Danny Murcia, CC '14, is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter in a way that most students who describe themselves that way aren't: He will be featured in Pitbull's new album, 'Global Warming,' to be released on Nov. 19.
Murcia has worked with former 'American Idol' judge and music producer Kara DioGuardi, Grammy Award-winning production company The Messengers (who produced hits such as 'Never Say Never' and 'Mistletoe'), the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger, Will.i.am, and Pitbull.
"It's been a wild ride, really," Murcia said in reference to his experience with the Pitbull album. "Basically, Iíve kind of gone from one set of hands to the other as a writer."
In the second semester of his freshman year, Murcia secured an internship at Atlantic Records. Although he avoided taking advantage of his internship as a means of sharing his music, Murcia got a feel for "the do's and don'ts that apply in the biz."
The internship also provided him with several names of people who were looking for talent, so he began to send his music out to those names. The song featured in Pitbull's new album is the first song he sent out for labels to hear.
Murcia continued to network within the industry, and eventually connected with Pitbull's manager.
"Each person plays a pivotal role when you're a nobody. They can do so much for you because you don't have any contacts to begin with," he said.
Murcia's demo ended up in the hands of Pitbull himself, who reportedly enjoyed it—a rumor backed up by Murcia's inclusion on the album. Although Pitbull asked Murcia to sing his demo on the album, Murcia initially turned him down.
"I want to wait and prove that I can write hits first," he said.
However, Pitbull sent the demo to a few other people and nothing worked. Eventually Murcia complied: Now, listeners will hear Murcia's own voice and writing as featured in Pitbull's song "Outta Nowhere."
Murcia ended up being featured on three songs in the album, did multiple cuts with Scherzinger, and even wrote a hook for Will.i.am's next album. Now, Murcia is recording his own album, meeting with other industry professionals, and hoping to sign an artist deal.
Murcia began singing as a baby and learned to play the guitar at age seven. Although he originally planned to go to school for jazz guitar, the western Florida native decided to pursue the liberal arts at Columbia. An English major, Murcia sees a beneficial relationship between his songwriting and studies.
"It gives you ideas, it gives you stories," he said. "It's all about crafting stories at the end of the day ... making emotions believable."
However, Murcia said that the balance between schoolwork and his music career is an incessant juggling act, spent writing on a timeline for professors and music industry professionals alike.
"My manager and artists are depending on songs, so I have to meet deadlines," he said—and given the high-profile list of artists who have seen and requested Murciaís writing, the pressure is on.