Brielle Von Hugel – “Stronger” FT B.o.B, (Exodus and Sweet & Sour Remix)
Brielle Von Hugel’s ascent towards greater mainstream recognition gets a significant boost from her latest single “Stronger”. It’s a collaboration with hip hop artist B.o.B. and House DJ’s Sweet & Sour and Exodus, but Von Hugel is the focal point and she sets the song on fire with an all-encompassing approach that bristles with passion and inspiration. The song has a four minute duration and Hugel keeps it hopping with a variety of approaches that never sound incongruous or strike a false note throughout the proceedings. It’s the latest peak in a career that has seen Hugel take her appearance on Season 11 of American Idol and expand on it with numerous press and television spots as well as teaming with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox to memorable effect. Music runs in this singer’s DNA and she was likely destined from an early age for entertaining a vast audience of eager listeners.
You can hear that investment in every line. Von Hugel’s voice is a glorious instrument capable of exploring every emotional crevice of this material without ever veering into overwrought territory. It’s the control over her instrument, the knowledge how to use it, that distinguishes her talents from the sort of bellowing histrionics often the hallmark of her lessers. It obviously helps that she’s so close to the material to begin with, but her frequent YouTube covers of other artists demonstrates that Von Hugel is a performing artist who intuitively understands how to get under the skin of any song and gives those performances, as well, all of the emotional firepower characterizing this outing. Even the strong presence of rapper B.o.B. doesn’t lessen her impact. He’s quite a force in the song’s second half with a perfectly attuned vocal that contrasts nicely with her own while still complementing it thanks to his own take on the song’s theme.
The musical backing is equally energetic and passionate. New York City based producer Exodus and House DJ’s Sweet & Sour have combined their respective talents to present a forceful, nuanced electronic track with clear instrumentation and balance between the competing sonic elements while still highlighting her role in the song. There’s a lot of nuance fueling this track as well. “Stronger” is never one endless blast of music but, instead, shows the flexibility to milk its inherent dramatics for all their worth. The rising and falling movement of the arrangement gives Hugel and B.o.B. much more to work with than what a full on assault would have ever managed to provide. The performance is as well rounded as they come and the recording shows the same talent and professionalism that has catapulted Hugel into her much-deserved spotlight. She is an artist on the move and the direction is upward. There’s no question that American Idol introduced the music listening public to a variety of genuine talents who may have never otherwise found a proper forum, but Brielle Von Hugel is a talent that would have never been denied. She is destined for this and there’s nothing that will stop her.