Kevin and Donovan joined Trevor Talks for a power-packed discussion about holistic, ethical ways to be an entrepreneur, owning your unique calling in this world and operating with an excellence that points to Christ. Along the way, both men share their stories. Donovan explains how he went from exotic dancer to Bible study leader in just a year’s time. Kevin lays out his path from medical school student to acapella household name. These are stories you won’t want to miss!
Imagine Faith Talk is a podcast born from a unique synergy of stories. Donovan Dee Donnell is a life coach, author, entrepreneur and former exotic dancer. Kevin Olusola is a beatboxer and cellist known for his role in legendary acapella group Pentatonix. Together, they’re holding conversations that show that you don’t have to sell yourself to fulfill your dream.
Kevin and Donovan joined Trevor Talks for a power-packed discussion about holistic, ethical ways to be an entrepreneur, owning your unique calling in this world and operating with an excellence that points to Christ. Along the way, both men share their stories. Donovan explains how he went from exotic dancer to Bible study leader in just a year’s time. Kevin lays out his path from medical school student to acapella household name. These are stories you won’t want to miss!
Find the Imagine Faith podcast, which is part of Annie Downs’ That Sounds Fun podcast network, at www.imaginefaithtalk.com.
Facebook: Donovan Dee Donnell
YouTube: Donovan Dee Donnell
Facebook: Kevin “K.O.” Olusola
YouTube: Kevin Olusola
For more Trevor Talks:
Kevin Olusola 0:00
Just, I mean, you think about like Jesus with the woman who was committing adultery, right? They were about to cancel her. And then he writes on the ground. We don't know what he wrote. But he said, He who has not committed sin cast the first stone, nobody could do it. And obviously, like you said, we don't condone sin. God said, Hey, I love you, ghosts and no more. I want you to be in my right will, but he is not about canceled culture.
Trevor Tyson 0:27
What's up everyone and welcome to another episode of Trevor talks. You know, the show where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today's episode is nothing short of unique as we have a super unique combo with us. Today we have not only one but two guests who make up the brand new podcast imagine faith talk on the That sounds fun podcast network with Annie F downs. We have Kevin aloo Shula, whom is the former pre med student and currently the beatboxer of the three time Grammy Award winning multi platinum selling acapella supergroup Pentatonix as well as former male exotic dancer, turn author, life coach and entrepreneur, Donovan Danelle, that is a mouthful, and I'm excited about this. I'm excited for you guys to hear these guys story. And it's gonna be so good, y'all. Kevin and Donovan. Guys, we're here. It's actually happening. We are here. We made it look like after that intro, um, so myself, like y'all have y'all got unique stories, and they're so different. Like, this is gonna be phenomenal. And just for me, like, hopefully everybody else, but I'm excited about this. So thanks for being here, guys.
Donovan Dee Donnell 1:48
Yeah, I mean, it's crazy, right? Just think about dar stories alone. And how did they get together?
Trevor Tyson 1:53
Yeah, it's like, what a freakin pair like, yeah. Former pre med student, former male exotic dancer. Now you're an author, a life coach, a speaker podcaster? How you gonna go from pre med school to beatboxing? Like that had to be a passion on its own? Like, I mean, it's wild, like, come on. So like, I just want to start off before we get on some rabbit trails. And I'm known for that. Just throw that out there.
Kevin Olusola 2:22
We love the rabbit trails. Go
Trevor Tyson 2:23
ahead. Your rabbit trails are the fun part. Right? Exactly. I want to start off with talking about the core message that you guys have kind of united together to turn in your podcast, and really just talk about imagine faith talk. So starting with you, Donovan. What does this message mean to you?
Donovan Dee Donnell 2:40
This message that we're presenting to people today or throughout this podcast is that you don't have to sell your soul to obtain your dream. And I think that's what the misnomer is that there's multiple ways to sell your soul that you are not aware that you're doing it. And we want people to have true fulfillment. But we know that that comes from the Creator. But we also want them to know that on that path, they're going to be so many different opportunities for you to sell your soul and compromise in very immoral ways. And we're here to tell people, you don't have to do that there's a way to have holistic success to be successful and whole to actually have real profit. And so that's the message we want to present to people that there's, there's a better way to do entrepreneurship. There's a holistic and ethical way to be an entrepreneur, would it be a high performer, and we're going to share our stories with you, and hopefully you can glean from them and find a way to have less losses. And really how to capitalize on every moment that comes your way as you're, you know, seeking to be a high performer.
Trevor Tyson 3:37
100% Kevin? Yeah, I
Kevin Olusola 3:40
have to second that. I mean, I think one of the things that we really want is that we want people's faith to be stirred. But we also want them to optimize their performance. Right? It says in the Bible, that faith without works is dead. So you need faith in God, but you need to be able to have optimized work. So what does that mean when you have faith in God? But you know, time management skills, what does it mean when you have faith in God, but you understand productivity? What does it mean when you have faith in God, but you understand the clarity, like the clarity that you need to be able to do what God has called you to do and how to go about it. That is spending time with the Creator having that and then being able to go about your work in like fashion. So I think that's why one of the things we always say we want to we want to help high performers with higher values, right? Those that want to use the the values of Christ optimize everything that they are high value, sorry, high performers with higher values are operating in their highest nature. That's that's that's the core tenet of our podcast.
Trevor Tyson 4:39
Dude, that's phenomenal. And it's a tongue twister all in one line.
