When you think of a cappella groups, a few different things may come to mind. There's the college singing group you might have heard in passing on campus, that hilarious Key & Peele sketch, and of course, Pentatonix.
As for the latter, you've probably heard them more recently. The popular band first achieved popularity after winning Season 3 of NBC's The Sing-Off back in 2011. Since then, they've risen to Grammy-award-winning fame for their new singles and a cappella covers of popular songs.
After more than 10 years of activity, however, it stands to reason that the band may look a little different than it did when they first made it big. For instance, original founding member Avi Kaplan began pursuing a solo career in 2017 and would subsequently leave the band that jump-started his stardom. He previously provided bass vocals but has moved on to release his own music. But why did Avi leave Pentatonix? He's gone into great detail about it before. Let's break it down.
Avi Kaplan left Pentatonix in 2017 but he had a perfectly good reason.
Before joining Pentatonix, Avi was already a successful a cappella singer in his own right. During his college years, he won several awards for his vocal performances both as part of an ensemble and as a solo act.
He would make his formal music debut in 2011 as one of the original members of Pentatonix, for which he provided bass vocals and even sang lead parts. The band in its original form won several Grammy Awards for their covers and performances.
After six years of being a part of the band, however, Avi opted for a career change. In April of that year, Avi released his first solo song under the name Avriel and the Sequoias. Shortly after in May, he officially announced that he would be leaving Pentatonix.
The decision, though difficult, was one reached by Avi with the blessing of his former a cappella band mates. In a video message posted on May 12, 2017, Avi was seated by the other Pentatonix members as he made an emotional farewell and explained his departure. He stated that though he greatly enjoyed his time with Pentatonix, it took a toll on his emotional well-being and his relationships.
"Throughout my journey with PTX, this pace has always been a struggle for me," Avi wrote in a Facebook post. "It's been hard for me to not be with my family and friends when I need them or when they need me. It's been hard to not be able to escape into nature when I'm feeling overwhelmed or just need some time to myself."
To that end, he felt as if leaving the band and continuing his career at his own pace was the best decision for him.
Since leaving the group, Avi has gone on several solo tours and released his first solo album on May 20, 2022. As for Pentatonix, the bass vocals have since been fulfilled by Matt Sallee.