2Cellos (stylized 2CELLOS) is a Croatian cello duo, consisting of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. Signed to Sony Masterworks since 2011, they released three albums and play mainly instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs. The duo perform internationally and have been featured on several US TV shows including Glee and The Bachelor (Season 18/Sean and Catherine's Wedding) 1
Šulić, born in Maribor, SR Slovenia (now Slovenia) and Hauser, born in Pula, SR Croatia (now Croatia), both classically trained musicians, met at a master class in Croatia while still in their teens. Šulić--the younger of the two by a year-- attended the Academy of Music in Zagreb, and then studied in Vienna. Šulić later entered London's Royal Academy of Music. Hauser attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, after completing his studies at Trinity College in London.
The duo rose to fame after their cover of "Smooth Criminal" became a hit on YouTube, receiving over three million views in the first two weeks and over ten million views as of April 2011. The creation of the music video was prompted by the cellists' financial difficulties, despite their musical success in the UK. The duo met in Pula, where one of Hauser's friends, a director, proposed that they try the pop music market by creating a video to "Smooth Criminal." The video, originally posted on 20 January 2011, features Šulić and Hauser facing off alone in a large white room, playing Jackson's tune. In fact, before they became partners, the two cellists were sometimes considered rivals, competing against each other in music contests.
2Cellos is currently signed to record label Sony Masterworks, and finished recording their first album in May 2011, which carried the Menart Records name in Croatia. Released on 19 July 2011, their debut eponymous album, includes covers of songs by U2, Guns N' Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Sting, Coldplay, Nirvana, Muse, and Kings of Leon. Hauser told la Repubblica that the album would also feature a cello version of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature." The duo said that they chose songs that could be adapted into covers playable on only two cellos. In anticipation of the release, 2Cellos released their second single "Welcome to the Jungle," a cover of the Guns N' Roses song of the same name. During many of the numbers performed, they are accompanied by the drummer, Dušan Kranjc, who is an occasional member of the group.
Elton John asked the duo to appear with him on his 2011 summer tour, which began in Cardiff, Wales on 8 June. John, who personally called Šulić, said that he had watched the "Smooth Criminal" video and wanted 2Cellos to participate in the thirty-city tour. The two had previously performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show of 25 April 2011. 2Cellos also performed at the 2011 iTunes Festival in London.
The duo performed an arrangement of "Smooth Criminal" in the third season of the television show Glee. The episode in which they appeared, titled "Michael", aired on 31 January 2012, and was the first time that the series highlighted instrumental musicians. The scene featuring "Smooth Criminal" was set up similar to 2Cellos' original music video for the song. On 4 June 2012 2Cellos performed with Elton John at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace. On 12 June 2012 2Cellos performed in front of full Arena Zagreb.
Although the two record covers of mainly rock songs, Šulić and Hauser say they still play with orchestras and will not abandon playing classical music. The cellists say they would someday like to go on tour with both a classical and a contemporary orchestra. Their second studio album, entitled In2ition, came out early 2013, and featured new twists on a diverse range of classic tracks with a few surprise vocal and instrumental duet partners including Elton John, Lang Lang, Naya Rivera, Steve Vai, Sky Ferreira and Zucchero. The album was produced by Bob Ezrin.
Other tracks include covers of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" featuring Vai, Coldplay's "Clocks" featuring Lang Lang, Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" featuring Rivera, an Italian version of "The Book of Love" by The Magnetic Fields entitled "Il Libro Dell'Amore" featuring Zucchero, Karl Jenkins' "Benedictus", and "Oh Well" featuring Sir Elton.
In July 2013, the duo filmed a commercial for the Japanese mobile phone company, Docomo. Their second album, In2ition, debuted at number 1 on the Japanese Albums Chart, in August 2013. As a part of their world tour with Elton John, that included concerts in North America, Europe and Asia, 2Cellos performed at Madison Square Garden two days in a row, in December 2013. In March 2014, they had a solo Japanese tour.
In February 2014, the pair published their rendition of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" to YouTube. The video depicts the duo playing before a Baroque audience, which soon finds out that the song is anything but classical. The music starts with a Baroque type melody after Vivaldi, but soon the pace increases to the level of presto, with semi-quavers played at a great speed. Sometime cooperating, sometime competing, the motive "Thunder" is played via chords on a cello, whereas at the same time the other cello produces the sound of a rock band. A middle-east melody is juxtaposed, and (prerecorded) segments are fused in. The music ends with the cellos imitating the sound of electronic organ and guitar. It is typical of the "BaRock" style (Baroque + Hard Rock). The video went viral in the beginning of March, gathering 10 million views in the first two weeks.
As Šulić told to The Sydney Morning Herald, "we love AC/DC as much as Bach." Hauser added, "both AC/DC and Bach are simple and convincing in what they do." In January 2015, they released their third studio album, Celloverse, which they also co-produced.