If USC Thornton Pop Music major Caitlin Notey — a senior who performs under the pseudonym “Huxlee” — had her way, musicians wouldn’t be judged by their online personas and social media prowess, but rather on whether or not their music is capable of “establishing an emotional connection with audiences.”
“In a way it’s great because it brings me and my fans closer,” Notey said of social media. “But, it also devalues the artistry a little bit. There should be a little distance and mystery between audience and artist.”
Mystery is key for Huxlee, both musically and aesthetically. It’s most notable in Huxlee’s music video for the single, “Olivia,” which was the result of a collaborative effort between Notey and USC School of Cinematic Arts student Anna Zlokovic.
“I felt the song called for a vintage romanticism that is beautiful but a little bit uncomfortable,” said Notey, calling the end result “a really beautiful visual.”
The aesthetically minded young musician is equal parts old soul and savvy up-and-comer, crediting Thornton for a “very humbling and informative” education that allowed her to grow “as both a writer and a businesswoman.”
When it came time to showcase her vocal repertoire to the world outside USC, Notey opted to cover “Mr. Brightside,” the chart-topping 2003 tune from rock band the Killers, and release her version on YouTube.
Notey strategically selected the song because, as she stated, the track is “old enough to be a throwback but new enough to get a younger crowd interested.”
“I wanted it to be something accessible that people could connect with, but also to be something different,” Notey said. “I’m not one to cover Top 40 songs just to draw attention to myself.”
But, with a voice like Caitlin Notey’s, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else.
- Jenevieve Ting