When Pentatonix realized that the sixth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death was coming up, they knew they had to honor him—so they did it in the best way they know how: by recording a medley of his most famous songs for a video the quintet posted Monday (Jackson died June 25, 2009).
Kevin Olusola—the group’s self-described “biggest Michael Jackson fan”—headed the process, which took about two weeks before they briefly snuck away from their tour to record the medley in Tokyo, where they were performing three shows. Four takes later, they had their video.
The medley includes hits from both the Jackson 5 and Jackson’s solo work, including 1982’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)“—the first Jackson song Olusola ever got into after his cousin introduced the then pre-teen Olusola to Thriller. “I remember listening to that song maybe a million times,” Olusola tells EW. “I loved that song so much.”
Part of Jackson’s appeal for Olusola is the “Billie Jean” singer’s willingness to “keep it clean.” “He’s one of those artists that didn’t have to curse at all,” he says. “That’s something Pentatonix tries to do in all of our music. We try to keep it clean so that everybody can come to our shows. Families and generations of families come and they’re like, ‘Wow, thank you so much for putting out this music that all of us can listen to and none of us are hesitant about it.'”
Pentatonix just wrapped up their On My Way Home Tour, but they’re heading back on the road soon to open for Kelly Clarkson on her Piece by Piece Tour, which kicks off in July. “She’s very, very funny, and her baby River is absolutely adorable,” Olusola says. “To be honest, I hope I get to be a babysitter. I want to be a babysitter.” (We all do, Kevin. We all do.)