Kevin Olusola 4:43
I had a hard time saying even when we were doing it, I was like, Damn, how do we say this every single time we have a podcast? Golly. Yeah,
Trevor Tyson 4:49
it's like you know what, maybe go back to the drawing board but now like it works. There's so good but it is a tongue twister. And I love in the bio that you guys have for the show. Through the Bible, you discover how to maximize uniqueness, weaponize the imagination, and leverage faith and God for success. So with that being said, I'm curious to kind of start off with hearing how this joint venture started for you both. So let's start with you, Kevin, from your perspective, what is the story with how you two came together? To put out this amazing message? Yeah,
Kevin Olusola 5:25
well, you know, when I came up in the industry with my band Pentatonix, one of the things that I realized is that as I was moving through the industry, I didn't have a lot of people to speak to about how to stay faithful to God, and continue doing my work as a musician, right. I don't think God called me to be in the pastoral world, God had called me to be in the world so that we can infiltrate and spread the kingdom, right? How do we subvert it for Kingdom culture? And so as I was moving on, I realized that there are other as we say, Daniel's in the world, right? Daniel went into Babylon, he understood the rites and rituals of Babylon. But he stayed faithful to God. And I wanted them to all get to know each other and to meet so we started a Bible study. And Donovan was one of those guys that I met at the Bible study. And like, we had a, a Hangout session at a vegan restaurant in LA. And from that, we were like, oh, yeah, we're gonna be friends. But then the pandemic happened. And so we actually took that Bible study we were doing in person and put it on Zoom. And that's actually when our producer corps, who I met in Beijing, 10 years ago, was seeking God. And he knew that I was a Christian. So I said, Come to this Bible study. And as he came to the Zoom Bible study, he said, this is actually a podcast, y'all. And both thought of it and are like, I don't know if we should do a podcast. We're already so busy with our schedules. But he said, pray on it for one week. So we did that. And at the end of that we both Donovan and I heard a resounding yes. Like, it was so unbelievably clear. And it came to that same conclusion, right? Him being from where he's from where I'm from, we both have the same conclusion that you don't have to sell your soul to attain your dreams, right? We can be Christians, we can be God fearing people, and do what he's called us to do, if that's the territory He's called us for. But once again, how do we optimize our faith and optimize our work to obtain it? Because at the end of the day, when people now see how great we are at our work, right, you look at Daniel, he said that he was chosen to be the leader out of 120 liters, because there was an excellent spirit with him. So we know that we at least we believe that comes from God. So if you're able to do that, there are there's more coming to you and then you're able to give give people the truest thing that they're actually searching for, which is Jesus Christ. Wow. Sheesh, I'm sorry. That was a lot. But no, that's
Trevor Tyson 7:44
Donovan Dee Donnell 7:47
You got it. You got it when it just was a bubble over?
Trevor Tyson 7:50
That wraps me up. That ramps me up to here Donovan's answer. I'm curious now, what
Donovan Dee Donnell 7:56
doesn't all this just sound like the origin story from a Marvel movie? It does indoors. Then we ended up in Inglewood. Then we took a stop by the strip club. And they said before we go there, we got to stop by this prestigious university to pick up some things. It's like, only got you know, it's just like Jesus at the will with the with the woman, the Samaritan woman is like, God has a unique way of bringing people together for purpose. But I'll say it like this man. what Kevin said is honestly true. For me, we met because there was a safe space. That's what core that's what Kevin had created in his Bible study. I didn't have to come in here and say anything. My testimony is mine, I protected oftentimes, I'm not sure how I'm going to be judged behind it. But because there was a safe space, because he had submitted himself in his heart to understanding that care is a premier thing when you're dealing with people. It created that environment for me to want to share with you what I shared what he was attracted to, and we got together, but all the other stuff and we sit down at the Bistro and ate and whatnot, that wouldn't happen if there wasn't a safe place for us to actually connect, and have our vulnerability be respected and honored mutually. And so for me, you know, coming to that boss, I was invited by a friend that I trusted. Listen to that. I was invited by a friend that I trusted to a place that was safe. Like those are the things that allowed everything else to happen. So if anyone's listen and understand like, how important it is to have people in your life that you trust, and to create environments that are safe. I believe that's where God's best work is done. He can get the things into your life. He wants to get into your life, because you actually care about people, you're trustworthy, you create safe spaces. And man you'll be surprised who's actually sitting right next to you, when that kind of environment is created may open up.
Trevor Tyson 9:44
And that's such an important thing to touch on. Like if you don't have a safe place to go and just be vulnerable to talk with people whether it's therapy, counseling, Bible studies, talking with your parents, like business partners, whatever it may be. You got to have Those people that you can trust with everything. And especially for your story, Donovan, like we were talking before we started recording, like, it's a very shock value beginning to a story. Like when you hear male exotic dancer, you're like, oh, this man was a stripper. And it's like, okay, yeah, he was. But God has such more in store for him. And that's unique to you. That's your story, just like you said. And for you open it up and being vulnerable about that. Imagine how many people that are in that industry right now and can't really find an escape out of it. And they hear your story, and they're empowered to like, Okay, if God wants to do something in my life, so be it. Like, I'm gonna take that step. And maybe they hear that you guys prayed about the podcast for a week and heard that Yes. And they're like, You know what, I'm gonna give God a try for a week. And that can be the turning point of their life.
Donovan Dee Donnell 10:48
Yeah, I mean, it's back to that saying, like, people don't care how much you know, today know how much you care. But then you have to be able to relate to people and I feel sometimes like I've been in environments where people have forgotten where to where they came from, you know, and I feel like I come from environments where people grade drug addicts, sex addicts, strippers, you know, prostitutes, they great those sins very differently. Yeah, those are the ones that we might accept. You sit in the back, we might accept you just watch online, don't don't come, you know, to the service. And so, these are my people. I love my people. I love them. The call girls are prostitutes, the strippers, the porn stars, like those were my friends prior to, and some of them have come out and had an awakening and found a different path in life. Never have I tried to pull one out. Never have I tried to pull one out. I just love on people. And I let love do its work.
