Moment of Clarity
Kevin Olusola operates from a sense of clarity and intentionality when it comes to spending time with God and in day-to-day schedule on the road with Pentatonix.
By Brittany N. Winkfield
When it comes to breaking boundaries in the world of music,
Kevin “K.O.” Olusola is no stranger. He is best known as the beat boxer
of the Grammy-winning vocal quintet Pentatonix. The group has eclipsed
7 million YouTube subscribers (more than both Avicii and Beyoncé),
with more than 800 million cumulative views. Their music video for
“Daft Punk” has been viewed more than 100 million times and the medley earned the group their first Grammy win. To date, Pentatonix has released 5 albums, each landing in the top 15 of Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart and cumulatively selling roughly 1.7 million albums.
Kevin grew up in the small town of Owensboro, Kentucky, the son of a Nigerian psychiatrist and a Grenadian nurse. At an early age, Kevin began learning piano, cello and saxophone. He performed at Carnegie Hall twice as soloist on the cello and saxophone and has appeared on NPR’s From The Top. After finishing high school at Phillips Academy Andover, Kevin enrolled in and graduated from Yale University where he was pre-med and majored in East Asian Studies. He spent 18 months in Beijing becoming fluent in Chinese as a part of his Yale fellowship.
While in college, Kevin began developing his “celloboxing” skills and in 2009, he won second place in the “Celebrate and Collaborate with Yo-Yo Ma” international competition. Ma would call Kevin’s celloboxing version of “Dona Nobis Pacem” both “inventive and unexpected.”
In 2011, Kevin’s “Julie-O” celloboxing YouTube video was featured by CBS, AOL, Huffington Post andWashington Post, among others. Kevin was also named one of 100 “History Makers in the Making” by NBC’s TheGrio and was hand-chosen by Quincy Jones to represent him in concert at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival alongside Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea.
On March 10th 2015, Kevin released his first solo album, The Renegade EP. courtesy of RCA Records. The album features classically reimagined versions of popular songs like “All of Me”, “Stay With Me”, and “Heart Attack”, as well as Kevin’s original composition “Renegade”. The album debuted #1 on Billboard Traditional Classical and Classical Crossover charts, in addition to staying #1 on iTunes classical albums for weeks. As Kevin puts it: “I think this is the beginning of a different sound I’m trying to popularize, just like Pharrell did, just like Quincy Jones did. I’m still developing… but I’m excited for the journey, says Kevin.”
Kevin gets back to the basics by taking it one day at a time. “I stay centered by affirming myself in the morning with the things I want to believe about myself.” He explains that being reactive to the day vs. proactive derails your plan of who you are and the kind of person you want to be. Daily affirmations allow you to interact with people throughout the day in the manner that you decide for yourself.
A lot of times you hear you must work constantly to achieve success. “I just don’t see that being sustainable,” says Kevin. Ultimately it comes down to balance.
Newly engaged, Kevin thinks on how his fiance will become his wife and about starting a family. “If I don’t have balance, there’s no way I’m going to be able to be there for my children,” says Kevin. He goes on to say that being an amazing father is more important to him than music.
When you operate from a sense of clarity and know your priorities, those are the keys that keep you in line and level-headed through it all. Practical tips like scheduling your day and being intentional about your uninterrupted time with God offers good advice in your daily walk.
“I believe in the Sabbath and I think the Sabbath is an amazing time to recalibrate your time with God and see where your walk has been. With God, with family, with myrself, I can do a review of my relationship with Him and pray some things out.”
“This life is so crazy being a musician... I’m always travling I’m always touring, I’m always gone so having that intentional time is very important.”
Be sure to get the Pentatonix Christmas is Here album wherever you get your music.
@kolusola // @ptxofficial