On a snowy day, with school cancelled and roads covered, University of Northern Colorado senior Dakota Perez agreed to talk over a Zoom call in lieu of an in-person meeting to chat about his new single. The change to Zoom was no big deal, though. Perez is used to working remotely for more than just school.
For over two years, Perez worked with his friend and former UNC student, Edgar Osornio, across the ocean, sending files back and forth from Greeley to Germany, to create a song.
The song, titled “Right Here,” came out on all major streaming platforms on Jan. 28.
The two met years ago when Osornio, originally from Mexico, was studying abroad at UNC. At the time, Perez was working as a domestic mentor for UNC’s Cross-Cultural Buddy Program. They stayed in touch when Osornio ended up moving to Hamburg.
The story of Perez and Osornio’s collaboration is one of passion and perseverance. Without a big budget or a record label, writing, recording and producing is difficult enough. But with Osornio living half a world away, these existing difficulties collided with drastic time zone differences.
Thankfully, this was neither of theirs’ first rodeo. Perez had already recorded an original song with Griffin White, a friend from his home state of South Dakota, back in 2019, serving as a learning experience in just how much goes into recording a song.
“I didn’t know too much on the production route at that point,” Perez said. “That was kind of my first little endeavor into it.”
Osornio, on the other hand, has been producing music for years, and already has a handful of original songs under his belt. Both artists were able to bring their knowledge of songwriting and performance together to make a song that sounds as cleanly produced as a major-label release.
Sonically, the song is a slick dance-pop track that combines keyboard, a heavy bassline, funky guitars, deep vocals from Perez and a recurring horn line. That horn line was written by Perez and recorded with the help of John Matthews, a doctoral student and adjunct professor at UNC.
Perez wants to stress that he is not the only independent musician in Northern Colorado. He specifically recommended that people listen to Greely-based singer Rev. da IV, who some UNC students may already know from his performance at the halftime show for a Jan. 27 men’s basketball home game.
Apart from just local artists, Perez wants people to actively look for more independent musicians to support in general.
“That goes beyond just streaming the music,” Perez said. “Following, sharing and anything in that realm is really important as well.”
Perez is already working on another single that he hopes will be released within the next few months. He also says there may be another collaboration with Osornio coming somewhere down the line. Until then, he’s just glad people are finally getting to listen to the song that’s been his passion project for over two years.
“It’s been such a long time coming, and I’ve heard it so many times at this point,” Perez said. “It’s really fun to get feedback from fresh ears on it.”