Trevor Tyson 11:37
So important. If for everybody listening, go ahead and take note of that, because we can end it right here. But we're gonna wrap it up here like she should like, I will be honest, I listen to the first episode, and I'm a fan already. But you definitely have something special brewing in this podcast. And after hearing it. I want to hear your life stories like individually and how it came together as a collective. We've already touched on how the podcasts came together, but you to have such diverse stories that are different from each other. But you collab so well together. And I'm like, there is so much freedom found in your individual stories. All of us, everyone listening, we have unique individual stories God's given us these different paths to go on. But they're all as uniquely important as the next person's nobody story is more important. Like, okay, Kevin, you're in Pentatonix, you got this thing going on. That's phenomenal. That's amazing. Donovan, like you've got your thing going on. I've got my thing going on my mom who I guarantee you so listen to this episode. She's got her thing going on. And I love her for that. So like, I want to hear your unique stories of going through the trials going through the situations how you went from pre med school to joining Pentatonix. Like, it's just such crazy stuff. So let's start with you, Donovan. Would you mind sharing your story and how you came to be the man you are today?
Kevin Olusola 13:06
Before you say anything I got? Can I respond to what he just said just for one second, because what you said is so important to touch on that what God has put inside of you, there is a frequency that you are going to emit. And that frequency will touch a certain sphere of influence because of how God made you. And that's one of the things we say maximize our uniqueness, hone in on those idiosyncrasies, those quirks, those things that are so weird, or people think as other than that might be exactly what God has called you to use to reach people that he's called for you specifically to reach. I can't reach the people that Donovan can reach. Donovan can't reach the people that I can reach. But that's what when we come together and use our unique frequencies together. How much more ground can we cover together now because of what we bring as a unit. So I just wanted to say 100% everybody who's listening, remember how unique you actually are, you are the fingerprint and the framework of God. Use that as your superpower. I just sorry. That's all done.
Trevor Tyson 14:16
I'm gonna get up and run around this house in a few seconds.
Donovan Dee Donnell 14:20
Listen, when Kev gets going, you just sit back and say come on guy. What you got for me. Just go ahead. This
Trevor Tyson 14:26
is Kevin and Donovan talks. I'm out.
Donovan Dee Donnell 14:33
He turned emphases during this podcast to Trevor listens.
Trevor Tyson 14:38
I think there actually is a Trevor listens out there. So I'm not coming after your name, but Donovan. I am gonna listen to your story. So
Donovan Dee Donnell 14:48
I'll give you an overview man because my story I tell people all the time. I feel like I live 10 different lifetimes and so I'll just give some of the highlights of it. And for anybody who's listening who wants to hear more about my story, I share a lot on my YouTube Channel is dawn at dawn. As you can hear, I did like a video vlog of how to how I dealt with having an absent father. I did a video vlog of being molested as a child and how that led up to become an exotic dancer did a video interview about different things that happened in the club, you know, having to carry a gun and all the money and in I didn't want about the abortions that I've gone through. Yeah, I've done a lot of videos and shared publicly, the content of my life, in hopes that someone would find that the video and be able to relate and find a partner. Even if they've never like a pin pile up, they never get a chance to meet me but just know somebody else out there can relate to this. And I'm not alone. And that's, that's big for me because I spent about two and a half years as a counselor at a suicide prevention and self hurt group. And the stories that I heard ages like 14 to like 6373 years old, just need to know somebody else out there can relate. And so that's why I put all my personal information out there for people to tap in and whatever they want to do if they want to judge or if they want to relate and whatever is fine. But for me, man, I grew up in Los Angeles, California, as you just heard without my father, it was me, my mom and my sister. Incredible childhood. You know, a lot of the things that traumatized me the child didn't even know until I got an adult that that was not okay. That it was just the way of life and I still look at my childhood. I'm so grateful for how my mom raised me. I grew up my grandfather was a pastor. So I was dragged to church often fell asleep. On the front row, often many nights was in the choir. Exactly right. I got kicked out of the choir often for playing too much. Yeah, I got kicked out of the choir again, for having piercings in my face and blonde hair I lived. And I told my grandpa, he was like, Listen, I got your DNA here. Okay, this is you. And this is another side of you. Like you get mad at yourself. But yeah, I mean, even growing up in a church and everything. As a child, you know, hadn't been touched by I say a man and a woman but they were more like, adolescents teenagers, but still, like gotten getting introduced to that. That idea that environment, sensual, sexual, intimate environment, a young age, man, just so many things just led up to me just wanting to express myself physically through dance and, and, you know, physical expression. And so what happened was after I left high school, I went away to Morehouse College in Atlanta, and was, you know, pursuing computer data because I love technology and stuff like that. And I came back after the first semester, and one of my friends was dating a stripper. And she was like, used to you got voted Best Body and 12 grade used to dance at the pep rallies, like, I dare you to do this. And at that age 19 Pride was my best friend.
Trevor Tyson 18:02
Your school had a Best Body Competition.
Donovan Dee Donnell 18:04
I'm gonna say I didn't know that. Yeah, best body. Hey, bro.
Trevor Tyson 18:08
What up LA. All right. We didn't. We didn't do that in Georgia.
Kevin Olusola 18:15
We didn't do that in Kentucky. That's for sure. Yeah.
Donovan Dee Donnell 18:18
How's everybody know your
Trevor Tyson 18:22
best truck? Best tractor like, oh, no, not no best.
