It wasn’t that long ago that Othello Houston created his first Garageband instrumental. As a freshman in high school, Houston sat down behind a computer, attempting to capture the musical techniques that his childhood cello-playing provided in order to create something different. Taking with him the knowledge of beat-making and fleeing into an electronic scene with his own gospel melodies, Houston took off, curating his own unique sound and style that would eventually come to make him stand out in the SoundCloud scene.
Houston, also known as Otxhello, performed at Lucid Monday’s first big show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, immediately becoming a very good friend of Lucid Monday. From first appearing on LM017, he has consistently worked with dilip, quickly, quickly, yugi boy, chromonicci, and inimicvs. Since releasing music on SoundCloud in 2016, he has worked alongside Soulja Boy, Ski Mask the Slump God, Juice WRLD, Roddy Ricch, PnB Rock, and Lil Keed. Now, Otxhello has received RIAA platinum certification for his work with Lil Skies and gold certification for his work with Lil Tecca.
Growing up in Massachusetts, Houston played the drums for his local church’s band, eventually picking up piano along the way. You can hear his past in his present work––the varying layers of jazz, R&B, hip hop, and strings he incorporates into his production are as stunning as they are unique. His latest releases, “Sunrise” and “Existence,” are no exception. “Existence” has an outro that begs to be performed in a concert hall, while “Sunrise” could be found in the opening scene of a sci-fi movie. Otxhello’s expansive sounds create more of an auditory experience for the listener than a two-dimensional, easily consumed song––something that can be attributed to his intense creative drive.
“My favorite thing about him and his work is that he is authentic and genuine,” manager Julius Woods said. “When it comes to him as a person, he is the most selfless, caring, and compassionate individual. He wakes up at 6 a.m. every day to play the piano and make music until he falls asleep. He is always learning and wanting to get better, which is the best mentality any creator could have.”
With an entire life characterized by music in one way or another, it makes sense that Otxhello’s best work is coming out now, at age 23. When asked where he sees himself in five years, Houston said, “I hopefully see myself playing live shows, maybe with a visual aspect––maybe cartoons,” alluding to his next project with long-time collaborator dilip. Just now joining forces for a fully-fledged, finished product, Houston notes that it has been a “great way for them to experiment with different sounds.”
Even though his rise to prominence in the SoundCloud scene has been consistent and alluring, we are not experiencing Houston at the crest of his musical career, rather, we are experiencing him at the beginning of something that is much greater.