The then-28-year-old classically trained tenor had spent years fine-tuning his craft. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 2005 with a degree in vocal performance and subsequently traveled through Europe and South America to further his vocal education.
But the invitation to join Yanni was the chance he needed to prove himself.
Now, nine years later, the 37-year-old has four albums to his name, including an album of sacred songs. He and David Archuleta released a single of "The Prayer" in 2015.
"I feel very grateful for everything. That's pretty much where my career started," Pacheco said. "The music business is crazy. I'll go when the iron's hot."
Pacheco's years with Yanni, touring and arranging music gave him the exposure and experience he needed to break out on his own. Since then, he's performed for Prince Charles, sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, toured the United Kingdom with the Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony Orchestra and done much more.
But as a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a returned LDS missionary, he especially enjoys singing sacred music.
Sacred songs represent a part of who he is, Pacheco said. "I've always loved to listen to sacred music and I'm grateful to do one of my own," he shared.
He released his first sacred songs album, "Higher," in February 2017, which hit No. 1 on Billboard for best classical and classical/crossover album.
His most recent album, "O Holy Night," is a compilation of lush, traditional Christmas favorites such as "O' Come, O' Come, Emmanuel," "What Child is This?" and the "Star Carol."
The singer is currently working on music videos that will celebrate the release of the new album.
Along with the album, Pacheco kicks off a holiday concert tour Dec. 2, visiting 17 venues and arriving home just in time for Christmas.
"It's going to be fantastic," said Pacheco. "This is what I love. Creating music is all very exciting, very demanding. From here my goal is to sing around the world."
Pacheco, who grew up in Virginia, now lives in Nashville with his wife and children, where he relishes his time with them when he's not on the road. While home, he composes many of the songs he performs and has added lyrics to several traditionally instrumental Yanni cuts.
His plans for the upcoming months include another album release and another TV special. "Introducing Nathan Pacheco" and "Christmas with Nathan Pacheco" both began airing on PBS in 2012.
However, the singer doesn't want to be locked into a particular genre.
"I'm always open to suggestions (as to songs he puts on his albums). I have a couple of rules about what I sing: I've got to feel connected to the song and love it and I've got to sing it well."
If you go
What: Nathan Pacheco
When: Saturday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kingsbury Hall, 1395 Presidents Circle
When: Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Where: UVCC Special Events Center, 800 West University Parkway, Orem
When: Saturday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Logan High School, 162 W. 100 South, Logan
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 40 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
Email: [email protected]