Childhood & Early Life
Kirstin Taylor "Kirstie" Maldonado was born on May 16, 1992 in Fort Worth, Texas, United States, to Mexican father Michael Cisneros and Spanish-Italian mother Angelica Maldonado. She has been raised by her mother in Arlington, Texas.
She first showed interest in singing when she was only five years old, and convinced her mother to allow her to take voice lessons by singing at her wedding reception when she was eight. She was also involved in a number of local theatrical productions and toured with Theatre Arlington for eight years, during which she met Mitch Grassi.
She attended Holy Rosary Catholic School for a time before transferring to Martin High School, where she met Scott Hoying, another member of her future band. After completing her school graduation in 2010, she enrolled into a Musical Theatre Performance major course at the University of Oklahoma, but dropped out of college in her sophomore year to form ‘Pentatonix’.
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Career with Pentatonix
Kirstin Maldonado, along with her Martin High School friends Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, had formed an a cappella trio to enter a local radio show competition to meet the cast of 'Glee'. While their cover version of 'Telephone' by Lady Gaga failed to win the competition, it became very popular among their friends and subsequently earned a lot of attention on YouTube.
Scott Hoying contacted Maldonado in 2011 with the proposal to form a group to enter NBC's a cappella competition 'The Sing-Off'. The group, named 'Pentatonix' after the pentatonic scale, also included Mitch Grassi, as well as bass artist Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin Olusola.
As one of the 16 competing teams, the group entered the third season of 'The Sing-Off', which went on air on September 19, 2011. After 11 episodes spanning over a month, the group was crowned the winner of the competition on November 28, 2011, earning $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony Music.
Maldonado and Hoying, who had dropped out of college, and Grassi, who skipped high school graduation, relocated to Los Angeles after winning the competition in the hope of becoming a successful mainstream a cappella group. Throughout the next six months, they released cover versions of songs like 'Somebody That I Used to Know' by Gotye featuring Kimbra, 'Gangnam Style' by PSY and 'We Are Young' by Fun, which went viral.
They released their first EP, 'PTX, Volume 1', on June 26, 2012, followed by promotional press appearances on 'Access Hollywood', 'The Buzz', 'Marie', and local television shows. They featured as guests on the Chinese version of 'The Sing-Off' and went on their first national headlining tour covering sold out venues in 30 countries in 2012.
On November 13, 2012, Pentatonix released their Christmas EP, 'PTXmas', a deluxe edition of which was re-released the following year on November 19, 2013 with two new tracks. They were on their second national headlining tour in early 2013, and on November 5th that year, released their second EP, 'PTX, Vol. II', which contained a 'Grammy'-winning medley of Daft Punk songs.
2014 saw the release of two of their albums, their third EP, 'PTX, Vol. III', released on September 23, and their second full-length Christmas album, 'That's Christmas to Me', released on October 21. While the first one debuted at No.5 on the 'Billboard 200', the second one had a peak position of No.2 on the same chart.
While they had both cover versions and a few original songs this far, they transitioned towards original music in 2015 and their subsequent self-titled album, 'Pentatonix', released on October 16, 2015, contained mostly original tracks. It was followed by another full-length Christmas album, 'A Pentatonix Christmas', which was released on October 21, 2016.
In May 2016, she and her Pentatonix band mates Grassi and Hoying appeared in the episode 'The Strike in the Chord' of the crime drama series 'Bones', portraying the college a cappella group 'The Gingersnaps'.
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Following the release of their fifth EP, 'PTX, Vol. IV – Classics', on April 7, 2017, Avi Kaplan left the group due to his inability to balance tour dates and family time. He was replaced by Matt Sallee in October, and since then the band has released their sixth studio album, 'PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I' on April 13, 2018.
Together with Scott Alan, Kirstin Maldonado performed the song 'Never Neverland' at the Hippodrome, London in May 2014. A dog lover, she performed 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' at the 'World Dog Awards' in January 2016 to honor the dogs who have played the role of Toto in 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Along with her fiancé Jeremy Michael Lewis, she teamed up with the a cappella group Voctave in February 2016 to work on the video 'Disney Love Medley'. It featured the couple performing the songs 'I See the Light' from 'Tangled', 'You'll Be in My Heart' from 'Tarzan' and 'Go the Distance' from 'Hercules', with Voctave members providing backing vocals.
She released her first solo single, 'Break a Little', on May 19, 2017, followed by her debut EP 'L O V E', released on July 14, 2017. That year, on August 31, she collaborated with Play-N-Skillz on the track 'Hey Guapo'.
On February 2nd, 2018, she made her Broadway debut as Lauren opposite singer Jake Shears in the Tony-winning musical 'Kinky Boots' at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.