The Untold Truth Of Pentatonix's Scott Hoying

For a lot of people who know and love the band Pentatonix, there's one member of the group who stands out as its unofficial leader, and that is Scott Hoying (per Cincinnati Magazine), which makes sense as he's the one who really kicked things off for the band in the first place. As the story goes, Hoying attended classes at the University of Southern California when he was inspired to form his own a capella group (via Atwood Magazine). Luckily, longtime friends Kirstin Maldonado and Mitch Grassi were on board, and the threesome soon linked up with Kevin Olusola and Avi Kaplan (who later left the group in 2017). From there, Pentatonix was born.

These days, Hoying is all over the place. He's been in a committed relationship with his male model boyfriend since 2017 (per Instagram). He's also formed a Pentatonix spin-off project called Superfruit with Mitch Grassi, he's gotten into voice acting, and he has some other exciting entertainment projects in the works (via the Dallas Voice). Through all of it, he's held on tightly to the person he is and the person he wants to be.

Here's a deeper look into Scott Hoying of Pentatonix, with many things you may not know about him.

Scott Hoying fell in love with a capella in college

As many fans of Pentatonix know, Scott Hoying is the member of the band who introduced the others to a capella music. While Hoying had known Mitch Grassi and Kirstin Maldonado since high school — the three friends were all fans of choral music and theater — singing a capella wasn't exactly something they had considered. However, Hoying explained that once he began attending classes at the University of Southern California (USC), things clicked pretty quickly where a capella was concerned.

He told Atwood Magazine that, as a singer at the school, a capella was hard to escape. "At USC, the a capella scene is really huge," he explained. "So, I auditioned for all the a capella groups there and ended up getting into 'SoCal VoCals.' From then on, I felt inspired by the craft and really fell in love with a capella."

As fate would have it, a bunch of Hoying's friends at USC were interested in trying out for "The Sing-Off," so he decided to put a group together, too. From there, everything soon fell into place.

He was devastated when Pentatonix was dropped from the group's record label

Despite coming out of Season 3 of "The Sing-Off" as the big winner, Pentatonix was soon dropped by its label. The news hit Scott Hoying pretty hard. He told Cincinnati Magazine that all five members of the group were committed to making Pentatonix more than a reality television show band, so they all moved to Los Angeles... and, shortly after, the label pulled the rug out from under them.

As Hoying explained, the situation was rough. He said, "After we won the show, the label and we knew that everyone would have to live in L.A. so that we could get a lot of content out fast. Then, when we ended up getting dropped, it was really, really, really sad." But the group decided to focus on the positive they could find, managed to get out of the contract they had signed with the show, and began releasing music on their own via YouTube. 

Moving their content to YouTube proved to be the ticket. Hoying explained that the band soon had 8 million subscribers, and record labels were approaching them, instead of the other way around. That's what we like to hear.

Scott Hoying described the first time Pentatonix sang together as magical

The five original members of Pentatonix didn't actually sing together until the day before they were set to audition for "The Sing-Off." Even though the group had a long way to go, Scott Hoying recalled to the Daily Herald that he'll never forget the first time the group sang together, especially because of how it made him feel. "It was very magical, exciting, made my heart rate increase," he told the publication. "It just felt so exhilarating."

A year after competing on the show, Hoying told Media Mikes that the band formed their tight-knit bond as they progressed, which made their music progress, too. As he recalled, they had a lot of conversations and meetings as they worked their way toward victory. "We were also finding out how to work with each other as we didn't really have a leader. We sort of sat in a circle and just talked," Hoying explained. "It was super hard to do at first because we were all different people and liked different music."

Touring with Kelly Clarkson was a dream come true for Scott Hoying

In July 2015, Pentatonix checked off a major career high: The band embarked on a nationwide tour with Kelly Clarkson of more than 30 dates. While speaking to Cincinnati Magazine that summer, Scott Hoying admitted that touring with Clarkson was a huge moment for him. He explained that his fandom for the "American Idol" winner runs deep, saying, "She's one of my very favorite pop stars ever. To be on tour with her is surreal. It just doesn't feel real."

