MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO will be headlining at Irving Plaza on August 7. Credit: Provided
MKTO play Theatre of the Living Arts in Philly on Aug. 3 and Irving Plaza in NYC on Aug. 7.
Credit: Provided

Between having their single, “Classic,” go platinum and getting ready for a world tour with Demi Lovato and Christina Perri, it’s pretty good to be Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, also known as MKTO, right now. But the guys swear they weren’t always this cool.

Both Kelley and Oller say they had trouble fitting in when they were growing up. “Tony was growing up in Texas where everyone was into sports. People gave him a hard time because he did theater and played piano,” Kelley says. “The same thing happened to me. I starting acting at a young age and certain people didn’t get it.”

Now that they’ve made it, those former haters are trying to backtrack, including girls who previously turned them down.

“They definitely see the music videos and try to hit us up,” Kelley says. “It’s kinda funny. We just laugh.”

Instead of taking advantage of their view from the top, the boys say they surround themselves with old friends and people who have supported them from the beginning.

A new friend they’ll be joining on tour is Demi Lovato. This fall, MKTO will join her along with Christina Perri on a world tour.

Oller and Lovato go way back — they both starred on Disney’s  ”As The Bell Rings” — so it will be a reunion of sorts for them, and Kelley is looking forward to getting to know her outside of the award show circuit.

But even though both guys are currently single, no one is calling dibs on Demi, not that they would let a girl come between a five-year friendship.

“Tony and I played best friends on ‘Gigantic’ and we were best friends off the show too. [Since those early days] our friendship has just grown,” Kelley says.

The two even lived together in Los Angeles for two years when they weren’t touring, but since “Classic” has gone platinum, they’ve both upgraded to bigger houses, a mile from each other.

Despite their sudden musical success, neither of the guys seem to have egos when it comes to making music and they describe their working relationship as a true collaboration. Their goal with their self-titled album was just to tell stories from their own lives, whether it was about being a misfit growing up, getting dumped or trying to find the right girl. Some of the songs on the album are pure pop rock while others have more of an R&B feel.

Kelley and Oller may still be experimenting musically and finding their sweet spot, but they do know that they’ll be doing it together and having a blast in the process.

If you go:

August 3, 7 p.m.
Theatre of the Living Arts
334 South St., 215-922-1011

August 6, 6 p.m.
Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave., 617-562-8800

New York City
August 7, 6 p.m.
17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


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