There comes a time when the greedy pop gods will answer desperate prayers for a unique, fresh sound among the current generic Top 40 fluff flooding the airwaves. The rare moment only comes to those who show patience. Patience eventually allows songs, like “Next To You” by emerging Utah-based duo Oh, Be Clever, to unexpectedly fall into one’s lap and shine bright as an alternative pop/dance masterpiece.
Brittany Shields and Cory Scott Layton, once part of rival high school bands, eventually left the unnecessary drama behind and joined forces to focus on the unique sound that is now Oh, Be Clever, a name that came to be after several changes and a spontaneous realization in the shower. With Layton in charge of production and Shields responsible for the gorgeous vocals featured on the duo’s already released material, they now have their sights on maximum exposure with the release of “Next To You“.
“Cory and I have awesome chemistry together. We work hard to get everything solidified. We are both perfectionists,” lead vocalist Shields says.
The brilliant “Next To You“, is a rare find and, let’s be honest, absolute perfection. It demands attention with the first few notes. Sounding similar to an M83 production during the intro, Shields‘ vocals make a controlling and powerful entrance as she plays the role of a woman who just cannot seem to let go of her former lover. “You’ve been running away, running away from me, but I feel alive, next to you,” she tragically sings just before the epic chorus, one of the best of the year, takes the track to a whole new level of greatness.
“Cory and I had simultaneously experienced break ups. When our relationships ended we were sad and depressed. The song is about the desire to be with that person just one more time. I feel like it is something that people can relate to,” Shields says of their powerful new single. “When I write, it just comes out. It came out the way you hear it now. We nailed it on the first try.”
“Next To You” is a strong, new beginning for the talented duo. Besides promoting the single, Oh, Be Clever have just released the accompanying music video (see below), a colorful visual they say they are very proud of. The two will also travel to Austin, Texas next week to showcase the music they have been hard at work on at the annual South by Southwest festival by taking part in the Music Stage Live event.
“SXSW has been on my bucket list since I was 13,” Shields says. “It is my first time going and I am performing I’m sure it will be crazy. We have a full set, performing all the songs that will be featured on our EP, which we are currently finishing.”
As for the upcoming EP, entitled #Awakening, Oh, Be Clever promises tunes similar to the sound and style of “Next To You“, very electronic, very “dancey”, loaded with soaring vocal performances and interesting, intriguing production. While Shields may dread the actual recording process, her feelings are quite the opposite when it comes to taking the stage.
“Performing is what I live for,” Shields says. “Performing my songs, seeing people sing along with me, is the most incredible feeling on the planet. Even in the small venues, people feel the music, that’s worth it all.”
As Oh, Be Clever continues with their impressive plans for an eventual pop takeover, they start with offering a gem that is hard to take off “repeat”. “Next To You” is a well-crafted, well-written, gorgeously sung alternative dance number that screams heartbreak while still lifting spirits. If this is the “debut” single from Shields and Layton, then the emerging duo are one you desperately need to be aware of.
“Keep an eye out,” Shields warns. “We try to write every single day. We just took a darker turn on these new songs. We appreciate all the new love we have been getting so far.”