With the recent release of his self-titled debut album, a cappella sensation, Peter Hollens, is poised for mainstream stardom.
But don’t just take our word for it… ask the nearly 1 million YouTube subscribers who can’t get enough of this down-to-earth guy’s dreamy voice and we’re certain they’ll tell you the same.
With over 71 million views and counting, Hollens is taking the music world by storm and — major bonus — he also happens to be a great sport who was willing to let us grill him about everything from make-out music to his nerdiest traits.
Disclaimer: These 10 pieces of trivia will very likely leave you smitten, in which case, you can pull up a chair beside us, because we are totally crushing on Hollens, too.
In real life, what TV character would you want to be?
“I have to be [Modern Family‘s] Phil Dunphy — I want to be Phil Dunphy,” he said. “That’s like the perfect thing — you have a good business, a good income, you have an amazing family… you’re a dork. I love that guy! Plus, he’s a University of Oregon alumni.”
What makes you cry without fail?
“I’m kind of at that point where I think it is so important for people to be in touch with their sensitive side,” he admitted. “I even wrote a song recently about my son that made my album, and in the music video I’m clearly emotional about it. Anything like that. I lost my dad two years ago, so if there are ever any movies with a father-son relationship and I actually feel it, that sets me off. I’m really close with my family, so anything about that really sets me off. Or dogs. Or… I’m a sap.”
It’s funny you say that, because according to an astrology site, Pisces are imaginative and overly sensitive. What say you?
“Um, you know, I think some of that is really spot-on,” he said, laughing. “It’s so funny, I think when people think of astrology, they say, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous.’ But some of that stuff is so spot-on! My mom believes in all that stuff. I’m kind of somewhere in the middle. But, yeah, I’m always up in my head. I have been overly sensitive, unfortunately, my whole life.”
What is the nerdiest thing about you?
“What isn’t nerdy about me? I never fit in at school — I was, like, the kid in the corner that was the dork. Honestly, the second I was able to start singing, things changed. That’s the coolest thing about the internet, right? We have all these people and they’re all clamoring for something they can grab onto. And by doing music that I really like, I’ve been able to find other people who are like-minded.”
Which song is your ultimate make-out song?
“I have to go back to my college days when I was courting Evynne. I do remember Dave Matthews’ ‘Crash Into Me’ playing. I don’t know why, but for so much of my college, I just remember lots of Dave Matthews. I really liked listening to Dave Matthews.”
How was it working with Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix for your album?
“I just absolutely love his voice and it’s such a great juxtaposition to mine. It’s like molasses… like butter,” he said. “And Pentatonix is awesome. I love what they’re doing for the genre. They’re absolutely talented. Oh, they’re so phenomenal.”
What’s your cure for a bad day?
“Honestly, my go-to pick-me-up as of late is I just go in front of my 7-month-old and make him laugh. He puts a smile on my face in a heartbeat. That’s an easy out for that question, but it’s so true — oh, my gosh, he’s so precious.”
Care to share your first kiss story?
“I remember being a freshman and I was walking this girl home who was a senior. She was, like, a choir girl,” Hollens said. “I remember I got to her house and I tried to kiss her. And she obviously was having none of it and I got completely rejected. That was kind of the story of my high school days. Honestly, I think if I wouldn’t have been able to sing, I don’t think I would have ever had any luck in the girls’ category. I had no game. The only thing I could do was attract people with my voice and hope that they actually liked the dorky singer. Thankfully, I met my lovely wife.”
What couple in history would you guys compare yourself to?
“In the book, Pitch Perfect, that was written about the group my wife started at University of Oregon — that got turned into the movie, Pitch Perfect — they compared us to [Grease‘s] Danny and Sandy, which is kind of cool,” Hollens said.
What’s something you really want people to know about you?
“I truly believe in creating a legit sense of community with my followers. I try to make music that they want to hear and I literally scoured through all my comments looking for specific songs that they request and I try to make them happy. And I genuinely want people to know that I’m just a dorky dad, trying to make a living recording syllables in my garage and making music to touch people.”