Grammy-nominated Spokane singer-songwriter Brittany O’Neal readies for awards weekend

February 7, 2019

You won’t see her category during the televised portion of the 61st Grammy Awards, but watch the Premiere Ceremony, which begins streaming live at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on www.grammy.com, and you might catch a glimpse of Spokane Valley native Brittany O’Neal.

O’Neal, who performs as Sub Teal and now calls the South Hill home, has been nominated for the Best Remixed Recording Grammy for the Cosmic Gate remix of the song “Only Road,” which she co-wrote and recorded with electronic music duo Gabriel and Dresden.

O’Neal has been producing music and singing since 2011. She released her self-titled debut solo album on Bandcamp the following year.

“That one doesn’t have much vocals,” she said. “It’s a more esoteric piece of art.”

Shortly thereafter, O’Neal began focusing on singing and songwriting. About two years ago, she began collaborating with her partner, Josh Gabriel, and Dave Dresden.

O’Neal’s first collaboration with Gabriel and Dresden was the duo’s second studio album “The Only Road.”

After writing and recording the album, Gabriel and Dresden’s first in more than 11 years, the duo eventually signed to the U.K.-based label Anjunabeats.

“The Only Road” was released in December 2017, having been supported by a fully funded Kickstarter campaign.

O’Neal is featured on four songs: “Only Road,” “White Walls,” “This Love Kills Me” and “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.”

After the album was released, Anjunabeats helped the trio look over the best remix possibilities.

Enter Cosmic Gate, the duo of German DJs Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossem.

Terhoeven and Bossem had known Gabriel and Dresden for years, so it was a no-brainer to have Cosmic Gate put their spin on a Gabriel and Dresden track.

Cosmic Gate released their remix of “Only Road” in 2018.

After hearing how Cosmic Gate had reworked the song, O’Neal felt like the remix, though tastefully restrained, had power and the ability to move a lot of people.

“It’s meaningful for me to see a song that I wrote interpreted in a way that has the potential to reach so many people and connect with so many people,” she said. “I think that’s what’s been the most meaningful thing for me is to see its reach…

“They build tension so nicely, and the general response from people has been so positive. It’s clear there’s some magic happening in that track that people resonate with.”

The track clearly resonated with voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who nominated “Only Road (Cosmic Gate remix)” for the Best Remixed Recording Grammy.

O’Neal remembers exactly where she was when the nominations were announced on Dec. 7.

She, Gabriel and Dresden were in Dresden’s California home, getting ready to head to the studio to begin work on their next album, “Remedy.”

Dresden shared the news of the nomination on social media, and soon after messages from friends and fans started pouring in.

“It was next level,” she said. “The timing was very poignant and very sweet and such a nice motivation and also inspiration to move into the process of creating this next album.”

O’Neal will fly to Los Angeles on Friday in advance of the Grammy nominees reception on Saturday and the ceremony on Sunday.

She is planning to wear all vintage pieces, an ode to the Living Room Vintage, the vintage clothing shop, located at 1816 E. Sprague Ave., she co-owns with a close friend.

“Our goal is to make (vintage clothing) as accessible as possible to anybody and everybody and always be conscious of the waste that comes with mass consumerism and working with what’s been left behind,” she said.

Every now and then, O’Neal clears out a space in the Living Room and hosts Electronic Evenings. She also DJs locally with Back2Basics.

She’s feeling pretty good ahead of the ceremony and is hoping to meet Joan Baez, who is nominated for Best Folk Album for “Whistle Down the Wind.”

“I know that a lot of my world involves tapping into electronic music, but for me, songwriting starts with a guitar and a piano,” O’Neal said. “I very much write from a place of looking at the world as a we and less of a you and a me.”

“Remedy” will be released this summer, after yet another fully funded Kickstarter campaign, and the trio are currently planning a live tour in support of the album that will feature live vocal performances from O’Neal.

She’s also working on another solo album, though that won’t be released until next year at the earliest.

But at the moment, she’s looking forward to seeing what the Grammy experience has to offer.

“This is really, when it comes to music, the night,” she said. “I thought it would take quite a bit longer to come this close to being able to experience this. I really have a lot of gratitude.”

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