Peter Hollens: A Fantastic A Capella Star On The Rise [YouTube NextUp Creator Profile Series]


AVbyte’s “Game of Thrones: Disney Version” is a perfect example of why the YouTube Creator Space exists. For that video, the Creator Space was able to put two of its major contributors, AVbyte and our featured YouTuber Peter Hollens into contact with one another for a brilliant pairing (see below) that otherwise might not have happened.

Hollens is not just a talented singer, he is — and I stake my reputation on this — one of the premiere singers on YouTube. I like him because not only does he have a fantastic voice (he does), he also gives off a very down-to-earth humble vibe. I feel like I could tear up listening to him sing “Shenandoah” and then a minute later go get a burger with the guy and hit up a strip club (if he weren’t happily married that is!). But you get what I’m saying.

Peter is a breakout star-in-the-making. I fully expect to be seated in the nosebleed section, 10 years from now when he is selling out coliseums worldwide (actually, in 10 years, I’ll probably be dead from attempting to test-fly my DIY jet pack prototype). But I will always be glad that I got to interview him and ask him what the worst thing he ever did was. Unsurprisingly, its a nice guy answer — not something torrid and dark. But what do you expect from a guy who makes videos just to fund non-profit medical research?

How did you get into singing in the first place?

Peter Hollens: Pretty interesting story actually! My mom forced me to take French all through middle school, even though I believed my French teacher secretly hated me and wanted to make my life horrible. I heard she was transferring from middle school to my high school and I knew my mom was going to make me take French again. I pleaded with my mom to see if there was ANY way I could get out of taking French class again in high school. She said I could drop French, but only if I would take choir class.

I knew that choir was only for girls, why would a guy ever sing … blah blah. I was even planning to ditch it. But I soon fell in love with singing. I had never sung in front of anyone before, but joining choir in high school absolutely saved me. Little did I know that one decision would drastically change my life forever.

How did your singing translate into a YouTube channel?

I started an a cappella group at the University of Oregon called “On the Rocks” and I was lucky enough to be able to have a solo on a bunch of episodes of Season 2 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” I had some people asking me to keep on making music, so I decided to take my engineering skills that I had learned recording dozens of college a cappella groups in the past and use them to make my own music!

Who do you look up to on YouTube?

Lindsey Stirling, Devin Super Tramp, Piano Guys, Luke Conard, Mike Tompkins, Tyler Ward, I could go on and on — anyone who came before that is doing this full-time teaches all of us a lot!

How did your Skyrim duet with Lindsey Stirling come about?

Lindsey tells me that she messaged me first! I cannot thank her enough for finding me somehow. I believe she saw the video I did with my friend Savannah Outen and thought I looked like I would be fun to work with.

I couldn’t give more credit to one person for my ability to make music for a living than Lindsey. She has really changed my life. Love that girl. We’re even planning our third collaboration right now! SUPER excited about it! Also, funny enough, the arranger of the original Skyrim theme is a family friend, and we were having sushi one night, and he recommended the song to me. I brought it up with Lindsey, and the rest is history. I still can’t believe it’s had over 20 million views. I do love that the first video I did that went “viral” was me being a HUGE dork dressed up in an outfit, because honestly I am such a huge gaming fanatic. 🙂

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