The sounds of Shuggie Otis and Michael McDonald inspired a man to write a song. A couple of Mondays later, that song inspired an Identity. The name is Otis McDonald. The mission? Good Music.
From the mind and ears of producer/multi-instrumentalist, Joe Bagale, comes a sound that is fresh but tangibly rooted in nostalgia. When taking a listen, one may recall the soul of the 60s or the funk of the 70s. Or perhaps it’s pop radio from the 80s or the boom bap beats of the late 90s. What ever it may be, Otis McDonald is the sound of an artist who manifests a lesson in versatility and growing perspective.
The production can be dense at times, yet through it’s syncopated rhythms and unexpected harmony, Bagale is able to find the space that counts. Starting out as a studio experiment, Otis McDonald was developed over a 3 month period which found Bagale writing short snippets of music, playing all of the instruments, sampling those snippets, playing more instruments and and eventually creating entirely new songs.
Musically it’s both playful and emotive, while giving listeners a sense of optimism and joy. Just because it’s rooted in the blues, doesn’t mean it has to have the blues. There are beats that’ll make you wanna sweat on the dance floor. A thumpin’ bass that inspires folks to make love. Synths, guitars and horns that’ll cut through to your core, and a voice that reminds us all what it’s like to be human.
In 2015, Bagale put out 30 tracks for free, under the name Otis McDonald. Released as copyright free music, exclusively through the YouTube audio library, these tracks have been downloaded over 5 million times, streamed over 10 million times and already have appeared in thousands of youtube creators’ videos. Take a second and search Otis McDonald on YouTube and you’ll find pages upon pages of videos featuring these songs. This being a very unusual way to release music, it may be the best music nobody has ever heard. Funny how the business works. As of 2016, Bagale has formed the Otis McDonald live experience, featuring some of San Francisco and Oakland’s finest players. He’s recorded new music, soon to be released for sale and for streaming, and at least 10 new free tracks for the YouTube audio library, due out later this year.
Combining the skills of a musician, with the power of both old and new technology, the sound of Otis McDonald was born, reminding us that music is a universal language that will always have a past and always have a future.