Kaplan revealed he would be “taking a step back” from the a cappella group after six years during a tearful video posted to Facebook on May 12. But Penatonix are taking a leap forward — to find a new bass vocalist.
“We’ll have to find a new bass,” Maldonado tells PEOPLE Now when asked where the band stands without Kaplan. “There are five of us, so that’s a fifth that’s gone.”
She adds, “We just want everyone to be happy.”
With the support of his band mates Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kevin Olusola and Maldonado, Kaplan made his decision after struggling with whether to stay in the group or move on to a solo career — calling it the “one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my entire life.”
“We’re definitely gonna work on finding a new person for it, and it’ll just be a new chapter,” says Maldonado. “I’m looking forward to what that new chapter will be. It’ll be different, but I think it needs to be.”
“You’re adding a new person in and they’re gonna bring whatever special quality they bring, and we’re all gonna be transformed because of that and make a good group,” she continues.
Maldonado, too, is launching a solo career as kirstin™ with a six-track EP called L O V E, which includes her hit single “Break a Little.” If Pentatonix are singing “Hallelujah,” it’s because the singer has no plans to break away from the group while doing so.
“I think I’d always been a little shy beforehand,” she says about her decision to pursue solo work. “I was too nervous I guess, and then I finally felt like I was at a good place. I never thought to question this and take advantage of the opportunities that I have.”
She continues, “I was the last baby bird to fly from the nest because all the other guys have had music or have been putting up covers all this time, and I haveof been chilling and relaxing and not really doing it yet. But I’m glad I waited because I feel really good about what I’m putting out now.”
From launching Pentatonix to fame in 2011 to introducing her to fiancé Jeremy Michael Lewis in 2013, NBC’s The Sing-Off has provided a bright future for Maldonado. After getting engaged in Paris in June 2016 right before she jumped onstage to perform with the a cappella group, the couple is now in the midst of planning their November wedding in Los Angeles.
“It’s in Los Angeles because I’m from Texas, he’s from the Chicago area, we both went to school different places,” she explains. “California is our home base — we just got a house there last year and that’s where we met as well, so I feel like that was the good happy medium place to do it.”
While Maldonado admits she won’t be singing herself because she will “be a mess,” she has nailed down what she wishes her first dance song to be.
“‘Amazed’ by Lonestar,” she says. “I’ve known that song for forever because I’m from Texas. Country music is just always playing everywhere.”
“I just think that song is so sweet when I hear it,” Maldonado adds. “It just invokes such nostalgic emotions of being home and of him, too, so I feel like that would be sweet.”