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Pixar Employee By Day, YouTube Sensation By Night: Nick Pitera

nick piteraVidCon was held over a month ago at the Anaheim Convention Center. VidCon is where many YouTubers get together to make collaborations, meet fans, and have a TON of fun. The weekend after this convention was held, the D23 Expo took its place. This means that I had both YouTube and Disney on my mind at the same time the past few weeks. Unfortunately I could not attend either event, so I decided to celebrate from all the way across the country by wearing my YouTube shirts, watching my favorite videos and participating in the Box. Videos that kept coming up were made by a man named Nick Pitera, which was a combination of both YouTube and Disney. He is an AMAZING singer, and he can duet with himself …. but more on that later.

Nick also lives a double life, in a way. Sure, he is a YouTube sensation by day, but his job might even be cooler. He works for Pixar.  If you guys remember my NJ Meet of the Month recap from about a month ago, you might remember reading about how I was looking for his name under the Monster’s University credits and my reaction to finally finding it. Spoiler Alert: I screamed “Look! It’s NICK!” and hit my mother and brother about ten thousand times. Anyway, he is a 3D modeler, which I think is AWESOME!

I will never forget my first Nick Pitera video.  It was titled “One Man Disney Movie,” and is now one of his most famous (over 12 MILLION views) and is my absolute favorite video of his. In the classic Brady Bunch fashion, there are six windows each with Nick himself in them. The video starts with fade-ins of each window and text telling you who he is in each square. For example, in the upper right corner he is singing the part of the hero. In the center square on the top row, he is the sidekick. On the bottom corners, he is the chorus and under the sidekick, he is the villain. What surprised me the most was who he was in the upper left window: the heroine (this will all make sense once you watch the video). I was kinda taken by surprise. But once he started singing, my jaw hit the floor. This wasn’t just any ordinary singer.

He was singing the beginning of “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast – as a woman. I was expecting a lot of things, but not THAT. Not only did he sound just like a woman, but he sounded like an AMAZING woman. I could have closed my eyes and thought I was watching a female sing her heart out. But, nope, it was Nick. I was pleasantly surprised. He sings a few lines before the hero breaks out into “One Jump Ahead Reprise” and he sounded even better than Aladdin does singing it! A little bit more than halfway through, he throws an apple in the air and sings with it. He even has PROPS! I fell in love with him right then and there. He proceeds to “Be Prepared” from The Lion King.  Each square remains in character, whether acting scared or evil. Once again, he truly rocks it and I prefer his version to the original! Here you can see fog flow through the squares, which sets the tone for the song. Immediately after a few verses of this song are sung, there is a blackout except for the villain square.  The end of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (the part right before Ariel starts to sing her voice away) is what is sung. You can hear the Ursula in his voice. After the villain finishes with a cackle, you can hear “Part of Your World Reprise”. This is the best rendition I have ever heard of this song. It gives me chills every time I hear it. He even gives a nod to the movie edition when Ariel sings the final note and the water splashes behind her.

The hero suddenly gets an idea as he runs off camera, then reappears dressed as Prince Edward from Enchanted. He begins to sing “True Love’s Kiss”, and the heroine joins in to finish the duet. I adore the fact that the sidekick, who was placed between the heroine and the hero, backs up to allow them to have their moment as the villain gets frustrated with all the love in the air. Confetti is thrown into the air whennick5 they hit the final note. Following suit is “Be Our Guest” sung respectively by the sidekick. The creative use of props and the accent really puts the icing on the cake. After a piece of the song is over there is a dramatic blackout and a spotlight lands on the hero. This is my FAVORITE part. The beginning of “Go the Distance,” one of my favorite Disney songs ever, is sung for a little while. Then the heroine also receives a spotlight and breaks out into the most beautiful rendition of “Reflection.” Then the most wonderful thing I have ever seen and heard happens. THE SONGS INTERTWINE. It. Is. PERFECT. “Somehow I cannot hide” is made even better when “I will find my way” begins. “Who I am though I’ve tried” leads to “I’ll be there someday.” “When will my reflection show…” is harmonized with “I can go the distance.” The last note sung by the hero is held as the heroine finishes the chorus. “Who I am inside?”