Donovan Dee Donnell 18:27
Oh, wow. Legit, man. Best Body. I thought that was I didn't Wow, this. This is new to me. Okay,
Trevor Tyson 18:34
welcome to La bro. Yeah. Yeah,
Donovan Dee Donnell 18:38
clearly, then they're in maybe lies the problem. So that that right there poked in my ego. And I went in, just to go check it out. And the person I was doing the emcee. And that night, said that there was somebody special in the house. And I was waiting to see what he was talking about. And he was talking about me, and a nun knowing to me, they called me up to perform. And I was like, I'm just here to check it out. But again, I was just like, You know what I'm I rise to every occasion. And kind of how I said in the book that I wrote that it hasn't been released yet is that when I stepped foot on that stage, I made a commitment. I didn't know what I was committing myself to. And literally, I was doing I did it for five years. After the first year and a half, two years, I was trying to quit. It took me three to get out. Like I didn't know what kind of commitment I made with my decision, which is why now I pause. Before I'm making the decision. I tried to consider the cost like the Bible says like, can I afford you know what this is going to cost me but um, yeah, I spent about five years dancing still with the church, put a lot of dollar bills in the Offerman basket that was before you know, you can pay online and all that kind of stuff. They never gave any money back. So I mean, I guess they liked it. The same way. A few people from the church actually showed up to the club. My mom never knew my grandfather never knew until I quit. So I don't, I'm not good at lying. So I guess either I was denial or that you know, just God just sheltered it. On April 24 2004, I went got a hotel room and had what I call it Donnie day. And I wasn't satisfied. I made a lot of money. I had a lot of what we call good fame. All the women I could ask for, I mean, even celebrities were in there that would take us places fly us out, treat us and all that kind of stuff. And I wasn't satisfied. And I remember I was in my hotel room and looking out the patio. And I said, on the edge of the bed, and I said, God, my wife and kids won't respect me. If I do this. At this time, I had no wife and kids. But since I was a kid, I wanted wife and I wanted a wife and 10 children. I was like, they won't respect me. Why was that the heaviest thing on my heart guy gave me a burden for marriages and for parenting. And one word, I heard what an audibly, I felt in my spirit to where it was quit. So this is April 24. My birthday is April 10. I just came off of a big party, all this money. I quit cold turkey and everyone back. And then that's when that's that's when the wilderness begin. I went through this season where God showed me you'll never know what's within and so you have to live without you want to be respected. You want to be my son. Let me strip you of this world. Let me strip you of what the culture has put on you. Let me drape you in my essence. And that's what he did. took everything from me I was really stripped after the strip club. My cars. I was sleeping in the in this Oh, it was a it was a storage room. downstairs in the basement of this church. My grandfather's church, sleeping on an air mattress that would not hold air overnight. There was no bathroom. I would walk to the gym that I still had a membership with to shower and everything like that it couldn't afford the food that I wanted to eat anymore. Until my favorite story. I tell Kevin all the time. I used to eat a hot dog buns with ketchup and mustard. It was like manna from heaven. Man. I could taste it right now. It's incredible how God will sustain you. There was no hot dog in it. It was just the bun, the ketchup and mustard. But I can still taste it to this day. It was so good to try one. I see your face.
Trevor Tyson 22:12
I'm good. I'm gonna leave that to you. Oh, wow.
Donovan Dee Donnell 22:18
Yeah, yeah, he took me through all that. And then, um, yeah, my story just continues to unfold, I finally got a job as a janitor at a gym. They pay for half of my, um, my certification, become a personal trainer. Use that body again, in the knowledge that I had to try to make some money ended up moving to Texas with my brother, you know, actually, I'm sorry. Before I moved to Texas, I ended up teaching Bible study. A year after I quit the club. I was teaching Bible study. And the opportunity came because my grandmother died, who was my grandfather's wife, he was a pastor, she died. And so he had to like take a sabbatical. He was looking for people to take over, you know, the Wednesday night Bible study, and he had a few men do it. And then it fell on me as an opportunity. And it just stayed on me. And I did that for three to four years. And I tell them every time I got up there, I'm not teaching because I know more than you I'm teaching because I need more help than you. And be teaching Bible study required me to be in His Word, three, four days a week, if I wanted to actually do something efficient. And that's how my relationship with him got a lot stronger. And, you know, for the sake of time, I'll stop there because he took me on this journey. And, you know, becoming a life coach and to book author. Third book is on the way actually about the strip club, still haven't gotten married and don't have any kids yet. But what I have found is a deep, deep satisfaction. A few years ago, I traded my life. And I say that, in essence, I'll say it this way. God had foresight. And when He created me, that means he had created a life for me. But the whole time I've been on this planet. I've been asking for what I wanted. And I stopped one day stop asking for what I want. And I said I want what you have reserved for me. I know you love me, and I know that you had a life plan for me. That's what I want. Take everything I asked for off the table. I want what you had reserved for me. Because you know me best you know what I need best and ever since then, and I'll tell you my life has taken a significant shift. My inner world has taken a significant shift and I've been walking in this. This this this joy and this contentment, this peace, this power that I don't even know how to ask for. So yeah, I'll stop there. Cheers.
Trevor Tyson 24:28
That's power packed. Like I don't even think you understand like, just the short amount of time that it took for you to just cold turkey quit and jump straight into like, alright, ministry is the thing like our lives our ministries, right yeah. The fact that not even what a year after you were leading Bible Studies, but you never lost your faith while you were dancing and stuff, right?
Donovan Dee Donnell 24:54
No, I still I still went to church. Yeah, like,
Trevor Tyson 24:58
and that's what I hate about canceled culture. Because of nowadays, like, if somebody were to hear that, bro, they're gonna go off, they're gonna abandon you from the church. And it's like, not condoning the dancing or anything, but like, we all have things that we do, whether it's on a stage or at home that we're ashamed of, or we have done them in our life and we grow from them. Hot take is when it comes to cancel culture, like people are gonna mess up. So are we all gonna get canceled eventually?
Donovan Dee Donnell 25:27
That's the question. I asked him like, okay, where would you have me go?
Trevor Tyson 25:34
It's fascinating. It's just the truth.
Kevin Olusola 25:36
I mean, you think about like, Jesus with the woman who was committing adultery, right? They were about to cancel her. And then he writes on the ground. We don't know what he wrote. But he said, He who has not committed sin cast the first stone, nobody could do it. And obviously, like you said, we don't condone sin. God said, Hey, I love you. Go sin no more. I want you to be in my right will. But he is not about canceled culture. He's literally for that person. And oh, my God, that I feel like this is what we talked about so much on the on the on the podcast, like those that are feeling like you're counting out. What if God has a greater story for you than you could have never even imagined for yourself? It's real. It's possible. Trust the living God, who actually put everything inside of you to live out the fullest that you can optimize yourself in him. He's got the rest.
Trevor Tyson 26:34
Yeah. Donovan that is wild. It's, I don't get speechless very often. I'll be honest with you. I, I'm, that is amazing. And that's near and dear. And you should be proud of the man that God's created you to be dude, that is phenomenal. I appreciate. And, dude, Well, Kevin, you're up.
