." Sounds like Grassi found a little pocket of Texas where he fit right in.

He didn't initially get much appreciation for his singing

It's hard to imagine hearing Mitch Grassi sing without being utterly blown away. However, as he explained to "Bringin' It Backwards," there was a time when audiences weren't nearly as impressed as they are today. So, he didn't initially believe in himself much as a singer.

"My voice is strange and my interests were strange and the musicians that I grew up on were strange," he said, "so I never really got sort of the approval I was looking for from everyone else saying, 'Oh, I can see what you're trying to do with your singing voice. I get it and I like it.'" Sounds like Grassi was always unique. No wonder it took him a while to find an audience who understood exactly what he was doing artistically — Grassi was ahead of the curve, even from the very beginning.

Here's how Mitch Grassi has approached songwriting over the years

Even though Mitch Grassi loves doing covers, he's also a songwriter in his own right. Grassi explained that when Pentatonix began writing their own songs, they began with the melody. But, of course, it wasn't easy at first. "It was difficult. It was trial and error," he told Go Pride.

Over the years, Grassi has become more confident. He now has an organic, creative process that he uses to write. "Usually, it starts with a chord progression and loose melodies," he told Intersect Magazine. "I'll lull myself into a meditative state and try to clear my mind as much as I can." After he gets into the zone and has a feel for the musicality of the song, he starts to add a thematic concept to the song. Then, he'll distill that into lyrics. "The songwriting process is very unpredictable for me; it's always full of surprises," he said.

One thing's for sure — this ultra-creative, exploratory approach is working!

He was once in a production of Sweeney Todd

We all know Mitch Grassi as a singer, but when he was young, he appeared in musical theater productions. Grassi started acting in community plays, thanks to his parents, when he was about 8 years old. Through this experience, he discovered that he was most comfortable when he was up on stage. "I was a pretty shy kid. I think the only thing that did give me confidence was that I knew that I could shine on stage," he told "Bringin' It Backwards."

Grassi continued acting in theatrical productions throughout school. One important role for Grassi was playing Anthony in "Sweeney Todd" when he was older. "That was my favorite role that I've ever done," he told "Dirty Talk Show." "And I still have anxiety dreams about doing 'Sweeney Todd' for some reason." Sounds like musical theater was a huge part of Grassi's life.

Fashion is super important to him

For Mitch Grassi, music and acting aren't his only forms of self-expression — fashion is also hugely important. In an interview with Fifteen Questions, Grassi explained, "Both [fashion and music] require heavy attention to detail. The exploration of self parallels the exploration in artistry." For Grassi, fashion gives him an opportunity to express what he feels on the inside and on the outside. As he put it, "My inner world is only unique to me and me alone." Plus, trying different styles allows him to experiment with different facets of his personality.

As Pentatonix stylist Candice Lambert McAndrews explained to Vogue, his fashion journey really began during the 2016 Grammys when he wore a Saint Laurent shirtdress. "He embraced it and went for it and was like, 'This is who I am,'" Lambert recalled. Since then, Grassi has served numerous killer looks. And, in 2020, he even played a part in announcing Balenciaga's latest collection.

Scott Hoying is Mitch Grassi's lifelong best friend

Over the years, many fans have "shipped" Mitch Grassi and his friend and frequent collaborator Scott Hoying. However, the pair have never had a romantic connection. Instead, they are lifelong best friends. The pair met when they were kids while doing a community theater production of "Annie." Then, they reunited in high school choir. "We weren't immediately best friends, but there was definitely, like, a match to us," Grassi told Billboard. He added, "We were both nerdy, we were both singers, we were both performers, both in the closet ... " And that connection has stayed strong to this day.

"It's just the most comfortable bond. The most accepting, comfortable thing," Grassi gushed to Yahoo. "We can just be around each other and be totally ourselves, talk about whatever we want, vent, laugh. It's amazing." These two superstar besties could not be any cuter — we just hope they keep making music together for years to come.

Besides Pentatonix, Mitch Grassi performs with his other band Superfruit

While Pentatonix is certainly Mitch Grassi's biggest claim to fame, he's also well known for his music duo with Scott Hoying called Superfruit. Superfruit is vastly different from Pentatonix — for one thing, they use instruments! However, one of the biggest changes for Grassi was that the group gave him the chance to explore visual performance as well as music. "[It's been about] making Superfruit more of a sort of audio-visual thing and focusing heavily on the performance as well as the music, so one's ... not stronger than the other," he told BUILD Series.

And as Superfruit, the pair certainly have pushed the boundaries when it comes to creating visual content. For instance, in their music video for the song "Worth It (Perfect)," the pair created an extravagant video featuring a young boy wearing a pink dress and a girl in a tuxedo dancing together. This bright and fun exploration of gender fluidity definitely goes way beyond the visuals that Pentatonix created!

He sometimes feels out of place in the mainstream music industry

Mitch Grassi has definitely earned the label of icon in the music industry. With three Grammys and multiple successful albums under his belt, it's fair to say that he sits squarely within the mainstream. Nevertheless, Grassi doesn't always feel comfortable there — especially since he's begun experimenting more with experimental fashion.

