Getting to Know MKTO

A Rapper and Pop vocalist create a dynamic duo.

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller form a balance of hip-hop and pop in their music act MKTO. The acronym stands for their initials, as well as “Misfit Kids and Total Outcasts,” which is how the two viewed themselves in high school

Their breakout hit “Classic” is succeeding on the charts and is currently ranked at No. 38 on the US iTunes list. Kelley describes the song as a “feel-good song about taking a girl home to Mama.”

The band members were former actors that met on the production of Nickelodeon’s show Gigantic. MKTO’s Kelley says music helped them become actors.


“Every day after the set [of Gigantic] we would write and put stuff up on YouTube,” Oller says. The duo writes almost all of their songs.

MKTO credits Michael Jackson, Prince, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Neyo as their inspirations.

Their debut album has already been released in New Zealand and Australia, but will finally become available in the US on April 1.

Oller assures the album has a diverse mix of pop, rock, dance and Kelley’s rap as well.

The duo performed an entertaining 30-minute opening act for Emblem3 at the San Jose Civic Center on March 12.

The duo added some fire to “Royals” by Lorde, infusing some original rap into their cover of the popular song.

MKTO arguably stole the show that night, with stronger vocals and irresistibly catchy songs. Kelley’s raps have a lot of depth to them, giving the band an edge in the rap game.

Written by Justin San Diego

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