Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix didn't grow up wanting to be a world-famous beatboxer. He simply enjoyed making sounds with his mouth – sounds that his father didn't always find entertaining.
"I'd be driving around with my dad," Olusola told Christian Headlines, laughing. "And my dad would always be like, 'Shut up. I'm really just trying to drive. Will you stop?'"
Eventually, though, Olusola discovered that his unique skill – mimicking the sounds of percussion instruments – was a money-making talent.
He entered Yale for a pre-med degree, expecting to follow his father's path into the medical field. But a viral video – and the hand of God – changed his path. The video showed Olusola playing the cello while beatboxing – a combination few people had ever seen.
The video caught the eye of Scott Hoying, a singer who was helping put together an acapella group to compete in the NBC competition show The Sing-Off.
"He saw that video, and at the time, he had gone through four or five different beatboxers," Olusola told Christian Headlines. "But he saw that video and said, 'You are the person that [is] called to be in this band.'"
Naming themselves "Pentatonix," the newly formed group won the 2011 season of The Sing-Off.
Olusola, a Christian, doesn't take any credit for what happened.
"I know that wasn't me," he said, summarizing the events. "Me making that video go viral at the right time, to the band meeting, to us being on the TV show and the timing of it all – it wasn't me. … The reason I'm humbled is because this story has been a God story from day one."
Olusola recently launched a Bible-based podcast, Imagine Faith Talk. His co-host is his friend, Donovan Dee Donnell. Donnell is an author, life coach and entrepreneur.
"On Imagine Faith Talk, we always want to tell people: If you have your faith in God, this story becomes crazier than you could ever imagine. Because God's gonna take you in places that you never could have dreamed. But trust Him in every single part of the journey, and you're going to be amazed by what He can do," Olusola said.
Olusola, who grew up in Owensboro, Ky., in a Christian home before moving to the bright lights of Los Angeles, says his faith keeps him grounded.
He encourages Christians to embrace the words of Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God."
"I take so many times out of the day to breathe and meditate on His Word so that I can stay focused on who He is, why He's called me here, and that I can do what I'm called to do in this time, in this present moment," he said. "Because now I have also developed the skills, the patience, the hard work that is necessary – but I've paired that with the faith of God. So that's why I think just being still as much as you possibly can, personally aligning with Him, so that you can go into any situation knowing He's with you."
God, he added, doesn't promise accolades, but "he says that I'm going to be with you, and He has been with me this whole time."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jason Kempin/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.