Hoying elaborated on what made the experience so special, noting that he couldn't believe one of his idols was tweeting him back, let alone rehearing in the same space as he was, singing in the same arenas. Hoying told the publication that he even had to step aside once and ask his friend and bandmate, Mitch Grassi, "Can you believe that's Kelly Clarkson, right there, 10 feet from us, singing [her] heart out?"

Hoying also told Billboard that the tour was "the most amazing thing ever." A big reason the tour was so exceptional for him is Clarkson herself, whom he described as "the nicest person ever." He also enjoyed the reward of having audience after audience get into the Pentatonix sound, even if they weren't sure who they were at first.

Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi have been friends for a long time

Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi go way, way back. While speaking to Billboard in 2017, the best friends revealed they actually performed together in a performance of "Annie" before, as Hoying explained, going their separate ways afterward. Eventually, they found themselves at the same school and hit it off. They both participated in theater and choir while in school together, with Hoying recalling a particularly memorable performance of Grassi's in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" that really impressed him.

Hoying also spoke with the Dallas Voice about their friendship, admitting that they spent a lot of time together in middle school. As he recalled, "We became really close in junior high school choir, where we constantly were making each other DIE laughing." From there, the pair moved on to high school, where they caught up with Kirstin Maldonado and realized they all had a lot in common. "We were the choir kids, the show choir kids, the all-state choir kids, the theater kids — we were together all day every day," Hoying explained.

The singer came out as gay when he was 17

As many fans of Pentatonix know, Scott Hoying is gay (and proud of it). While being interviewed by the Dallas Voice, he recalled what it was like to be young and unsure of himself in Texas in the 1990s and 2000s, telling the publication he felt a "constant" pressure to be more, or to be different. He said he "finally admitted to myself I was gay around 14 or 15," but added that he was too scared to tell anyone else. A few years later, Hoying finally felt he could tell close friends. In fact, bandmate Mitch Grassi was the first person he told.

Hoying added that being able to be his true self, at least with his friends, was an absolutely freeing and thrilling experience. Luckily, he had friends who were there to love and support the real him, which helped tremendously. "The thrill I felt being my authentic self to even three people felt like the biggest burden lifted off my shoulders," he said.

He felt he had to hide his true identity in the early days of Pentatonix

Unfortunately, for Scott Hoying, in the early days of Pentatonix, he felt like he was almost forced to go back into hiding to help the group be successful. He told the Dallas Voice that holding back such an important part of himself worked against him in the end. As he put it, "I should have learned my lesson the first time. Hiding who I was all over again wore me down to the point I didn't care if people hated me or not, I just wanted to be real."

Hoying decided to make it clear to fans who he really is in the group's music video for "Imagine." In the video, the members take turns writing their identities on a poster board and flipping the board around for fans and viewers to read. Mitch Grassi goes first, writing "LGBT+." He hands the poster board to Hoying, who proudly holds it up and indicates this is his identity, too (via YouTube).

Scott Hoying has a side project with Mitch Grassi

Because Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi are such good friends, it's probably not too surprising to learn that the pair have a side project they love to work on in addition to Pentatonix. Their spin-off project, or band, is called Superfruit. Hoying told Billboard that the band was born out of the pair's genuine friendship — as he put it, it's the kind of friendship that other people will observe and say they want. 

The twosome decided to do the spin-off project for another reason, Hoying said. They were both interested in starting their own YouTube channels but were too intimidated to do it alone. Together, however, they could soar. As he put it to Billboard, Superfruit has succeeded because of their friendship. "I think the reason our YouTube is successful is because of our dynamic," as he described.

The pair has a lot of goals for Superfruit, one of which is to be loud and out as two members of the LGBTQ+ community. Hoying told Paper Magazine, "I would love to have a song that's ... supportive of the gay community but gets a lot of radio play. And then, of course, being on an award show or live show would be really cool."

Scott Hoying has been in a relationship since 2017

Despite the fact that many people have wondered through the years if Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi have been in a relationship (as Bustle notes, the two have been clear they have been best friends for years — and only best friends), it turns out Hoying has had a boyfriend since 2017. While he seems to be pretty private about his personal life (and for good reason, given the amount of attention Pentatonix receives), he appears to be head over heels in love with model Mark Manio.