Kevin Olusola 27:01
I'm good after this interview, right? Yeah,
Trevor Tyson 27:05
we're good, dude. Like, there's so many mic drop moments. And this is like, we should have took a break or something. But now
Kevin Olusola 27:15
I'll try to condense mine. You know, my my dad's from Nigeria. My mom's from Grenada. So they came as immigrants to the United States and had me here. And so for immigrants, when you come to the United States, you're coming because you are, there's an American Dream that you're looking for. And so for me, when my parents, when you think about Afro Caribbean culture, it's being a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer. And I really love what my parents were doing. They were both in the medical field. And I was so appreciative of watching what they got to do and how many people they got to help. So I wanted to be a healer in that way. But also, my parents told me if you're going to do that, in the United States, you have to be the absolute best, especially when we look like the way we do. So that's why I went to boarding school at Phillips Academy and Andover mass. I from there went to Yale for undergrad where I was studying Chinese as my major, but I was also a pre med student at the same time. So I thought this whole time God was gearing me up to be a doctor. And God was being very clear with me while I was at college that he said, No, no, that's everything that I prepared you for on this path, those skills, those talents that you have that I have put in you, yes, you're working on them. I'm actually going to take all of that and use it for a different purpose. Yes, you followed your passions and all those passions led you to the skills that you need to now but now, I'm going to show you the real purpose for all of those skills. Once again, time management, all those high performance skills that you've been garnering. Right? Two things happened to me in college that changed my life. One I got to do a competition with Yo Yo Ma, where it's called to celebrate and collaborate with Yo Yo Ma competition where if you win, you get to do a collaborative piece with him. And I didn't win, but I did get second place. And he said that my music was inventive and unexpected. So that was the first thing that I was like, Okay, God, are you are you changing directions on me. And the second one was opening for K RS one and concert while I was playing cello and beatboxing I do this thing called cello boxing where I play cello and beatbox. At the same time, I kind of created this thing and kept working on it. So I had a friend of mine who was a rapper, we worked together for that performance. And K RS one came to me and said, Look, if you continue doing this, I think you're going to change the way people look at hip hop and classical music. And so that's what I knew, Okay, God, there are two people at the highest echelon of what they do on opposite sides of the musical spectrum telling me something very, very similar. And that's when I felt that tug on my heart and God as as as Donovan said, Do I need to stop this medical thing? Cold Turkey? Like, how do I do that? You know, my background. You know what it's like when your parents have done everything to give you the education that you have right now. This is the top school this is hundreds of 1000s to millions of dollars that they have spent on me to be able to do that. So I spoke to a mentor of mine who was Nigeria MD PhD and he said, Look, if you want to do this, you should do it now. You're 20 years old, you're young, there's nothing stopping you. If you don't make it, or whatever you deem success doesn't happen, you can always come back into medicine. So I got down on my knees. This is my junior year of college. Nobody was around because it was spring break. And I told God, my dad hates when I say this, but this is exactly what I said. I said, God, I think you're absolutely crazy. But I cannot deny that I'm supposed to do this in some way, shape or fashion. You are going to have to be the one to lead me. Because I have no idea how to pursue this. Medicine makes complete sense. I understand the path, going to medical school going to residency music Father God is an open ended question. But I trust you. And I will never forget from that moment on. It was like a can of worms opened, where I knew I couldn't go back on my word. And the rest from there truly is a god sorry, I will tell you one quick story where I knew this was God. The way I met Pentatonix my senior year of college, I have a video that goes viral. This is April of 2011 of me playing cello on beat boxing. This video goes viral. My bandmates Scott, he was looking for a beat boxer to complete the band for the TV show The sing off. And he said he had already gone through five different beat boxers. But this video had happened to come viral at that time. And he said we need you. I was like, I don't really want to do this. He showed me a video of the band actually performing just the trio. And I was saying okay, maybe I try this. That's the first thing. The second thing was gonggar. If you know this Christian worship band, they were touring with this with David Crowder, that, that that year for the David Crowder is very last tour as a band. And so I joined Ganga for this right and they and I asked them, when is the actual performance for this thing. They say it's going to be end of September to mid November of 2011. So remember those dates, I say, Okay, God,
Kevin Olusola 32:10
I graduate, I meet them weekly, we we hit it off, it's going to be all good. Great. I feel good about Ganga. The week after that. I meet my bandmates. The day before the audition of the TV show The sing off, we find out we make it. Okay, when is the TV show air. They said the TV show will air you'll be on if you get to the finale for mid July to mid September. And then you're gonna go on a break. And then you'll come back and have November if you're one of the final three. And I remember hearing that and I said, God, I think we're going to win. Because I can't make that timing happen. There is nothing I can't do that. This must be your divine. And the rest happened just like it did. We were on the sing off from mid mid July to mid September, the show airs I go on tour with Ganga from end of September to mid November. I'm on a plane the next week to win the sing off with my band and the rest from there is history. You can't tell me that there is coincidence or randomness in the story. I know that God is the one that put me here to do what I'm called to do. So that we can be a blessing to other people not just as a band, but also in this work, being able to meet Donovan and show people that you can be Daniel in Los Angeles, you can be Daniel, in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can't be Daniel, in New York, you can't be Daniel in the strip club. You can't be Daniel, wherever, wherever you are. If you trust God, he can use your testimony to serve His purpose. It is possible, but you got to listen to him. And you got to optimize everything that you can optimize. So that you can do that work so efficiently. So well. And show yourself to be excellent.