"It's a weird duality I have, where I have this totally avant garde interest in art, fashion and music, but at the same time I'm well aware of the industry — the pop world and pop culture," he told Out. "I totally get it." So, he tries to straddle the two realms, making popular music to suit the mainstream audiences, while still pushing the boundaries. Plus, simply being visibly queer, he said, was somewhat radical in his industry. "It's all about creating your own niche and doing something nobody else has done before," he summed up.

Mitch Grassi is proud to be openly gay

Mitch Grassi is openly gay — and for him it's a way for him to support other young queer people who listen to his music. "The Pentatonix demographic is very different across the board," he told Out, "but one that's very common is Midwesterners and Christians — they love our music and I've gotten people saying, parents especially, 'You guys helped me accept my gay son, my gay daughter,' and I think that's really cool."

As Grassi explained in an interview with Go Pride, being openly gay actually helped his career, too. "Some people might say that being openly gay in the music business might deter you from having a career, but I don't think that's true," he said. "My career, as a queer person, has been pretty successful." Hopefully, Grassi's openness will continue to help other queer people find success and happiness while being their true selves.

The Pentatonix singer has a solo project too

As if Pentatonix and Superfruit weren't enough to keep Mitch Grassi busy, he also launched a solo career in 2021 under the name of "Messer." His first EP, "Roses," was released in August 2021.

It's clear that the songs on this EP were intensely personal for Grassi. "Machine," for instance, was a song about self-love. "I wrote it at a time when I was starting to come into myself and starting to put myself first and give myself love. In that way, it's an inner promise I carry with me, to broach my emotional needs with kindness, consideration, and self-love," he told FrontView Magazine. The song "Angels Pray," on the other hand, is about yearning to escape. "It's that inexplicable desire to run out the nearest exit and leave everything behind in search of your higher personal truth," Grassi explained. 

It sounds like this new venture in Grassi's career has really been an opportunity to express himself more than ever.

Here's how Mitch Grassi fell in love with a cappella

It's no secret that Mitch Grassi totally loves a cappella — he did form the world's most popular a cappella group, after all! As he explained in an interview with Joy 94.9 Australia in 2016, his love of a cappella began when he discovered a group called Rockapella. "Me personally, I didn't grow up listening to that much a cappella," he said. However, when a friend gave him a mix CD of Rockapella songs, he was hooked.

"I remember hearing their version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' and I was totally blown away," he recalled. "I was like, 'This is amazing, I can't believe they're doing this with just voices.'" After discovering a cappella through that one mix CD, he began listening to more collegiate a cappella groups. Soon, he became fascinated by how humans could use their voices as instruments. Plus, he learned to love how performing made him feel. The rest is, of course, history.

Imogen Heap was a major influence on him

Every icon needs inspiration and Mitch Grassi is no exception. When he was younger, he had plenty of people he looked up to in the music industry. Lady Gaga, he told Out, is one of his biggest queer icons. "When she came out as someone who fits within the queer umbrella, she came out in a big way," he gushed. "It was so incredible and inspiring to me as a 17-year-old in suburban Arlington, Texas, because I was so excited that somebody was standing up for the outcasts at the time."

Another big musical influence for Grassi is Imogen Heap. As he told "Bringin' it Backwards," "I pretty much just copied all of her nuances when I was a teen just because I fell in love with her voice." He also mentioned Alanis Morissette and show tunes as being big influences in his childhood.

Grassi also draws inspiration from various musical genres, including Swedish pop, '80s goth, electroclash, electronica, and more, as he told Intersect Magazine. With so many eclectic influences, it's no wonder Grassi's music is so unique.

Mitch Grassi has enjoyed moving away from a capella

Even though Mitch Grassi loved a cappella from a young age, he eventually needed to do more. That's where his duo Superfruit and his solo project, Messer, came in. Branching out from the world of a cappella gave Grassi a whole new world of possibility.

"There are more options sound-wise and you can layer as much as you want," Grassi explained to BUILD Series. "It's less of a puzzle to put together, I would say." Of course, with more freedom comes more unknown territory, which, as Scott Hoying explained, could be "daunting."

While moving on from a cappella was an opportunity for Grassi to move on from certain musical restrictions, it was also a chance to express himself properly. "If I had to be totally someone else — be totally G-Rated and could never step outside any little G-Rated box, I'd go crazy," he revealed to Out.

He has these artists' songs on repeat

Spotify wrapped has become an end-of-year tradition, in which we all discover which artists we've listened to most. In 2021, Grassi revealed in a Marie Claire video that his top five artists of 2020 were The Hacker, Róisín Murphy, Miss Kittin, Röyksopp, and A. G. Cook – certainly an eclectic mix.

Grassi went on to explain some of the artists to the rest of Pentatonix. "The Hacker is just like analog techno that I never share with anyone because I feel like nobody else enjoys it," he said laughing, adding that the group all listened to radically different kinds of music, so none of his bandmates even knew who The Hacker was. "But I think that's one of the keys to our success because we bring so many different influences and they all kind of meet in this common ground," he said. "And the common ground is, say it with me, Pentatonix."