For his part, Manio appears to feel the same way. In 2020, he celebrated Hoying's birthday with a sweet photo of the two on Instagram, alongside a caption that reads, "Happy birthday to my sweet, handsome, caring man! I truly don't know how I got so lucky to have someone as special as you in my life. I love you now and forever baby."

In June 2021, Hoying shared the love right back as the pair celebrated their fourth anniversary together. He captioned a photo of the two, "Happy 4 year anniversary to the sweetest, purest, ray of sunshine I've ever met. Thank you for 4 beautiful years of endless adventure, laughter, and joy. Love you forever" (via Instagram).

He had the chance to meet Beyoncé but got too nervous

Scott Hoying has been upfront and honest about his absolute worship of singer Kelly Clarkson, but there's another Queen Bee of music Hoying loves: none other than the living legend herself, Beyoncé. Hoying even admitted to HuffPost that he's had the chance to meet Beyoncé multiple times, but something keeps holding him back. "We had a chance four times. I've been this close to her," he explained. "When she was pregnant in the gold Grammys moment she was backstage [and] we were this close and I was like, 'Ugh, do I say anything? Do I do it?'"

In the end, Hoying couldn't bring himself to approach Beyoncé for the same reason a lot of us might not be able to: He didn't feel he was good enough in the moment. After all, it's Beyoncé! Even though he told HuffPost he ended up walking away that time, Hoying still holds out hope that the meeting will take place when it's meant to.

There's another singer Hoying loves and has met: Rihanna. Hoying explained to HuffPost that when it was time to meet Rihanna, he was fearless (as he feels most of the time, apart from, that is, where Beyoncé is concerned). He said, "I could go up to her and was like, 'Hey, my friend wants to meet you.′ And it went great. She was so nice."

The entertainer has a love/hate relationship with the internet

As much as Scott Hoying is indebted to the internet for the way fans helped propel Pentatonix to super-stardom by way of YouTube and social media, he's also experienced enough of the darker sides of the web to know that everything isn't as glorious as it seems. Hoying told Atwood Magazine in February 2021 that while it might be hard for some to believe, his struggles with the internet are pretty similar to the battles many other people fight. "There are voices telling you that you have to be perfect online, that we have to show everybody how perfect our lives are. It's unrealistic," he explained.

Hoying added that, as he knows from personal experience, the internet isn't all bad. As he put it to Atwood Magazine, "The internet has good things too, it brings a lot of serotonin and fear at the same time."

In 2013, Hoying sang a very different tune about the internet, though it's worth pointing out that he probably wasn't dealing with the full weight of the world wide web at the time. He explained to that the band enjoyed engaging with fans via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, explaining, "We're always loving talking and asking the fans questions, getting feedback and reading comments."

Scott Hoying supports the commercialization of Pride

Scott Hoying's identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community is incredibly important to him. After all, this is an inherent part of who he is. He and Mitch Grassi shared an interview with Paper Magazine back in July 2018, in which the pair was asked how they each felt about the commercialization of Pride.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hoying was in complete support, explaining that, to him, commercializing the movement and celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and community goes a long way toward making being gay just like being anything else. "It's becomes more normal with every brand that posts the rainbow flag and every single person that comes out. The more that it's being posted on social media and the more visible it is, the more people become comfortable meeting people who are gay," he said.

Additionally, Hoying believes that the more people are able to feel comfortable being open as part of the LGBTQ+ community, the more their friends and families will become allies.

He has many other entertainment side projects in the works

While it's clear that Scott Hoying isn't leaving music anytime soon, if ever, it is important to note that he does have other personal and professional interests that keep him more than busy. In an interview with the Dallas Voice in 2021, Hoying mentioned that, while Pentatonix hopes to tour in the coming year, he has plenty of other projects he's been working on as well.

In addition to his ongoing collaboration with Mitch Grassi, Hoying shared that he's been developing projects in television and has even become a voice actor for a few animated series. In fact, a scroll through his IMDb page reveals that Hoying has leant his voice to the TV short "Summer Camp Island" and to the 2021 series "Centaurworld." With that in mind, he said in the interview that he and the rest of the band are "definitely feeling really inspired and are excited to see where life takes us professionally and personally!"