Trevor Tyson 34:07
I love that y'all keep using the word optimize, because like for a marketer, I hear like optimizing my search engine optimization people aren't what is that? Kind of the breakdown of it is using keywords to where when people search for something and Google your show or whatever you've optimized comes up. It's kind of the same thing God does with us like okay, you've struggled with anxiety, you've struggled with depression, somebody's gonna relate with that. That's optimization. For high performers, people that have podcasts, or maybe you're CEO of company, maybe you're the lead at your shift to job at McDonald's, whatever. Like we all have these unique gifts are all optimized for one specific purpose and that's what God has for us. And it's wild to hear the story. pre med the Pentatonix doesn't make sense at first, but when you hear it in depth It all like it doesn't make sense. But it does make sense because it's God. One thing that was brought up in a interview a few days ago, New York Times best seller, Mandy Hale is like, how do you differentiate? What if to what is like, Okay, what if this happens, and you're anxious about it? But what is happening right now? That's what you should focus on what's happening right now, what if? What if, okay, and what you guys are doing is you're spreading encouragement, you're spreading love, you're spreading the joy that you've found in Christ and helping other people differ from the things that they were going through. With this message being so jam packed, and obviously, your episodes are within 30 to 40 minutes each. How did you decide like, Okay, this is going to be a collaboration, we know that God wants to use us collectively with your unique stories. How do you niche it down into imagine faith talk?
Kevin Olusola 35:54
Donna, you want to talk on it?
Donovan Dee Donnell 35:56
Well, one thing I want to say before we even dive too deep into that is going back to what you said, when you talked about our stories. That's how we came up with our formula for success, biblical success, which is self development, plus personal alignment times faith. If we if we tell our stories, apps and faith, we don't have the same outcome. And if you look at our stories, you'll see both of us having a strong desire to personally align ourselves with something greater than ourselves. And you see us both putting in the work to develop ourselves. But then we put our faith, which is one of the most important things we have in God. And that is how we found this holistic success thing so far. That's what we know. And that's why we share the way we share about our stories and about our unique, our unique stories and our unique personalities and how we don't seek to fit in with the with the mold of everything that's going on around us that will be watering down the powerful thing that God put inside of us so uniquely, so yeah, yeah, I just wanna I just wanted to add that piece. And so
Kevin Olusola 36:54
that's good. Because I agree, I think that's a great segment to how we even came to figuring out how these episodes work. I mean, because we focus so much on what is this formula for success? And how do we utilize it and have it play out in our world? We think about that every single day. How am I supposed to be my best not just for my band, but for my family? Right? God doesn't care just about being productive in one area of your life. God wants you to be holistically successful. What does that mean? When you're successful in your in your parenting? What does it mean when you're successful? In loving yourself? Because God loves you enough to say, he calls Gideon a warrior? Oh, no, God, I'm not. That's not what I said. I didn't say oh, no, I said, you were a warrior. I said that you could speak with tongues of angels. That's what I said. So how do you make sure that as a man thinketh So is he How do you make sure that your mind is continuously aligned? And those are the things that we're continuously talking to on the podcast? Like, we want you to figure out how to manage your time so well, so that when you have the thing that you're supposed to do, right? You're dogmatic about the plan, and you go after it, because you know, this is what God's called you to do. And you know, you're doing it efficiently and effectively, so that people can't look at you and say, oh, okay, well look at Christians, they can't do things. Well, they know, this is why we talked so much about the Sabbath. For us, we actually believe this is one of the greatest optimizers that you can utilize. Six days you work. But when you work, you're working with clarity, and efficiently knowing what these six days are about so that when you take that day off, that day is off, and you get to be refreshed. You have to understand what you're going to be doing in the 60s so well. But that when you're with family, you're with family when you're with God, and you're with God. And it's awesome, too. Because the what the world will tell you to do, right? We talk a lot about what is the world say, oh, over what God says. The world tells you grind, grind, grind, go after every single day. 24 724 a 2435, or whatever you want to call it. God says, let me do more, and you do less, because that's the partnership I have called you for. So that whenever you get because of the way He created us and how this relationship supposed to go, when you get to that success, you can't say it was all you you cannot say that you can say as God created it to be glory to the one who actually created me to do this is because of this partnership that I have all this success, if you will, if you but I have my family intact. I still love myself. I'm still good with myself. I'm still aligned with myself. There's last Donovan, can you please talk about the profit margin, please?
Donovan Dee Donnell 39:41
Yeah, I'll do that real quick. Okay, so one things we share on one of the episodes is how to identify someone who truly has success by looking at what they produce, but you have to subtract what it costs for them to get that. So if you do anything with finances, you understand that there's there's, there's what I've obtained, but until I deduct what it costs me, I don't really know what the profit If it is the profit is what's going to remain after I take away two expenses. And so a lot of times we'll see people, or hear people share only part of their story. The fact that, hey, I got a million plus followers, or hey, I own these two buildings, or, Hey, I started this company, but tell me about your health. Tell me about the relationship with your with your wife, or your friends or your children. Because if you took a year to build that company, and not invest in your family, and you say, you say you made 200k, a lot of that money is going to go back into counseling to correct the relationship that you neglected. A lot of that if you've neglected your health, a lot of that 200k is gonna go towards surgeries or medication. So until we see what the expense report looks like, we don't really know what the true profit is. And so that's why I tell people, there's a way to have holistic success, where you can take everything you care about all your essentials can come along with you, as you experienced this divine fulfillment.
Trevor Tyson 40:54
Sheesh, that is amazing. And to kind of end this up, like on every single podcast, like the last question is never the same as always unique. And what I I'll pray over the episode, oh my God, what do you want people to leave with? On this episode? If there's anything you want them to hear? What is it? And for you guys? Kevin, with you, being a former pre med student, and Donovan with you being a former adult entertainer, you both have had pretty dramatic career shifts, if you would call it go, you know, like, it's a lot. It's a very, very dramatic career shift. And a lot of people out there feel stuck in their current situations and see no way out, whether it's a job or relationship or maybe even their current life, overall marriage, whatever it could be, what is your message to those struggling find hope right now, whatever situation that may be going through? And we'll start with you, Kevin.
