You may not have heard of pop-rap duo MKTO, but there’s a chance you already know them.
Malcolm Kelley got his star on “Lost,” while Tony Oller starred opposite Demi Lovato on the sitcom “As the Bell Rings.” But it wasn’t until these two met on the set of the Teen Nick show “Gigantic,” in 2010 that their love of music started taking shape.
“In the course of shooting that show we had a lot of downtime so we put stuff up on YouTube, make songs for the fans, something real organic,” Kelley told MTV News. “And you know people were like you should take it serious come out with an album.”
And that’s exactly what they did. The duo signed with Columbia Records and decided to call themselves MKTO. And while you may think the name is just a combination of their initials, it’s actually a double entendre, also meaning “Misfit Kids and Total Outcasts.”
“We both relate to the standpoint of people saying you can’t do something you don’t want to do,” Oller said of their name. “From the hazing to the bullying — all that stupid, young, immature mindset that we are all at — it was just something to relate to people.”
And being relatable is something they are aiming for on their self-titled debut album, which drops April 1 and features a collaboration with Ne-Yo. They’ve already dropped two tracks, “Thank You” and “Classic.” The guys compare their sound to B.o.B and Haley Williams’ hit “Airplanes,” but there’s something for everyone.
“There’s 11 stories on there,” Kelley said. “There’s ballads, there’s club songs. It takes you through a lot of different emotions. It’s very relatable.”
Oller described “Classic” as “a song you take home to Mom.”
“I think it’s talking about natural beauty,” he said. “I think a lot of people these days can kinda get infiltrated in their minds about what’s appropriate and how you have to look a certain way.”