Photo: Simone di Luca

From the first moment, Elton John had given us unconditional support. He encouraged us all along, and the amount of faith he had in us was incredible.

Twelve years ago, two young, classically trained, cellists covered Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal, finding, almost by accident, a formula for crossover music that soon turned them into international stars. The intensive and energetic covers of the Croatian string duo 2Cellos, consisting of Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, have become synonymous with classical crossover.

The duo has made six albums, toured around fifty countries – playing in venues such as the London Royal Albert Hall and the New York Radio City Music Hall as well as in countries such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, and the rest of the world – and worked with the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Elton John.
They had studied together at the Zagreb Academy of Music; Šulić later went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Hauser at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
After Šulić and Hauser, lovers of classical music and the cello, did a cover of Smooth Criminal in 2011, they achieved a quick and global success, and 2Cellos started covering hits by many other musicians such as Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Guns N’Roses, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Prodigy, White Stripes, Nirvana, Leonard Cohen etc.
Their concerts were explosive, and they were besieged by often frenzied fans around the world. They worked intensively for more than a decade, and then, at the peak of their international career, they decided – to split. They held their last concerts in Australia and New Zealand in December 2022. We talked to Hauser and Šulić just ahead of their concert in Ljubljana, also part of their last big world tour.
“As much as people want to know what is behind the decision that we are not going to play together anymore, nothing dramatical is going on between us. We understand each other better than we ever have. But we’ve reached a kind of a plateau and it’s logical to go solo”, Luka Šulić says calmly. Most of the interview is spontaneously taken over by Stjepan Hauser. Šulić is the quiet introvert, while Hauser, on the other hand, is loud, outspoken, noticeably talkative.

They were just starting their career when they got a call from Elton John, suggesting collaboration.

“Elton is a living legend, an icon. To get a call from such a musician would be an honour even today, let alone at the start of our careers. He invited us to be a part of his world tour. From the first moment, he had given us unconditional support. He encouraged us all along, and the amount of faith he had in us was incredible”, Stjepan Hauser says.
And they’ve kept in touch ever since.
In honour of Elton John’s 75th birthday, Hauser released My Gift Is My Song, dedicated to the man who was a kind of a mentor to him, with five of Elton’s hits – Your Song, Candle in the Wind, Rocket Man, Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road –performed superbly by Hauser.

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