Owensboro native Kevin Olusola and his bandmates in Pentatonix stood waiting for the final results of the NBC reality-competition series The Sing Off.
"We heard 'Pen' and then a lot of screaming," Olusola said of the Monday night finale. "Then everyone started hugging us and telling us we won."
The vocal group won $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony.
For Olusola, it is the culmination of a career path that included a stop at the Governor's School for the Arts at Transylvania University in 2004 and critical encouragement from classical music superstar Yo-Yo Ma and hip-hop mogul KRS-ONE.
Growing up in Owensboro, Olusola started playing piano very young, picked up the cello at age 6 and started playing the saxophone at 10. Along the way, he started beatboxing and became a Youtube sensation after posting a beatboxing-cello performance — celloboxing, he calls it.
Olusola in part credits the Governor's School with putting him on the diverse path.
"It showed me how interdisciplinary the arts can be and how they could broaden my horizons," Olusola said.
He went to Yale with a medical career in mind. But placing second in a competition presented by Ma changed everything. With the encouragement from Ma, KRS-ONE and others, Olusola went into music and developed a busy schedule, including touring with Christian rockers Gungor.
This year, Sing Off producers contacted Olusola saying that the a capella group Pentatonix wanted to work with him on the show. He became a critical part of the act, creating a rhythmic basis for its sound.
Now, plans are to move to Los Angeles and get started on that record.
"Medicine was a reliable and safe career, so it was a big leap of faith for me and my parents when I decided to pursue music," Olusola said. "So, it's nice to have a recording contract."