University of Nebraska at Omaha student William Danze’s debut album, “Makin’ Sunshine,” hits streaming services later this month and is full of uplifting melodies, silky vocals and efficacious tracks. Danze, a singer-songwriter, describes his music style as alternative rock—similar to the works of John Mayor or Steely Dan.
As a sophomore at UNO, Danze has been balancing school, work, writing a screenplay and producing his debut album. However, the Omaha native has been pondering breaking into the music scene for a few years now.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, it just took me a while to actually do it partly because of how expensive recording can be, and I just really didn’t know yet what direction my music was going in,” Danze said.
To supplement the recording costs, Danze recorded tracks in his basement, which are already available on Spotify. He caught a break when, through a network of his mother’s co-workers, he was put in touch with the owner of a local recording studio.
K&L Studios, operated by Kevin Martinez, gave Danze the opportunity to record his album. Martinez operates K&L from the basement of his home in west Omaha, which he converted into a professional recording studio.
“[Martinez] is someone that takes a lot of pride in his work and wants to make sure it’s sounding its best before other people hear it,” Danze said.
He continued, “I listened to some of the stuff he’s already done and really liked it, so I decided this is as good a time as ever to do this. I always knew if I didn’t do it, I’d regret it.”
Danze credits the early work he did in his own basement for getting him ready to record for the first time in a real recording studio. “Since I was recording in my basement for a while, I was kind of conditioned. I knew that recording wasn’t just ‘let’s play music and press record, done,’” he says. “It’s a lot more work, and a lot more tedious than what people might realize.”
Some of Danze’s influences are The Almond Brothers Band, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, The Beatles and more contemporary artists such as John Mayor and Jack Johnson.
“It’s interesting when you see the influences kind of make their way into your music,” Danze said. “I’m pretty sure how they got in there, it was who I was listening to or who it was inspiring me to write that.”
Danze’s expertise lies in the electric guitar and acoustic rhythms that can be heard on the seven debut tracks, but the album also features accompanying work from other local musicians. Omaha Street Percussion member Justin Fisher on drums, Arron Hadenfedt on bass guitar and Jacob West added the trumpet instrumentals to the album. Other Maverick ties to the album include UNO sophomore Tom White, who was the creative mind behind the psychedelic cover art of Danze’s album.
“Because my studio is so low quality compared to [Martinez’s], it was always amazing to see where the music was going. To see what I started with, and then working with those musicians and seeing what the songs became in the end was amazing,” Danze said.
The creative intent of Danze’s album is to make the listener feel inspired, content and be persuaded to “make their own sunshine in the world.”
“I like the idea of actually manufacturing sunshine,” Danze said. “Not just going outside and feeling the sunshine, but in life making your own sunshine, basically making your own happiness essentially.”
“Makin’ Sunshine” releases later this month on April 27, and it can be found on Spotify and the Apple Music Store.