Kevin Olusola 41:50
You No, I think the thing that I would say is, look back in your life, and try to see the places where you had something about you that was a little bit different, and that maybe you neglected it because somebody else told you that that wasn't the way to be successful or wasn't a way to move on in the world. Maybe that person was afraid and fearful of the money that you possibly were not going to make and how you were going to feed yourself I and I understand this, that those are real, real difficult things to think through. Obviously, I wanted to music. This was not, you can't guarantee this. This is This is so weird, such a weird situation that I'm in. But the one thing that I can say is by trusting God. At least I don't have that. What if at least I have that. God, I trusted you with everything. And I tried my best. So I always look back, what are those things that are unique and different? That I could have leaned on more? That actually, when I do that I feel the most me? Can I still give that back to God? Can I still try to find ways not to neglect those things that are truly truly me? That honor him?
Trevor Tyson 43:10
Donovan Dee Donnell 43:12
Man, you know what's funny, I was trying to figure out what I was gonna wear today. Because I figured we're gonna be doing some visual and guy said, We're that she used that T shirt you liked so much. So my message to the people was actually on my shirt and it says, Just go deeper in faith. There's a guy, scuba diving, and there's some dolphins on the show. I designed this myself and it makes me happy because honestly, that is the message go deeper into excuse me, go deeper into faith. And so I would say it is simply as something I wish I had done sooner. Pray that God sends you people, a guide. Someone it may be a counselor or a therapist, it may be a coach or a mentor, and find that safe place to open up because God God will speak to whomever he chooses asked him to send you those people into your life. If you feel hopeless and you feel like I've done everything I could do I just just go deeper into faith, trusting God will send you those people and into things the Bible says is by faith and patients that we obtained the promise. Be patient. Be patient, stop competing, be patient. Stop comparing an unhealthy way and just be patient. Go through the process. Go through the journey as the journey is unique to you. Go through your journey. Be patient continue to put your faith on the table every day. Be willing to challenge those old beliefs and let God maximize your uniqueness. Let them show you how beautifully and wonderfully you've been made. If you can just tap into those things right there. I'm pretty confident that you will find your amazing career shift as well you might find that those divine pleasures that we can obtain through seeking the world. So that's my piece of advice, man.
Trevor Tyson 44:55
What do you get when you mix up former porn pre med student turned three time Grammy Award winner with and a former male exotic dancer turned life coach, author, speaker and podcaster
Brian Layne 45:13
I have no freaking clue.
Trevor Tyson 45:15
Imagine faith talk podcast.
Brian Layne 45:21
I was really gonna say that but you know, I just wanted to make sure you know, you're talking about right.
Trevor Tyson 45:25
Well, you know what? Welcome everyone to the after show. It's me and my homie Brian lane here coming at you live from Chattanooga, and social circle and do this episode with Donovan and Kevin was so insightful. It was so encouraging. It was so therapeutic. It was almost like I was just sitting in a living room with a group of friends. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I walked away literally feel like I just got out of therapy. I wish you could have been there.
Brian Layne 45:56
Yeah, I was there in spirit, nobody invited me.
Trevor Tyson 46:00
Well, I'm glad that everyone got to experience this episode with us. It was such an insightful one. And how amazing is it that we're able to have such a dialogue with such unique individuals that are so different from each other. But we all have a unique perspective on like, the positions that God's placed us in like our upbringings. Kevin being pre med Donovan, being a former adult, exotic dancer, like there are so many different backgrounds. We're all so unique.
Brian Layne 46:28
Well, it's kind of similar to yours and I relationship. You know, you came from that all American upbringing, so to speak. I mean, you could speak
Trevor Tyson 46:38
to dad stay at home mom. Three brothers, you know, white couple on the wedding cake, Thai middle class. And Georgia. And you in Indiana? Tell us about that.
Brian Layne 46:50
Yeah, well, it's more than just Indiana. It was Portland. It was Dallas. It was all over the place. But you know, pretty everywhere. So it was it was pretty crazy upbringing, just a lot of traumatic childhood stuff, you know, adoptions, foster homes and institutions on to jail. Thank God not death. And then, you know, some, some stints in prison. But, you know, definitely, God brought us together and aligned us crazily. And it sounds similar to the to what they were talking about today. I mean, obviously, it's different, but it's not so different. The storyline,
Trevor Tyson 47:29
there are bits and pieces of their story that could easily be ours in a nutshell, like you and I started off with you were with God TV at the time, I was a contributor. I just gotten out of high school. We met on a Skype call. And it was like we had that there wasn't instant chemistry because I hadn't really work at it. Like I was like, because you were like this big dawg, creative.
Brian Layne 47:53
party girl, hard to get girl, you know, hard to get girl.
Trevor Tyson 47:57
Yeah, you're right, this creative director, I'm just this little kid this one right off, but you kept seeing like, the blogs and stuff pop up. And we now like, here we are probably four and a half years later, four and a half, five years later, we co own transparent media together, we're doing the after show, select episodes for the podcast. We're gonna be working on podcast together in the future. Like, there's just so much going on. But it wasn't overnight, like this is four and a half to five years of building a relationship becoming brothers in a certain way. And like now co owning a media agency together, which is incredible. And we're so human like, but we're also unique, like our stories are not alike. But there's bits and pieces of everyone's story that's relatable, whether I'm struggling with depression or mental health, which I'll talk about a lot because I do. Everybody can take a little bit of the stories that you hear on this show. And it's applicable to your life. And that's what the foundation of this show is built on what's take all of these amazing stories, such a diverse group of people, and let's share them with the world in a unique way. This isn't Jimmy Fallon. This isn't Kelly Clarkson. This isn't whatever other than O'Brien Conan O'Brien This is Trump talks.
Brian Layne 49:15
Yeah, tech talks.
Trevor Tyson 49:16
And that's not even a brand name. That's just literally a fact. I don't shut up. But, dude, like what a journey this is and what an episode this was.
