Were you watching the television show Katie recently? You may have noticed a performance on the show by rapper Pitbull and a new singer named Danny Mercer, who performed a track together. It’s a major change in style for the rapper and it’s a major shift in lifestyle for Mercer, a recent college graduate who is now making a huge splash into the world of music. If the song’s a hit, the payoff will be huge, but it helps that Mercer has some major backing already at such a young age. He’s got the chops and the charisma and he’s ready to pop.
Mercer was born Danny Murcia in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Weston, FL at 6 months with his family. He developed a liking for music at an early age, learning the guitar at age 7 and writing songs by age 14. He joined the class of 2014 at Columbia University in New York City, and that big city adventure led him to an internship at Atlantic Records in the spring of 2011. That role provided him with a few contacts and he sent his demo tapes out, one of which came to Pitbull‘s attention via his manager. After some initial hesitation, Mercer lent his voice to the chorus of the rapper’s song, “Outta Nowhere”, which has now become the fifth single from the rapper’s album Global Warming. It was just announced as a single last week and went to radio this week at the CHR format, picking up 21 adds in total, including commitments in major cities like New York City, Las Vegas, Sacramento and San Francisco. It’s sure to pick up more next week as programmers return from the Memorial Day weekend.
In addition to his single of his, Mercer co-penned two other tracks on Pitbull‘s album Global Warming. He also co-wrote Nicole Scherzinger‘s “Boomerang”, which went to #6 in the United Kingdom in March. Singer Frankie J‘s current top ten hit on Spanish radio, “No Te Quiero Ver Con Él”? He was also involved with that song. According to his Twitter profile, Mercer has also worked Akon, The Wanted and will.i.am, providing him a lot of exposure to a great crop of artists as a newcomer in the industry. There’s more – he’s also signed as a solo artists with Columbia Records, with an EP due late this summer. Like college, like label, I guess. He’s a busy guy, but he’s ready to take over and his perseverance and drive are definitely appreciated.
As a “hook singer” (though he’s only known for one song at this point) with a looming solo career ahead of him, there will surely be an attempt to pigeonhole him into the Bruno Mars or Mikky Ekko category, maybe even a Mike Posner type as he’s coming straight out of college into the industry. However, I’d argue that he’s even more well-rounded than even these hit singers. He can obviously play the piano and sing, but he also has jazz aspirations, having initially wanted to study jazz guitar before choosing to go to New York City. He also has a Latin appeal having written songs in Spanish, which could prove really useful down the line. Plenty of singers like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira have used the technique of recording singles in both English and Spanish versions to great success; who says Mercer can’t be next? He writes R&B music, he writes dance music… and let’s face it, the hook of “Outta Nowhere” sounds sonically like it belongs in a OneRepublic song, so he can easily transition into rock. Dare I say he’s a musical chameleon? It’s clear that the guy can work across the spectrum and get the job done while balancing all he has to do in college. Now that he’s graduated early, he can focus solely on his music without any other distractions.
It will be interesting to see what kind of trajectory happens for Mercer, but with Pitbull to help him out for the ride, the dog-eat-dog world of the biz may as well be muzzled while he’s unleashed on the charts.
Liking the sounds of Danny Mercer so far? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.