Saturday Night Session 050: Ookay gives fans a taste of his upcoming album and reflects on how his musical upbringing has shaped the artist he is today
Abraham Laguna grew up in a family that sang happy birthday in a ‘four part harmony,’ so it is no wonder the California based and bred artist will be rounding out his 29th year by releasing his sophomore full length album. The album will be released under his more popularly known stage name, Ookay, and it proceeds his 2018 debut album Wow! Cool Album! He made his ‘big break’ after releasing 2016 single “Thief,” which has since amassed over 80 million streams on Spotify alone.
Through “Thief,” Laguna proved his ability to craft a unique composition, leaning on not only instrumentals, but also his own voice. It remains his most well known track to date thanks to his splendid fusion of Saxophone and a riveting bass line all tied together by his singing. The track also helped to shape the artist’s live performance, which became an immersive live show with instrumentals and sometimes even singing beginning in 2017, as opposed to a traditional DJ set.
Laguna’s musical upbringing is not only what he attributes as the reason why he has ended up a musician himself, but it is also why he produces such a wide array of genres. He discusses his upbringing and how it has shaped his passion for music, sharing, “Being introduced to so many amazing artists at such a young age and seeing so many musicians, including my father, enjoy and really lose themselves within the music ultimately helped me decide that this was for me. I needed that.”
Ahead of his sophomore album’s fall 2021 release, Laguna has given listeners a taste of what to expect through two singles from the forthcoming LP. His most recent release “Weekends” proceeds his first album single, “Deep with Me.” The bouncy tune sees Laguna skew pop again with his vocals telling the story of someone who only wants to hang out on the weekends. Both album releases see the artist trade in heavy hitting drops for smooth singing and a lighter sonic tone.
When asked how it feels to put out his second album compared to how it felt the first time around, Laguna shares, “Full transparency. I’ve really tried to hone in on my sound and songwriting like never before.” He continues, “This album is very special because my fear of putting an album out is no longer there. The fear comes from not being a better artist than I was yesterday. Also, there’s some saxophone involved again! (if you know, you know).”
For those who follow Ookay, not all album singles will be completely new. He shares that he has already performed some of them, and his anticipation mostly comes from his desire to be able to perform the LP live and connect with listeners through his music. Ahead of the album’s full release and to give listeners an advanced preview of what is to come, Laguna has crafted an exclusive hour long Saturday Night Session. When asked what kind of a Saturday night his mix will get listeners ready for, he shares, “ITS SATURDAY NIGHT BABY. Gonna 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, sound system, whatever you got honestly. I’m playing all the music that gets my WEEKENDS really started!”
Your sound has really evolved over the years, and you’ve had the ability to put out a diverse set of releases. Can you talk to me about this?
It’s really thanks to my friends and listeners that allow me to be myself creatively. Having the opportunity to work with such amazing artists has really inspired me as well! It’s hard to tie myself to one genre when I love listening to so many! I try to reflect my interests within my own music and I’m glad people have enjoyed it so far.
Does your sound differ based on where your creative inspirations are derived from during that period of time?
My location definitely plays a huge part in my writing process. Sometimes I’ll be at the airport and want to write the funnest house tune or in a hotel room making some trap music. Also, I do a lot of deep-sea-diving on soundcloud and listen to what others are making. There’s so much talent out there, it’s hard not to be inspired!
I hear you (in many cases) are your own vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Can you talk to me about this?
I try to do as much by myself as possible on my own records, correct. Even prior to my first vocal breakout with “Thief,” I’ve snuck in my own vocals on previous releases just to test the waters. Never considered myself a singer primarily but that seems to be changing more and more every day!
I never really considered playing so many instruments until my vision of what is now “Ookay Live” came to life. It’s really pushed me in my performance and also helped me out in the long run studio-wise just laying out my ideas. For that, I’m grateful.
Was your father a musician? Tell us about your early experiences with music and why you decided to pursue a career in it?
My father is still jammin’ the bass! (Some habits should never die)
I grew up in a very musical family…like…we sing the happy birthday song in 4 part harmony…
So I could never really escape it! (Why would I? Music is the best aint it?)
Being introduced to so many amazing artists at such a young age and seeing so many musicians, including my father, enjoy and really lose themselves within the music ultimately helped me decide that this was for me. I needed that.
What can we expect from your sophomore album?
Full transparency. I’ve really tried to hone in on my sound and songwriting like never before.
This album is very special because my fear of putting an album out is no longer there. The fear comes from not being a better artist than I was yesterday. Also, there’s some saxophone involved again! (if you know, you know)
How does the anticipation of putting out this album feel compared to your first album?
There’s a couple songs on this album i’ve had the pleasure of performing again and I think what makes me excited is singing along with the rest of the listeners come show day. I also just want to connect. There’s a lot of personal experiences on this album that I hope can resonate with others. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to translate my feelings into song and art.
What kind of a Saturday Night is your Saturday Night Session going to get listeners ready for?
ITS SATURDAY NIGHT BABY. Gonna 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, sound system, whatever you got honestly. I’m playing all the music that gets my WEEKENDS really started!