Kirstin Taylor “Kirstie” Maldonado is an American singer and songwriter, and a member of the a cappella group Pentatonix. Together with Pentatonix, Maldonado has released seven studio albums, won three Grammy Awards, and sold over six million albums.
Maldonado debuted her solo career on May 19, 2017, with the song “Break a Little” under the moniker Kirstin (stylized as kırstın™; the ™ stands for “Taylor Maldonado,” not trademark), with her debut EP L O V E released on July 14, 2017. She also made her Broadway debut in 2018, portraying Lauren in Kinky Boots.
Early life and education
Kirstin Taylor Maldonado was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 16, 1992. Her mother is Spanish-Italian, while her father, Michael Cisneros, is Mexican. Maldonado was raised by her mother Angelica Maldonado in Arlington, Texas. Maldonado was only five years old when she first expressed her wish to become a singer. At eight years old, she sang at her mother’s wedding reception, ultimately convincing her mother to enroll her in voice lessons. Maldonado also got into theater and starred in several local productions. It was through the local theater community that Maldonado met Mitch Grassi, a future fellow Pentatonix member.
Maldonado attended Holy Rosary Catholic School, and later Martin High School. At Martin High School, she met Scott Hoying with whom she and Grassi would later form Pentatonix. The three friends created an a cappella trio and started getting attention around their school for their covers of popular songs. Maldonado graduated from Martin High School in 2010 and went to The University of Oklahoma where she was a Musical Theatre Performance major. She dropped out to form Pentatonix.
In 2011, Maldonado was contacted by her high school friend Scott Hoying who wanted to put together a group for NBC’s a cappella competition The Sing-Off. Maldonado agreed to join the group, which also included Mitch Grassi, another of her high school friends. Together they formed the a cappella group Pentatonix along with Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola. The group entered and eventually won the third season of The Sing-Off. Since then, they have released several albums and EPs, reached 13 million YouTube subscribers and over 2 billion YouTube views, and toured the world. As a member of Pentatonix, Maldonado has won three Grammy Awards. On February 8, 2015, Pentatonix won a Grammy in the “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or a cappella” category for their song “Daft Punk”, a medley of songs by Daft Punk. On February 15, 2016, Pentatonix won a Grammy in the same category, this time for “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from their “That’s Christmas to Me” album. On February 12, 2017, Pentatonix won a Grammy in the “Best Country duo/group performance” category for “Jolene” which featured Dolly Parton.
Other projects and appearances
Maldonado performed at the Hippodrome, London with the song “Never Neverland” together with Scott Alan on May 2014.
In January 2016, Maldonado performed the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the World Dog Awards in honor of the dogs who have played the role of Toto from the iconic story about The Wizard of Oz.
In February 2016, the a cappella group Voctave released the video “Disney Love Medley” which featured Maldonado and her fiance Jeremy Michael Lewis. In the video, Maldonado, and Lewis perform the songs “I See the Light” from Tangled, “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan and “Go the Distance” from Hercules with the members of Voctave providing the backing vocals. In May 2016, Maldonado, along with Grassi and Hoying, appeared in an episode of Bones titled “The Strike in the Chord”. Maldonado played the role of Liz Dervan, a member of the college a capella group “The Gingersnaps”.
In February 2017, Maldonado stated during an interview she would be releasing a solo project sometime in the spring. On May 19, 2017, Maldonado officially released her first solo single, titled “Break a Little”, alongside a music video. Her debut EP L O V E was released on July 14, 2017. She released a collaboration with Play-N-Skillz titled “Hey Guapo” on August 31, 2017.
In 2018, Maldonado starred as Lauren in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots alongside singer Jake Shears and comedian Wayne Brady: The musical’s final performance took place on May 4, 2018.
On May 29, 2016, she became engaged to Jeremy Michael Lewis. In 2017, the couple postponed their wedding to work on certain unstated “issues”.
- 2017: L O V E – EP (credited to Kirstin)
- 2017: “Break a Little”
- 2017: “All Night”
- 2017: “Naked”
Kirstin has 9 tattoos as of October 2017.
On July 14, 2017, she released her debut EP, L O V E.
- “Break a Little”
- “All Night”
- “Something Real”
- “See It”
- “Bad Weather”
- “Hey Guapo” (with Play-N-Skillz) – August 31, 2017
- “Dose of You” (with Helena Legend) – May 5, 2017
- ”Got The Feeling” (with Syn Cole) – December 7, 2017
Her career started in 2011 and she has been an active member of the music industry ever since. So, if you ever wondered how rich Kirstin Maldonado is, it has been estimated by authoritative sources that the total size of her net worth is over $8 million, accumulated through her successful career; her annual salary is almost $750,000, so if she continues to develop her career, her net worth will certainly increase further in the coming years.
Regarding her education, Kirstin went to Holy Rosary Catholic School, after which she attended Martin High School, and while there spent three years as a member of the Texas All-State Choir. Upon matriculation in 2010, she enrolled on a full scholarship as a National Hispanic Scholar at the University of Oklahoma, where she majored in Musical Theatre Performance. However, she did not complete her degree since she decided to quit education to pursue her career in the entertainment industry.
While in high school, Kirstin met Scott Haying, and later when performing in local plays, she met one of Scott’s best friends, named Mitch Grassy. They decided to form a trio and to participate at a local radio singing competition, which although they didn’t win, led them to become very popular in school and perform at various school events as well as at local shows, covering some of the most popular songs. However, after matriculation, she decided to leave the group to go to college.
