Tony Oller

Cy-Fair High School’s own makes his move in the music and movie scene

Written by Alex Byrd | Photography courtesy of James Dimmock/TeenNick

Cypress, TX News – With roots in Cypress, musician and actor Tony Oller has taken his talents to the Pacific and abroad by changing the tempo of movie and music scenes internationally. Even as young as age 9, Oller knew a career in entertainment was his dream.

“I was always intrigued by movies when I was younger. As I watched, I would wonder, ‘Who is the person on the other side of the screen and how are they making me feel through their portrayal of the character?’” Oller says. “I was also always surrounded by music.”

From comedic antics of crib escapism as a toddler – to Oller’s inspirational pursuit of dreams as a 22-year-old, his combination of humor and focus continues to delight his parents Mary Anne and Jeff.

“Tony mostly viewed us as a team of three – as buddies – even to the point of wanting to go with us to every wedding anniversary dinner until he became a teenager,” Mary Anne shares. “For so many reasons, he is the blessing in our lives.”

GIGANTIC

A graduate of Cy-Fair High School, Tony Oller has played characters in both Disney and TeenNick series, as well as several movies

Movies and Music Once
Oller began his music journey the training seemed effortless to him. The All About Music studio in Cypress and the West Oaks Studio cultivated Oller’s initial musical foundation. Collectively, he plays five different instruments – four of which were self-taught.

“Once my parents saw me take an interest in music, they did everything to support whatever path I wanted. I am where I am today because of that.” As if gold stars in the music arena have not been enough clout to include on his resume, Oller’s success in acting is worth noting as well. Oller got his first acting training at Cypress Academy of Gymnastics and Performing Arts, Playhouse 1960, and in school plays with a 30-show gig at the Alley Theatre when he performed as the only child actor in Sherlock Holmes.

The Hollywood Scene
Thus far, Beneath the Darkness has been his favorite piece to be part of because he worked alongside one of his favorite actors, Dennis Quaid. “He’s such a rad dude,” Oller laughs. “It took me a day or two to not see him as Dennis Quaid, but just as another actor that wants to make a good film.”

Oller loves pretending to be different characters while acting, as he allows his current feelings to disappear for a brief period of time, but adds that enjoying great films is part of becoming a skilled actor. “You can spend thousands of dollars on acting classes or you can simply watch great films, from Taxi Driver to The Basketball Diaries,” Oller says. “You can learn a lot from simply watching.” Oller also enjoyed an on-screen role as best friends with real-life friend Malcom David Kelley, on Nickelodeon’s Gigantic in 2010.

The cast of TeenNick’s Gigantic, Gia Mantegna, Ryan Rottman, Grace Gummer, Tony Oller, Malcolm David Kelley, and Jolene Purdy

Going Platinum
Oller later joined forces with Kelley to create the duo MKTO, which cleverly represents the fusion of their initials, musical styles, and Cy-Fair High School personas of being misfit kids and total outcasts.

In Australia, MKTO’s first single, “Thank You” went five times platinum with “Classic” as a close runner-up, reaching four times platinum. Their debut album will come out in 2014. “It’s just an amazing feeling to see music going all the way over there,” Oller says.

In terms of features on the album, the two have united with the R&B sensation, Ne-Yo, on a track called “Could Be Me.” “It’s an upbeat dance song I think people will dig,” Oller says. “The album is very diverse. Expect a little bit of everything.”

Right now, Oller is concentrating on MKTO, but is always ready to make more blockbusters if given the opportunity. The pair signed with Columbia Records in January 2013. “Creating music is quicker experience. You lock yourself in a studio until you finish what you’re working on and get to hear an almost complete version – as opposed to a film where you might wait up to a year to see your work,” Oller says. “Each outlet has its own advantages.”

Bobcat Fight
Oller remembers a specific teacher from CFHS who demonstrates the mantra of how “bobcat fight never dies.” “The teachers were amazing. One that I still hold close to my heart is Ms. Alverson,” he says. “She truly is an amazing teacher.”

While in high school, Oller says not everyone took their music seriously, but he’s thankful for the place where he grew up. “I love Cy-Fair. It crafted all of us into who we are today.”

According to Oller, he still considers Cypress home. “It’s really hard for my family to visit me often in Los Angeles, but I pray for the day when I can fly them out for everything I do.”

Film will continue to be a niche of creativity and fulfillment for Oller. “I’m just a guy that’s doing the only thing I know and love. I have never felt comfortable doing anything else,” he says. “Life is too short to not follow your heart.” CFM

ALEX BYRD is a 23-year-old Cypress native and University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism graduate.