Brian Layne 49:25
I think one of the cool takeaways is that, you know, you never win, win, win, your life is surrendered to God and God is using you. You never know who he's going to put you in front of, and you're never going to be qualified and you're never going to be qualified, I guess on paper, because God is the qualifier of all things. Yeah. And so he has plans and they may not make sense but once you once you step into those, to that design, I should say, everything comes full circle. And so when I hear stories, like Kevin and Donovan and how God brought them together from their unique individual paths, It's a blessing because I used to live like when I was growing up in that broken brokenness, and I was struggling with drugs, or whatever it was it was going on in my life. These are the stories that I used to cling to, like, I would search out these stories, especially like, when I was doing time or doing jail, I was like, Dude, I don't want to live this life no more. I want something better for myself. And I would go seek out inspirational stories, so that I know that it was possible for me, I mean, I'd look for the worst person that I could find that had had, you know, overcome something. And I would just cling to that, because that's what it's like kindling for the fire to Stokes the flames of faith. And so, man, just, I love the show. And I love I love the conversation today, especially when it was just talking about the uniqueness of individuals and all of that. So such rich are so rich, excuse me. can even talk today was so good. I can't even speak, speak straight.
Trevor Tyson 51:01
And the irony of it all is like you've got this guy. You've got Kevin, right. Right. Any time Grammy winner, multi platinum recording artist. Photonics is a big deal. Like I looked up hallelujah on YouTube a little earlier. Yeah, it's got around, I could tell you right now, it currently has 668 million, million 668 million views. One years, just on YouTube, just on YouTube. That's incredible. Incredible. And then, like, aside from the music, the guy's just genuinely an excellent human being. He's so well being so caring. And we just met today. But like, I can already tell like, this is one of those guys that takes care of people. And Donovan story is a game changer. So many people are going to be impacted by it. It kind of reminds me of Joshua broom, that Pastor that's emerged. He was one male porn star in the world, rich, winning awards, all of the things. And now he's a pastor. And he's like, yeah, it was at the pinnacle of fame in the porn industry, quote, unquote, right? But I hated my life. I was depressed. And now he has a family and beautiful kids. And it's just to live in this rich life for Jesus. And that's all of us about man. And just hearing these stories, including yours, Brian, like, I don't take it for granted. I'm just grateful that God's given me the opportunity to help steward these messages to people that like when I was growing up, I talked about this on the episode with Lacey and Cory. I used to watch these interviews with my favorite artists, with my favorite actors, musicians, because that's what encouraged me. So now, the fact that we have the potential, the producers content that some a 12 year old, like I was, that was looking for purpose, or looking for meaning is able to find and hear from people that are so diverse, not amongst the same genre lines on amongst the same work lines, authors, actors, musicians, whatever. We've got a story for everybody. And that's
Brian Layne 53:02
all about I think it's important to you know, point out, everybody's unique. But it all comes together to make the hole. God's not calling us to be religious cliche bots, or meat bots, but to be ourselves who we created us and designed us to be. And when we step into that, beautiful things happen.
Trevor Tyson 53:22
Yeah. Well, I'm excited that everyone got to hear this. I'm excited that everyone's now introduced to imagine faith talk with Kevin and Donovan. On the That sounds fun podcast network with Annie F downs for everyone listening. Thank you so much for tuning in week after week. We're beyond grateful for you. And if you haven't already, be sure to like and subscribe, invite your friends, sharing your stories, whatever you want to do, you could do none of it for all I care, but it does help. It helps the show so much. We love you guys so much. If you need extra help, or if you need someone to talk to and maybe you feel lonely, afraid isolated, suicidal, depressed, anxious, whatever the case may be, there's someone out there that wants to speak with you. Be sure to go check out some of our friends at death the number two life.com Hart support.com teen HopeLine i think.com. We'll have all the links in the description below beneath the skin for girls. You know, there's just so many places and resources for you out there. Keep living, choose life. love who you are. Remember that God's created you and a unique image in his way. And he loves you so much. We love you. And we'll talk to you guys next week. Bye now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Trevor Tyson is a speaker, podcaster, and media personality. He is the founder of Transparent Media Co and serves as the voice of the Trevor Talks podcast, positioning him as a key voice in conversations around mental health, media, and faith. Trevor lives his life with a mission set on helping people empower themselves and overcome the hardships in their life. At the age of 17, Trevor went through a season of depression and anxiety, forever changing his outlook on mental health. After receiving therapy and diving deep into his faith, he finally found his voice and his message: fear doesn’t own you, anxiety doesn’t hold you, and you CAN overcome your hardships with the right mindset and a set path to follow. Carrying out his mission to encourage and equip others on their road to recovery, Trevor has been featured by GodTV, CCM Magazine, Faithwire, and others.
Donovan Dee Donnell is a published author, life coach, keynote speaker, missionary, personal fitness trainer and photographer. He has spoken and hosted trainings in the fields of leadership, entrepreneurship, personal development, pre-marital preparation, depression and suicide prevention in multiple cities in California, Texas and Internationally in Brazil and South Africa.
With his first two published books, "Before the iDo" and "Evolving the Entrepreneur," Donovan was able to integrate his lifelong faith in God with his drive for success to inspire others to create value in their lives.
As an Accredited Life Coach and Christian, Donovan has coached a multitude of clients toward success with his "Leadership Coaching Curriculum." His natural inclination towards embracing simplicity provide effective solutions to life's challenges through faith, loyalty and discipline.
"God has given me a very specific combination of 'Nature & Gifting' to help me properly occupy my Faith, serve this generation, and fulfill purpose within my life."
Kevin Olusola is an American musician, beatboxer, cellist, producer, singer, and songwriter. Kevin is best known as the beatboxer of a cappella band Pentatonix and has performed at classical musical festivals such as the Amsterdam Cello Biennale, opened the TED Conference in Vancouver, and was chosen by Quincy Jones to represent him in concert at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival on the same program as Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea.
Kevin was raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, in a Christian home by his father, a Nigerian psychiatrist, and his mother, a Grenadian nurse. Along with his brother and sister, Olusola was taught to put his faith in God. An outspoken Christian, Kevin uses social media and technology to connect with and minister to Christian creatives all around the world. Kevin faithfully follows God’s plan, choosing to use his platform to guide aspiring artists who strive to include God in secular industries.