Saturday Night Session 050: Ookay gives fans a taste of his upcoming album and reflects on how his musical upbringing shaped the artist he is today
by: Farrell Sweeney
June 4, 2021
Abraham Laguna grew up in a family that sang happy birthday in a “four-part harmony,” so it’s no wonder the Californian artist is ending his 29th year with the release of his second full-length album. The album will be released under his better-known stage name, Ookay, and he continues his debut album of 2018. Wow! nice album! It made his “big breakthrough” after releasing the single “Thief” in 2016, which has since amassed over 80 million streams on Spotify alone.
Through “Thief”, Laguna has proven his ability to create a unique composition, drawing not only on instruments, but also on his own voice. It remains his most famous piece to this day thanks to its splendid fusion of saxophone and a captivating bass line all linked by its vocals. The track also helped shape the artist’s live performance, which has evolved into an immersive live performance with instrumentals and sometimes even vocals starting in 2017, as opposed to a traditional DJ set.
Laguna’s musical education is not only what he credits as the reason he became a musician himself, but also why he produces such a wide range of genres. He discusses his upbringing and how it shaped his passion for music, sharing, “To be introduced to so many amazing artists at such a young age and see so many musicians including my dad having fun and really getting lost in the music finally helped me decide that it was for me. I needed this. “
Ahead of the release of their second album in fall 2021, Laguna gave listeners a taste of what to expect through two singles from the upcoming LP. His most recent release “Weekends” is from his first single album, “Deep with Me”. The bouncy tune sees Laguna twisting pop again with her voice telling the story of someone who only wants to go out on weekends. Both album releases see the artist exchanging powerful drops for soft vocals and lighter sound.
When asked how it felt to release his second album compared to what it was like the first time, Laguna shares, “Complete transparency. I really tried to perfect my sound and my composition like never before. He continues, “This album is very special because my fear of releasing an album is no longer there. The fear comes from not being a better artist than yesterday. Also, there is still saxophone involved! (If you know, you know).
For those who follow Ookay, not all of the singles on the album will be completely new. He shares that he has played some of them before, and his anticipation mainly comes from his desire to be able to play the LP live and connect with listeners through his music. Ahead of the album’s full release and to give listeners an advanced glimpse of what’s to come, Laguna has designed an exclusive one-hour Saturday night session. When asked what kind of Saturday night his mix would prepare listeners for, he shared, “SON SATURDAY NIGHT BABY. I’m going to tease some new music from the album of course (as well as my other project cough cough). Play it in your car, play it on your phone, your audio system, whatever you honestly have. I play all the music that really kicks off my WEEKEND! “
Your sound has really evolved over the years, and you’ve had the opportunity to release a diverse set of releases. Can you tell me about it?
It’s really thanks to my friends and listeners who allow me to be myself in a creative way. Having the opportunity to work with such amazing artists also really inspired me! It’s hard to relate to a genre when I like to listen to it so much! I try to reflect my interests in my own music and I’m glad people liked it so far.
Does your sound differ depending on the origin of your creative inspirations during this period?
My location definitely plays a huge role in my writing process. Sometimes I’m at the airport and I want to write the funniest house tune or in a hotel room do some trap music. Also, I do a lot of scuba diving on soundcloud and listen to what others are doing. There is so much talent out there, it’s hard not to be inspired!
I’ve heard that you (in many cases) are your own singer and multi-instrumentalist. Can you tell me about it?
I try to do as much as possible on my own on my own records, okay. Even before my first vocal outing with “Thief,” I slipped into my own voice over previous versions just to test the waters. I never thought of myself primarily as a singer but it seems to change more and more every day!
I never really envisioned playing so many instruments until my vision for what is now “Ookay Live” came to life. It really pushed me in my performance and also helped me in the long term at the studio level, by exposing my ideas. For this I am grateful.
Was your father a musician? Tell us about your first experiences with music and why you decided to make a career there?
My dad still plays bass! (Some habits should never die)
I grew up in a very musical family… like… we sing the happy birthday song in harmony with 4 voices…
So I could never really escape it! (Why would I do it? Music is the best, isn’t it?)
Getting introduced to so many amazing artists at such a young age and seeing so many musicians including my dad having fun and really getting lost in the music ultimately helped me decide that it was for me. I needed this.
What can we expect from your second album?
Full transparency. I really tried to perfect my sound and my composition like never before.
This album is very special because my fear of releasing an album is no longer there. The fear comes from not being a better artist than yesterday. Also, there is still saxophone involved! (if you know, you know)
How does the anticipation of releasing this album feel compared to your first album?
There are a few songs on this album that I had the pleasure of replaying and I think what excites me is singing with the rest of the listeners on the day of the concert. I also just want to log in. There are a lot of personal experiences on this album that I hope can resonate with others. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to translate my feelings into songs and art.
What kind of Saturday night will your Saturday night session prepare listeners for?
HER SATURDAY NIGHT BABY. I’m going to tease some new music from the album of course (as well as my other project cough cough). Play it in your car, play it on your phone, your audio system, whatever you honestly have. I play all the music that really kicks off my WEEKENDS!
Categories: Features, Music