Kevin Olusola

Renegade

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The debut EP from Kevin Olusola, 2015's Renegade showcases the Pentatonix member's unique mix of a cappella beatboxing, singing, and cello playing, a style Olusola has dubbed "celloboxing." The music on Renegade is an atmospheric, ambitious stylistic mix that touches upon classical, hip-hop, pop, and electronica. A graduate of Yale (where he played in symphony orchestra), Olusola (who supplies all the sounds on the album himself) displays a technically adroit touch on the cello. Perhaps not surprisingly, as a singer he brings a lyrical, vocal-like phrasing to the instrument, imbuing each note with a warm, burnished sound. Here he transforms modern pop hits like Sam Smith's "Stay with Me" and Demi Lovato's "Heart Attack" into moving, wordless, acoustic instrumental pieces. Also engaging is the elegiac title track, as well as his take on cellist Mark Summer's "Julie-o."