Monday, March 9, 2015

Kevin "Renegade" Olusola

Cellist, beatboxer, producer, Grammy winner and one fifth of Pentatonix. That is how most of you know Kevin "KO" Olusola

Perhaps you didn't know he is also a Renegade. Yes, Kevin's first EP Renegade is out tomorrow, March 10th.  

Less than an hour after the EP surfaced on iTunes, The Renegade EP, which features Olusola’s world famous celloboxing (simultaneously playing cello and beatboxing), landed at #1 on the Classical Album Chart.  Simultaneously, his rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” shot to #1 on the Classical Singles Chart, with a companion music video, which "KO" premiered on YouTube in conjunction with it. 

MS: Rumor has it you have a new EP coming out?

KO: Oh my god, I am ecstatic, I am beside myself! I can't believe it is real and it's happening. It's very exciting!

MS: What prompted you to do Renegade?

KO: I feel that I've gained a lot of skills now that I have been in Pentatonix a while for inspiration. I wanted to put something out that was a cohesive sound of all those experiences that I can elaborate on.

MS: So, how does it feel to be a Grammy Award Winner?

KO: It's amazing and surreal. When I say "Oh yeah we won a Grammy" that doesn't come out of most people's mouths. To know that I can say that is very humbling.

MS: Very few people have one, it's really cool. 

KO: Exactly!


MS: On your EP, this may or may not sound weird to you. Probably not, when you played Sam Smith's Stay With Me, I heard singing even though there wasn't any. 

KO: Wow! You understand it. That is the sound I am going for! The people who I have admired as instrumentalists are people like Santana. He was a singer first and his medium for that voice was his instrument. So that's why when people say that the cello is the instrument that is the closest to the human voice, I had to take it that step further. How do I actually reproduce this sound so people can actually hear a voice and say "Wow!" I tried to create a sound around it. I'm so happy you said that, that means a lot to me, Thank You.

MS: BTW I remember you playing Renegade at The Orpheum in Los Angeles, CA.

KO: Oh yeah, absolutely! 

MS: You always get a solo at a Pentatonix concert which is nice.

KO: Thank you, I appreciate it. It took me so long to put all of the elements together so when I was offered the solo I thought why not just go for it!

MS: Curious people want to know. What made you want to cover Heart Attack by Demi Lovato?

KO: It had an edgy quality to it...electronic, tech, hardcore, which I love! What attracted me to it was I did not think people could ever think the piece could be done with the cello and the beatboxing. So I took it and said: "Let me try it." 

                                                           "Stay With Me"

MS: You have created an original music category: Celloboxing.

KO: No one else is Celloboxing, sure why not, let's do it. (laughs)

MS: You've also played Carnegie Hall as well.

KO: Oh yeah. I did it on two different occasions one was my senior year in High School as a cellist, a solo. Then I did it in my first year of college on saxophone. Two different experiences at Carnegie Hall. I feel very honored that I have had that opportunity.

MS: How does it feel to be on the classical music charts? 

KO: It's so weird to contemplate that people are actually going out and buying the music that I'm creating. I'm overwhelmed.

MS: You're like Lindsey Stirling she is a Rock Star on the violin, you are a Rock Star on the cello.

KO: Oh thank you! I appreciate that! When you think about it now this alternative sound is popularized and now has wide mass appeal. Lindsey is amazing, she really paved the way for it an created it, in how she presented what she did. There are so many ways to be heard now, it's amazing!

MS: How did you discover your inner Beatboxer?

KO: It wasn't anything that I thought of. I just kind of did it when I was young. It was this song by Musiq Soulchild called Juslisten and it had this hook at the very beginning of the song, that inspired me, that's when I started Beatboxing a lot more. 

Go Celloboxing with Kevin at: 

Order The Renegade EP on iTunes:   

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