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Chris Bivins goes from reality TV to a Jay Verze collaboration

March 11, 2013

Last summer, the CW network attempted to jump into the post-American Idol gold rush of singing competitions with “The Next,” which went from city to city looking for hometown heroes. I recapped the episode in which the show’s celebrity mentors came to Baltimore, and pop singer Jordan Baird won the night and went on to compete in the first season finals. At the time, I regarded Chris Bivins, the teenage R&B singer who was mentored by Nelly and performed an Usher song, as the weakest of the episode’s four prospects. But he’s been apparently emboldened by his moment in the spotlight, and his new track ”Heaven” is pretty good.

“Heaven,” the lead single Bivins’s upcoming HoCo Red EP, features a guest rap from up and coming Baltimore MC Jay Verze. Producer BJR gives the track the kind of brooding, textured production that makes it feel very up-to-date with R&B in 2013, not necessarily a hit in the making but certainly a confident first step towards mainstream radio. And the video, co-directed by Bivins and Addy Play, may be as impressive for showcasing the young entertainer’s visual sense as for his singing and dancing skills.

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