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MKTO – Living the American Dream

Updated: May 13, 2020

Tony Oller and Malcolm Kelley of MKTO

Tony Oller and Malcolm Kelley of MKTO


Living the American Dream

by Sami Speiss and Ali Speiss

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller first became friends while acting together on a popular Nickelodeon show called Gigantic.  While they both loved acting, they also wanted to branch out and do something else.  Who better to embark on an exciting new journey in life with than your BFF, right?  That’s exactly what they did and now we know them as the popular American pop duo MKTO!

It’s been a few months since we last interviewed the guys when they were opening for Emblem3′s #bandlife tour.  (See interview at  But, we recently had the pleasure of talking to Tony Oller, half of the musical duo that sings about everything from heartache to apologizing to dreams coming true.  Just listen to their songs once and you’ll see why so many fans are falling in love with them.  Their biggest hit, “Classic,” which can be found on their recently released debut album continues to get daily airplay in spite the single being released nearly a year ago.

Their latest single is “American Dream,” which is also the name of their big headlining tour. After opening for Emblem3′s tour, pop sensation Demi Lovato nabbed the guys to open part of her tour.  Now though, with their popularity growing, you can see these talented guys live, as they embark on their own headlining North American tour this summer!  MKTO are two guys that you will not want to miss.

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller of MKTO

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller of MKTO

Have you achieved your “American Dream” by headlining your own tour?

I guess that is the American dream. I think that the American dream is setting it up to where you are as far as you can go. [Where] the world as best as you make it. It definitely is an American dream to be able to have the support that we do at this point in our careers. To be able to play at live shows.  We hope that there’s more to come.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your fans?

Oh yeah definitely! Thank you for supporting us and buying our records. We are so flattered. So many incredible feelings and things to say to the fans. Just thank you and we are just incredibly blessed.

Do you have any special surprises for your fans while on tour?

We just got off a tour, so we have a little practice in for this tour. We’ll definitely do things and bring guests out here and there.  We just brought this tour over, we did our first headlining tour over in Australia which was amazing. Now we are going to bring it to the States and we want have some fun.

Tony Oller and Malcolm Kelley of MKTO

Tony Oller and Malcolm Kelley of MKTO

You have any inspiration behind your song “Wasted?”  About a girl in particular?

Most songs in general are about a girl, but [they] are a metaphor for something different. “Wasted” in general is about getting blurred in life, not living in the moment and having time fly by. It’s not enjoying every second in this beautiful life we have. Not being able to see life clearly and trying to get a focus.

What song would you say you are most emotionally attached to on our album? 

I would definitely have to say “Wasted.” That it is not my favorite song. I have too many favorites on there. Emotionally it connected for me, though, because it’s more me.

What is your favorite song off the album?

My favorite to perform live is “American Dream.“

Do you think your music has evolved since when you first started?

Oh, yeah. It’s always evolving. It’s from having more opportunities to experience and see things. Especially this past year, we’ve got a lot to talk about. We wrote a few songs for the next record with a very cool sound. I think it could definitely evolve to a more mature sound. So much has happened in the year that we can write about to get off our chests. It would make a cool next album.

Are you going for more mature sound in the future?

I think our next album will go back to our roots. Sort of “Airplane,” B.O.B. sounding. But that’s a ways away. We’re focused on the now. It’s mostly about whatever is good, label wise, but we like to make whatever is good in general. All around good music.

What are you looking forward to most on your own tour?

The kid inside me is jumping up and down, saying this is cool. That comes with the fact that we have a lot of work to do to get this next record. We’re going to actually bring out a studio bus for a couple of days and record the record on the road. So yeah I think having that! We’re coming from a van with eight to ten people cramped in there to having our own bus. We can record and walk freely. Just get on the bus, record music and sleep. And not have to catch a flight.

Is there anything you have learned from Emblem3’s tour that you are going to take onto your tour?

