Out of the Blue (OOTB) is an all-male a cappella group from the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University. They rose to prominence this July when their music video for a Shakira medley went viral thanks to the help of the Columbian singer herself. She tweeted to them and proceeded to share the video – thus, helping them gain instant success.
Despite the influx of a cappella groups rising in fame these days, such as Pentatonix and The Filharmonic, OOTB distinguishes itself from the rest of its competition by utilizing their slick vocal skills, boyish charm and charismatic performances. Here are their top five covers that deserve a listen.
“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira: To get a sense of the group’s vibe, the best place to start would be with their infamous Shakira medley that has reached over 5 million views on Youtube. There’s just something wildly entertaining about watching a group of clean-cut young men in suits shaking their hips, crawling on the grass and flexing their diamond-studded backs. The song itself begins with “Hips Don’t Lie” for the first half, then it swiftly moves into “Whenever, Wherever” and just as the pace begins to slow down, it shoots right back up the boys start singing “Waka Waka”. Once it’s over, you’ll find yourself scrambling to hit the ‘replay’ button and singing along once again.
“September” by Earth, Wind and Fire: If there ever is a song that should make you want to dance, it’s “September” – and this cover does exactly that. While you’re busy dancing all over the room, it’s easy to forget that the song is an a cappella performance, as the vocals are flawlessly superb in replacing the instrumentals in the original. Marco Alessi, a now ex-member of the group, shines as the soloist in the song, carrying it with grace and style.
“Rather Be” by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne: In an ambitious attempt to recreate one of the most popular songs this year, the a cappella group managed to put together a cover that maintains the distinct sounds of the original instrumentals with their own stunning vocals. The song was sung by six of the group’s members, giving each of them a chance to shine. The video itself was shot in India, where the boys were collaborating with a charity in order to help children, giving a whole new meaning to the words, “When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be.”
“Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink: If you think that no other version could have topped the one featured in Moulin Rogue!, then think again. In a sizzling cover of the famous song, OOTB gives Christina and the rest a run for their money. Listening to the song feels like watching a fireworks show – it just builds and builds, until it reaches a stunning climax at the end that makes it impossible to forget.
“C’est La Vie” by B*Witched: In a throwback to the original 90’s pop song, this cover is a fitting representative of the group: it’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it oozes classic OOTB charm. The group has also taken the liberty of mashing it up with the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”, resulting in an explosion of pop goodness. It’s also the last music video featuring the 2013-2014 group, making way for a new group of singers this year.
To see what OOTB has been up to this year, look no further than at their brand new Christmas video. Their album, Soul Sisters, is available for purchase online and features thirteen of their spectacular covers from last year.