AXE’s Gold campaign put Venezuelan-born songster Danny Ocean to the test with an intense session of slingshot karaoke, making for an adrenaline-fueled brand introduction.
Well-known for his summery anthem, “Me Rehuso,” Ocean kept momentum by premiering a slew of lively tracks in AXE’s West Village penthouse. As tropical cocktails and arepas passed around below his platform, Ocean chatted with attendees about the inspiration behind new tunes. “It means so much that you are here with AXE and me to hear my music. There is so much on the way after, “Me Rehúso,” he professed. With ease, Ocean performed an untitled ditty, inviting event-goers to entertain alongside him, and both men and women danced to the beat of his future effort.
The Knockturnal sat down with Ocean following his energetic AXE #YOUREGOLD listening party. “It’s so cool to be here [with my records]. The new AXE gold [products are] all about managing yourself under pressure. That is totally a Danny Ocean vibe,” he laughed while signaling to a slingshot karaoke clip. Now beaming from a sofa, his soon-to-be-released English-language earworm played in the background — and the multifaceted crooner moved closer, almost to assure he thoroughly detailed his artistry.Da
So, from covering his billion YouTube views, rock, and African musical influences, to pinpointing why he doesn’t consider himself a Latin crossover artist — this is Danny Ocean in his words.
The Knockturnal: Describe your creative process.
Danny Ocean: My creative process in the studio depends a lot on the feeling and what I want to say. [Contributing factors can be] whether or not it was a good day or a bad day. I mostly create by listening to the chords of a song, then I will draft out the beat. After that, I pay attention to the melody.
Well, sometimes my melodies come first [in the songwriting process]. Then it is time to add the lyrics. Building a song honestly depends on the type of feeling or mood I am in.
The Knockturnal: Why do you feel it was essential to become a Latin crossover artist?
Danny Ocean: To be honest, I do not want to be considered a crossover artist. I actually am trying to balance both worlds at the same time. So, yeah, we’ll see how it goes.
The Knockturnal: How has Caracas, Venezuela influenced your sound?
Danny Ocean: Wow! [Laughs] Venezuela has influenced my sound, but pretty much throughout an underground base. I am not all the related to it, within a folkloric ethnic realm, or as far as sounds, to be honest. I mean I love Venezuela.
I adore my country. Still, I was raised outside of it, since my first ten years were outside of my country. Basically, it was a matter of hearing things from outside instead of inside of Venezuela.
The Knockturnal: I was more so alluding to sonically. You are Venezuelan. So, for example, the types of music a person’s parents play in a household can become influential.
Danny Ocean: So, oddly my mother does not listen to that much music. It is very weird. My father is a music producer, but we were not deeply invested, music wise. I lived in Africa when I was a little kid. That was where I think I really got with myself, and I began [fashioning my artistry]. Yeah!
The Knockturnal: What are the pressures of creating your debut album?
Danny Ocean: With the music that is forthcoming, I just try to keep it fresh. We try to keep it fresh under pressure like AXE Gold. [Laughs] There is no substantial pressure because I have been doing this for years. I have discovered myself, and sound.
At this point, I have done this and done that musically. Believe me; I am at the point in life where I know what I want to do [in the studio]. So, I know who I am as an artist. Basically, that is the only mindset. Creating music is fun to me. You know? There are no pressures.
The Knockturnal: Okay. Who were your first inspirations?
Danny Ocean: My first inspiration musically was Oasis, the rock band. Then there is Coldplay, and there were a lot of friends that were at the same point as me musically. A person I respect a lot is Oma 206.
Like me, he was making music from within his home. He got signed with a Puerto Rican record label. I really enjoy his message and style of writing. So, we went along together.
The Knockturnal: The song, “Me Rehúso” is globally acclaimed. How do you feel now that you have this building fanbase?
Danny Ocean: This feels amazing. Yes, it feels fantastic! We were coming up from 400 views on YouTube, and then suddenly, we had a billion views. Believe me; this is an incredible feeling. It is crazy, but everything is still exciting.
The Knockturnal: How is your experience with AXE on their Gold campaign?
Danny Ocean: Oh, this was cool. I have loved AXE since I came back from Venezuela. The new product line AXE Gold is all about managing yourself under pressure. That is totally a Danny Ocean vibe. [Laughs] So, it is awesome because we have been having so much fun together. For my first round, they took me to a slingshot.
The Knockturnal: I was just about to ask. Did you enjoy your AXE human slingshot challenge?
Danny Ocean: Oh my God, believe me, I enjoy it!
The Knockturnal: I saw you swinging in the sky effortlessly. I could never do something like that.
Danny Ocean: I even wanted to stay in it. [Laughs] I enjoyed the slingshot. I could have been hanging up there longer. It is safe to say I am into those kinds of things.
The Knockturnal: In light of AXE’s #YOUREGOLD, “STAY FRESH AND CONFIDENT, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE THROWS AT YOU,” slogan — name a time you had to keep it cool under pressure.
Danny Ocean: Okay, not the slingshot. [Laughs] I think the first encounter you have with the music industry is nerve-wracking. You can say that is a scenario where you try to keep it fresh, even though you’re under the most pressure. You know?
The Knockturnal: What is on the way for Danny Ocean fans?
Danny Ocean: My new single will be coming out on August 10th. I am pretty excited about this because it is an English track. It is not mostly Spanish. Well, the song has a little bit of Spanish in it. Hopefully, there will be a full-length Spanish album. I still do not have a concrete release date, but the LP is pretty much complete already.