Yeah, I think we learned to get better. A lot of people have a perspective of always partying on the road and messing yourself up for more shows. I think it’s just the more shows you do, the more mature you get. The more you learn what you can and cannot do. Every show is a learning experience and hopefully it continues to be better.

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller of MKTO

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller of MKTO

Are you looking forward to any particular cities on this tour?

I look forward to all of them! Definitely visiting a lot of places we haven’t been to before. I’m from Houston, Texas, so I look forward to playing at my hometown. That’s probably what I’m most excited about. A lot of people said I couldn’t do it, but, hopefully everyone comes out to the show. It’ll be cool! It paid off and worked out.

Is there any advice you would like to give to the people who are struggling with acceptance and proving themselves?

Yeah. Like anything, we all deal with it. We all struggle, no matter how successful you are. It’s a lot of hard work! High school and middle school… school in general is 12 years of your life. School [may be something] that you may struggle with, but it’s 12 years out of whatever the life expectancy is. It’s a small part of your life and you just have to get past it and don’t worry about it.

If you could bring only three things on tour with you, what would you bring and why?

Definitely would be the laptop that has all of my recording things on there. My travel piano, so that I can play the piano and record on the road. And my mic, so I can record on the road. Got to have the studio, can’t live without that.

So would you be able to live without food?

I mean, I would definitely need some hot Cheetos once in a while. That’s my favorite food. I don’t know why but I could eat them all day. Not the normal hot Cheetos, the baked version. That flavor tastes so good. I’d have to have a bag of those.


Date                City                                         Venue

June 27            Detroit, MI                              St. Andrews Hall

June 28            Cincinnati, OH                         Bogart’s

June 30            Minneapolis, MN                    Varsity Theater

July 1              Kansas City, MO                      Uptown Theatre

July 5               Englewood, CO                       Gothic Theatre

July 6               Salt Lake City, UT                    The Depot

July 8               Anaheim, CA                           House of Blues

July 9               San Francisco, CA                    The Fillmore

July 11             West Hollywood, CA               House of Blues

July 12             Las Vegas, NV                         Bank at the Bellagio

July 13             San Diego, CA                         House of Blues

July 15             Bakersfield, CA                       B Ryder’s

July 16             Sacramento, CA                      Ace of Spades

July 17             Portland, OR                           Hawthorne Theatre

July 19             Reno, NV                                 Reno Events Center (w/ Demi Lovato)

July 20             Paso Robles, CA                      California Mid-State Fair (w/ Demi Lovato)

July 22             Tempe, AZ                               Marquee Theatre

July 24             Houston, TX                             House of Blues

July 25             Dallas, TX                                House of Blues

July 26             Pomona, NY                            Provident Bank Park

July 27             New Orleans, LA                     House of Blues

July 29             Ft. Lauderdale, FL                   Revolution

July 30             Lake Buena Vista, FL               House of Blues

August 1          Atlanta, GA                              Masquerade

August 2          Charlotte, NC                           The Fillmore

August 3          Philadelphia, PA                      Theatre of Living Arts

August 5          Pittsburgh, PA                          Stage AE

August 6          Boston, MA                              Paradise Rock Club

August 7          New York, NY                           Irving Plaza

August 8          Toronto, Canada                     Virgin Mobile Mod Club

August 9          Cleveland, OH                          House of Blues

August 10       Lewisburg, WV                          State Fair of West Virginia

August 12       SIlver Springs, MD                    The Fillmore

August 14       Springfield, IL                            Illinois State Fairgrounds

August 15       Indianapolis, IN                          Deluxe at Old Natural Centre

August 16       Columbus, OH                           Newport Music Hall

August 17       Chicago, IL                                House of Blues

Copyright ©2014  All rights reserved.  Posted: June 10, 2014. 

Photo Credits:

#1 © 2014. Courtesy of Columbia Records.  All rights reserved.

#2 © 2014. Courtesy of Columbia Records.  All rights reserved.

#3 © 2014. Courtesy of Columbia Records.  All rights reserved.

#4 © 2014. Courtesy of Columbia Records.  All rights reserved.

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