Fans of Pentatonix, the multiple Grammy-Award-winning pop-a cappella group, were stunned this morning when one of its founding members, bass vocalist Avi Kaplan, announced that he would be departing the “Can’t Sleep Love” collective following a six-year run of success.
Appearing alongside his soon-to-be-former band mates Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, and Kevin Olusola in an emotional Facebook video, Kaplan, 28, relayed to the group’s followers that the massive success he has seen as part of Pentatonix, has come with a price.
“Throughout my career with Pentatonix, [the fast] pace has always been a really big struggle for me,” Avi revealed, as Page Six wrote, “[because] it’s been extremely hard for me to not see my family or friends when I need to or when they need to see me.”
All five members of Pentatonix formed one day prior to their Season 3 audition performance on NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2011, and ultimately bested all of their reality show competitors by taking first place. Their debut EP, PTX, Vol. 1 and its subsequent tour, would come to pass less than a year after their TV win.
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“It’s [also] been really hard for me to not to just escape to nature when I’m feeling really overwhelmed, or when I just need time for myself,” Kaplan, now eight releases deep with Pentatonix (their most recent, PTX, Vol. 4 — Classics, dropped this past April), went on to share.
“[And] I would never want to inhibit any type of success that we have because I truly do believe in everything that [the group has] done and everything that they will do. I just know that I can no longer continue at this pace and so, I have to do what’s best for the group and I have to do what’s best for me.”
In a written statement attached to his goodbye video, Kaplan clarified that he would be “taking a step back” from Pentatonix at the end of their current tour, which ceases in September.
“I’ve struggled with this decision a lot,” Avi detailed further on Facebook.
“Through all of this, I’ve done my best and I’ve kept pushing myself to keep up. Really, the reason why I’ve been able to push so hard and for so long has been because of you guys. You all have inspired me and lifted me up every single day and, for that, I am eternally grateful, but I’ve come to a point where I just can’t keep up anymore.”
Incidentally, Kaplan’s first side project away from the group that made him famous, a folk music-themed EP under the moniker Avriel and the Sequoias, was completed somewhere in the lead-up to Avi’s departure from Pentatonix, and is currently marked for a June release.
“[This project] represents the sounds that I grew up with, fell in love with and continue to be inspired by,” Kaplan remarked to Pop Matters back in April of this year.
“[It] pays homage to the wild and beautifully unkempt world he came up in, as well as Sequoia Natural Park, where [I] initially found his voice and inspiration [for music].”
With that said, Avi admitted on Facebook that he’ll still be just as active behind the mic as he was with Pentatonix.
“I do want you all to know that I’m still going to be doing music and I’m going to be doing it with my whole heart,” Kaplan promised.
“I will always do my best to lift others up with my voice. I hope that you’ll all support my decision and that you can understand where I’m coming from. And regardless of anything, I just want to thank you for all that you’ve given to me. I have been so unbelievably blessed and humbled to be a part of all your lives in any way and I wanted you [all] to hear this from me, from my voice and from my heart.”
The singer additionally maintained that he would appear with the group throughout the remaining dates of their 2017 world tour. Reps for Pentatonix, including Avi Kaplan’s, could not be reached for further comment.
[Featured Image by D Dipasupil/Stringer/Getty Images]