Pentatonix and “The Sing-Off”
Nonetheless, it did not take long until Scott heard about the audition for the third season of NBC’s a cappella singing competition entitled “The Sing-Off” and decided to try to recreate the trio with his old friends, so Kirstin dropped out of college and rejoined them in 2011. Avid Kaplan, a vocal bassist, and Kevin Outsole, a well-known beatboxer, also joined them, so they formed the a cappella group called Pentatonix, named after the pentatonic scale. They successfully auditioned for the show and made their debut performance in the second episode with a cover of the song “E.T.” by Katy Perry. During the show they performed such songs as “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles, “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf and “Without You” by David Guetta featuring Usher. Thanks to their talent, the group won the competition with Survivor’s hit song “Eye Of The Tiger”, which earned them not only $200,000 but also a recording contract with Sony Music.
Upon winning, Kirstin and the other members moved to Los Angeles, California, and started working on their debut EP album, entitled “PTX, Volume 1”, which was released in June of 2012, peaking at No. 14 on the US Billboard 200 chart with such covers as “Gangnam Style” by PSY, and “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Godey featuring Kimbra. In November of the same year, they released Christmas EP entitled “Tomas”, which was re-released as a deluxe edition in the following year, with songs “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Little Drummer Boy”, debuting at No. 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and adding a considerable amount to her net worth. Their second EP album “PTX Vol. II” was released in November of 2013, which they promoted in “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, increasing their popularity as well as their fortune, reaching No. 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and topping the Independent chart.
In May of 2014, the group signed a recording contract with RCA Records and released their first official studio album entitled “PTX, Vols. 1 & 2”, which was followed by their second album “PTX” in September of the same year. Afterward, they also released “That’s Christmas To Me”, which topped the Holiday Album Chart and achieved gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), increasing further Kirstin’s net worth. In October of the following year, the group released their self-titled album, which topped the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by the RIAA. By the end of the next year, their next Christmas album entitled “A Pentatonic Christmas” out came, and topped on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Pentatonix released their fifth EP album “PTX, Vol. IV – Classics” in April of 2017, after which Avid Kaplan left the group and Matt Sallie replaced him. Their first cover with the new member was of the song “Havana” by Camila Cabello, released in February of 2018. The group’s sixth album “PTX Presents Top Pop, Vol. I” out came in April of 2018, while they released their seventh studio album, entitled “Christmas Is Here” in October of the same year, which peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Apart from being a member of Pentatonix, Kirstin has pursued her career as a solo artist too; she released her debut single, entitled “Break A Little”, in May of 2017, while her debut EP “L O V E” out came two months later. In August of the same year, Kirstin collaborated with Play-N-Skills on the song “Hey Guap”, increasing further her net worth, and also released two more singles – “All Night” and “Naked” – both in 2017.
A career as an Actress
To speak further about her involvement in the entertainment industry, Kirstin made her debut as an actress on the Broadway stage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in February of 2018, when she appeared in the role of Lauren in the musical “Kinky Boots”, next to comedian Wayne Brady and singer Jake Shears.
Releasing seven studio albums and selling more than six million copies, Pentatonix won a number of significant awards, including the 2014 Stream Award in the category of Best Cover Song for their version of “Daft Punk”, the 2015 YouTube Music Award for Artist of the Year and the 2016 Grammy Award in the category of Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for their performance of “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy”, while their third Grammy came in 2017 in the Best Country duo/group performance category for the cover of “Jolene”, performing with Dolly Parton.
Appearance and Vital Statistics
Speaking about her appearance and physical attributes, Kirstin Maldonado is a beautiful young woman. She has long wavy dark brown hair and dark brown colored eyes. Her body shape could be described as fit, as she stands at a height of 5ft 4ins (1.63m), while her weight is reputed to be around 147lbs (67kgs), and her vital statistics are 37-26-37.
Social Media Presence
In addition to her career, Kirstin is active across many of the most popular social media sites, which she uses not only to promote her projects but also to share various other content with her fans. So, she runs her official Instagram account, on which she has almost 800,000 followers, as well as her official Twitter account, having close to 400,000 followers. She also runs her official Facebook page and has her website, on which you can find more information about her career.
- I always feel good after I change my hair. You get a haircut and feel positive and ready to take on the day.
- Surround yourself with good people who support and love you. And have confidence in yourself and your abilities!
- I think people are always going to say things about you or disapprove of your relationships or your ideals or your beliefs or something, but I think you have to stand up and stay strong in who you are and not let it affect you.
- A miserable karaoke experience is when people are trying hard and trying to show off. You have to just be chill – that’s what makes karaoke fun.
- Every single ‘no’ that you get, you know that that was an experience that you learned from. Keep going.
- It depends on the arrangement. It could take 3 hours, it could take 3 days, it could take a week. ‘Thrift Shop’ took one arrangement session. We did it all in a circle that day. ‘Evolution of Music’ and ‘Evolution of Beyonce’ took a bunch of different sessions.
- I think YouTube has been super instrumental in our success as well because I think there’s something really important about seeing and hearing what we’re doing.
- I feel like 2013 was one giant snowball of me being confused with my place in life and within the group. A lot of it was self-confidence issues, a lot of outside issues, and a lot of me questioning the future of what I was doing. And my mistake was letting all that influence me so that I wasn’t the best I could be in life!
- What better way is there to raise money for such an important organization like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS than by celebrating all types of bodies, all types of relationships, and just acceptance overall?
- A bully is going to be a bully, and you have to stand up for yourself. You can’t expect everyone else is going to come and run to your aid. You have to stand your ground; that’s very important.