The villain finally reaches his breaking point and says “Enough. So serious…” before being cut off by the sidekick leading a rendition of “I Wanna Be Like You”. The villain has had enough and sinks out of view. Then the mouse ears come out. Well, at least on the heroine. He sings the first verse alone before the hero takes ahold of the second verse, putting his hat on also. And the sidekick holds up a star, which makes me laugh every time. The hero and heroine harmonize together while the side kick and the chorus get their ears on their heads. Then the sidekick participates in the final verse. The last few words are sung by everyone except the villain, who appears to only say “Be Prepared” before disappearing again. Then each square sings the title of one of the songs they sung before giving a single nod to the camera and the video ends. HOW AMAZING IS THIS MAN?!?!?

I won’t go through all of his other videos because that would take WAY too long! I will however talk about his original song, Better Days. Listening to this melody along with watching the music video might make you tear up or even cry. I LOVE this song. The lyrics are very inspirational, and it is a perfect tune. He sings the first half in his lower register, than slowly blends into singing higher notes.  I can’t even express how great it is in words. Just listen to it.

Disney just wrapped up submission for the Find Your Voice contest, an online singing contest. Nick Pitera was at the D23 Expo and promoted the contest by singing on stage. When I found out he was roaming around the Expo the first night, I FREAKED OUT. Someone posted on Twitter that he was in the Collector’s Forum and attached a photo of Nick.  I immediately sent Christy the photo and she was willing to go on a hunt and find him. About five minutes later I got the text that she was talking to him right then and there! I am pretty sure it was destiny. Or maybe just luck! nick pitera3

Oh, was I in for a treat the next night. While Christy was waiting in line for the Richard Sherman and Alan Menken concert and I was sitting in front of my computer screen in the Box, I got a call from her. I thought something was wrong so I picked up immediately. I forget our exact conversation but I remember her telling me that she got a video of Nick Pitera saying hello to me. I also remember pacing my room and crying. I my mom heard me and ran into my room, thinking something was wrong. I literally couldn’t answer her I was so taken aback. I gave her a thumbs up and kept listening to what Christy was saying. I honestly don’t remember much of anything she said after that point. I was kinda in a daze. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

The next morning, I woke up to the video sitting among my incoming text messages. I played it right away and cried. A lot. Before you judge me for my fangirl moment, remember #1, I am a 14 year old girl  entering my sophomore year in high school and #2, Lou had his own fangirl moment during the Expo with Kristen Schaal and Alex Hirsch, so it’s not just me! It was just so nice of both Christy and Nick to take the time out of their Expo fun to do this for me. If you want to watch the video, you can check it out here. It just a little thing that made me smile and I will never forget it.

Nick Pitera is someone I look up to. He is the person who inspired me to start singing, and some of you guys might know that I was recently in a musical. I have a lower register, so I can’t hit those high notes that everyone expects a girl can hit. Nick Pitera proved to me that you can sing outside the stereotypical range, whether a low range for men or a high range for women and still be amazing. If it wasn’t for Nick, I would have never been able to stand up and sing in front of other people. I really hope I get to meet him someday and give him a huge hug to thank him for everything he has done for me. He has changed my life and I can’t thank him enough for it.

Thanks for reading! I really hope this convinced you to go check out his covers and his original song, Better Days. Trust me; it is worth the few minutes it will take to listen to any of his videos.

What is your favorite Nick Pitera video? Leave a comment below!

P.S: If you ever see Nick, I guarantee you he will have a heart on his shirt, right above where his real heart is. 🙂

See ya REAL soon!

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Quote of the Week:  “I see better days.” ~ Nick Pitera, Better Days

Makena is a 14 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.