Danny Ocean’s favorite way to create music is in small places with his speakers and keyboards, not in a recording studio with all the high-end recording equipment and digital gadgets. In fact, his best songs were all mostly born in his bedroom with its small window overlooking the mountains in Caracas, Venezuela. That’s just his vibe.
Now, from his room to the world, the Venezuelan artist presents his debut album, 54+1, which honors the apartment where it all began. “That was my apartment number in Caracas,” Ocean tells Billboard of his album’s title. “The plus one represents my bonus track, ‘Swing,’ which was co-written by my friend Carlitos. He’s the only co-writer on the album.”
Ocean, who produced and wrote all the songs by himself, discovered music through his love for movie soundtracks. He also gives credit to the underground hip-hop scene in Venezuela. “I began producing when I was in my junior year of high school because I wanted to sell beats,” he says. Some of his inspirations include Coldplay, Daft Punk, and Rihanna.
He proudly describes his music as elegant, sexy, colorful, and simple -- all which really sums up the album released on Friday (March 22) on Warner Music Latina. “I released two EPs when I was in Venezuela, they were very raw. 54+1 is an album about love because I think that’s what we need the most right now,” he says.
Some of the tracks on his album, such as “Babylon Girl” and “Bailame,” go as far back as 2013 and 2014. Even though music trends have changed over the years, Ocean never went back to tweak his songs because he knew it would ruin their essence.
Two weeks prior to the release, Billboard sat down with Ocean to learn more about his album. Focusing on his newer songs, Ocean breaks down each track except his four current singles: “Me Rehuso,” “Dembow,” “Vuelve,” and “Swing.”
Read his thoughts on the tracks below.
“This song was born out of the same dream that I had two consecutive nights. The same girl came to visit me on different nights. I didn’t want her to come to visit me because I knew that if she came, something intimate was going to happen. I remembered the dream and tried to put it all into a concept.”
“When I think of ‘Bailame,’ I think of an elegant girl listening to this elegant song at an elegant bar.”
“Cuando Me Acerco a Ti”
“This is a very, very, very, very, special song. It was very hard trying to finish it, it took me a while but it’s a very honest song. It’s based on something that I lived personally and I know that a lot of people have lived also.”
"‘Gime’ comes from the verb of gemir (to moan). With this song, I just wanted to release something that was straight to the point.”
“Kizombita Para Ti”
“One day I was watching videos on YouTube and I came across a couple dancing Kizomba. I was mesmerized by the way the woman was dancing in the video and that’s how ‘Kizombita Para Ti’ was born.”
“This is actually the artwork I love the most! But I’m going to tell you a true story, Ricky Martin and Maluma’s ‘Vente Pa’ Ca’ inspired this song. I wanted something more Mediterranean when I was doing the beat for this song. I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, I’ve never been.”
“I wanted to do a trap song and this is what was born, a trap love song. This is not like a commercial song but I really like this song, it’s about a special person in my life.”
“‘Veneno’ was produced in Miami. It was the third song I did from the album, following ‘Me Rehuso’ and ‘Dembow.’ There’s a very similar line music-wise.”
“This is one of my new songs on the album. ‘Muerdago,’ if you didn’t know, is a mistletoe, so this song is about a kiss.”