“It’s all under the same very big umbrella even though they are two different worlds.” – Nick Pitera
After posting a cover of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, in which he sings both Jasmine and Aladdin’s parts, Nick Pitera went viral on Youtube (Over 29 million hits at last count). His unusual vocal range and clean-cut good looks, as well as his penchant for Disney songs, have made him very popular and garnered a huge fanbase.
Only 26, he graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Animation. He works at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville CA as a 3D modeler. AMFM Magazine asked him why he wasn’t encouraged to seek a career in music instead of film because of his vocal gift.
Now, Nick has finally released his own music. Here’s his first video, and an interview with Nick.
AMFM: Surely before now someone has suggested that you go into the music industry.
NICK: I’ve been moonlighting as a singer as a second career for a few years now. I’ve been going in an independent direction, and am actually about to release my first single. I feel YouTube and the Internet have really changed the face of the music industry and what you are able to accomplish on your own. I’ve been taking baby steps with everything, and it’s been a lot of fun.
The single is called “Better Days” and it’s the lead single of an EP that I will be releasing next year, which will comprised of a few of my original songs. This will be the first piece of original music that I put out there. I am now getting into my own music, which is something I’ve been wanting to be doing for a very long time, and I am really excited about that.
I am working with some producers on the actual instrumentation of everything on the track but the song is one that I wrote and most of the EP is that way as well.
AMFM: How did you develop your voice?
NICK: A lot of it was me, just kind of butchering songs in my bedroom learning how to sing. But I would do talent shows and recital type things and I did a lot of theater growing up. That was my life in high school, theater and musical theater. I’ve always loved to perform and always jumped at doing it whenever given the chance. I think I’ve been singing ever since I could talk. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and continue to do, and because of YouTube I’ve been able to do it on a more real and professional level.
I’ve always been able to sing in a higher register. Its hard to explain but there have been several theories about what is going on with my vocal chords. I’m just used to it.
I grew up learning how to sing and learning how to draw from Disney movies, that was my inspiration. I wanted to pursue both ever since I was very little. When it came to choosing a college I went to an art school and got a four-year degree, a BFA in Computer Animation. That was the career I was actively seeking out. After getting my degree I was lucky enough to land a job at Pixar and I’ve been working there ever since. For me YouTube hit right as I was finishing school.
I was in my senior year of college when I posted A Whole New World, and it wasn’t until then that I decided to pursue music as well.
Disney has always been my dream. It has been my goal to work on a Disney film or a Pixar film and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to do that.
Since starting at Pixar I have worked on Up, and then on Toy Story 3, on Cars 2, and Brave as well. I also worked on some short films in between those. I’m a 3D Modeler so I sculpt things in the computer. For Up and Cars 2 I was part of the sets team that built all the environments and the props for the films.
For example, I was a 3d modeler for the sets team on Pixar’s “La Luna.” I modeled props and environments such as the anchor, and the stars that you see in the clip.
AMFM: Did you ever expect something from putting up videos on YouTube?
NICK: Not at all, the very first video I uploaded was actually for a contest and that was the only reason I put anything on YouTube. Then that got some attention and people were asking me to put more up. I then posted a cover of A Whole New World from Disney’s Aladdin, and that kind of went everywhere. I thought ‘Oh there’s an audience here and an outlet where I can pursue music.’
I find it fun to take a show or a film and sing through as many parts as possible. The Lion King video I put up recently was one of the most fun that I got to work on because I was working directly with disney. I got to go on the stage, and work with the actors in the show. It felt like a very full-circle moment when I got to go up and sing on the Lion King stage.
AMFM: Would you want to cross over and not only do animation but also be involved in musical production?
Oh yeah definitely, YouTube has taught me that you never really know what’s going to happen, and to sort of roll with the punches. I’ve had lots of opportunities come around that I wouldn’t have ever expected and I like that I dont know whats going to come around. I’m open to anything, which is really fun.