While the musical gap between the West and East coasts has always been wide, certain songs and artists manage to jump it like Evel Knievel, finding common ground and turning it into sweet sounds.
Deorro’s recent single, “Bailar,” with Elvis Crespo has done just that. It was a dream come true for the California native who grew up in East Los Angeles. Deorro started playing backyard parties in his early teenage years. His sets always had plenty of merengue, and Crespo’s “Suavemente” was a go-to track during the peak hour of his sets. Swap Kobe jerseys for Wade’s number 3 and the parties Deorro played back then are pretty similar to what happens every weekend in West Miami.
“I’m still in shock that I worked on a track with Elvis Crespo. I’m star-struck and have no problem admitting it,” Erick Orrosquieta, known by his fans as Deorro, tells us. The 24-year-old leader of the Panda Funk Movement will headline this Friday night at Story. But life wasn't always so glamorous. Orrosquieta spent a lot of time alone as a kid and never really fit in. This caused him to start the Panda Funk Movement, a pay-it-forward approach to life where music fans uplift one another in times of need. By essentially practicing the principles of PLUR, Deorro's Panda Family support one another, and from time-to-time, Deorro himself honors wishes from the #PandaFam by helping to make someone's day a little better.
It all stems from the isolation Deorro felt in his younger years. “I’ve been there and I don’t won’t other kids to feel the way I felt."
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A lot of time spent home alone working on music seems to be a common recipe for success with musicians, and Orrosquieta’s story isn’t an exception. Since 2012, he’s released more than 150 remixes and originals and has collaborated with Hardwell, Chuckie, Diplo, and more of EDM's biggest names. He’s also dabbled in the pop music world with the massive success of his production, “Five Hours.” It was originally released in April of 2014. A second version with vocals from DyCy titled "Five Hours (Don't Hold Me Back)" was released in October of 2014, and a third version with Chris Brown on vocals titled, “Five More Hours” was released in March of 2015. Essentially, the same track was released and re-released three times in 11 months and grew in popularity each time like a musical snowball.
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“I’ve been working on music for a long time. Before I did my solo DJ-producer thing, I was in a band and we had a girl lead singer, but she couldn’t sing. Every other dude in the band was in love with her so they let it roll, but I was like, 'No! She’s not a good singer! She can’t sing!' I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just wanted to make good music."
Orrosquieta has a lot of respect for his craft and says he’d like to work with other Latin stars, but it’s got to be right. “With Chris Brown, that was one of my old tracks, but moving forward I want to create new music that fits the artist. Like with Pitbull, if I was going to deliver something to him I would want it to be completely fresh,” he adds.
There are no plans for Elvis Crespo to stop by Story on Friday, but the singer is performing in Curaçao on Saturday night, which means the chance for a super-Suavemente cameo is — we can dream! — possible. (All roads to the Caribbean go through Miami, after all.) So say a little prayer to the merengue gods and if the stars are aligned, perhaps Deorro will rip the roof off the place alongside one of his heroes.
Deorro. 11 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-2424; storymiami.com. Tickets cost $30 plus fees via flavorus.com.