The meteoric success of 2Cellos started when former cellist rivals Luka Šulić, and Stjepan Hauser decided to join forces. In January 2011, they uploaded a unique duo cello version of ‘Smooth Criminal’ by Michael Jackson onto YouTube. Within just a few weeks, their video became a huge viral sensation, receiving over 5 million views. A month later, 2Cellos signed a recording deal with Sony Masterworks. Their self-titled debut album was released worldwide on July 19, 2011, achieving top 200 Billboard status in the US, #1 iTUNES Germany, and #1 on the Japan imported albums (ahead of such artists as Beyoncé, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lady Gaga.) The album includes covers of songs by U2, Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Sting, Coldplay, Nirvana, Muse, and Kings of Leon. “We grew up with Michael Jackson, U2, and Nirvana. The melody and structure of their songs really inspired us to arrange them for 2Cellos. Bands like Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Muse also write songs with those similar melodic qualities. So we had a great time digging in and making them part of this album too,” explained Šulić. The duo said that they chose songs that could be adapted into covers playable on only two cellos. U2′s, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name,’ begins the album with a slightly soothing pace that progressively escalates. 2Cellos has appeared on national television shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Lopez Tonight and Fox & Friends in the U.S., as well as Stefan Raab’s TV Total in Germany. Incredibly, they were invited by Apple to perform their own show at the Roundhouse in London, as part of their iTUNES festival that was streamed globally.
As a result of 2Cellos’ success, English singer Elton John was so impressed, he asked the duo to appear with him on his summer tour, which began in Cardiff on June 8, 2011. Elton personally called Šulić, said that he had watched the ‘Smooth Criminal’ video and wanted 2Cellos to participate in the thirty-city tour. Both Šulić and Hauser live in a small village in the Republic of Croatia. “I feel so blessed that all of this is happening, a recording deal with Sony Masterworks and a tour with Elton John…who would have imagined this,” said Hauser. An October press release in New Zealand read: ‘Capital C Concerts announces a huge addition to the Elton John Concert in Dunedin on November 25. The Elton Band, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Kim Bullard, Bob Birch and John Mahon will be joined by four backing singers plus the rock cellists, 2Cellos, who also add an amazing new dimension to the performance.’ And, according to the latest buzz from the Croatian Times, ‘Sir Elton John’s Rocket Music Entertainment is rumored to be taking over the management of the Croatian 2Cellos duo. The cellists are currently touring as the opening act for Elton John in Japan. The current manager of the pair, Miro Vidovic, said they were committed to his company, Park Avenue Entertainment, until February 2012. But Hauser confirmed that the two were looking into signing with Rocket Music Entertainment.”
Šulić and Hauser are accomplished musicians, both having played the cello since childhood. Šulić, born in Maribor, Slovenia, and Hauser, from Pula, Croatia, met at a master class in Croatia while still in their teens. Šulić has performed all over the world at renowned venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus. He has won a series of international prizes including first and special prize at the VII Lutoslawski International Cello Competition (Warsaw, 2009.) Hauser has also performed around the world in most European countries, South Africa, New Zealand, Asia and the USA. He debuted in London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, South Bank Center and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. In his short career, Hauser has already been awarded first prize in twenty-one national and international competitions, including the prestigious Adam Cello Competition in New Zealand 2009 and VTB Capital Prize for Young Cellists 2009. He has twice performed for Prince Charles at Buckingham and St. James‘ Palaces. Both men have recently completed their studies, Šulić at the Royal Academy of Music in London…Hauser at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Šulić and Hauser say they still play with orchestras and will not abandon playing classical music, saying they would someday like to go on tour with both a classical and a contemporary orchestra. You’ve got to love how YouTube has given musicians the power to raise themselves to stardom in a way that would’ve been impossible 15-20 years ago. This video is a superb introduction to this pair of talented musicians.