Producing pop, EDM and Latin hits, multi-talented DalePlay showcases his wide-ranging abilities as a writer, producer and DJ. By age twenty, he won his first BMI Latin award, and since then he’s worked with heavy-hitters such as Becky G, Diplo and Skrillex. Signed to Warner Chappell, he’s become a prominent emerging figure within his industry, but it was not an easy road to success.
Jesus “DalePlay” Herrera grew up bilingual as an immigrant from Venezuela, moving to Miami at the age of thirteen. At eighteen, he suffered from a debilitating stroke. Though unable to walk, speak or eat, he immersed himself in videos about music production, learning everything he could about the techniques.
Influenced by both English and Spanish music, DalePlay stays true to his Latin roots within his production. One of the most notable artists he’s collaborated with is singer/actress Jennifer Lopez. Released in 2018 and best described as sexy and provocative, is Jennifer Lopez’s Latin pop hit “El Anillo.”
I sat down with DalePlay to deconstruct “El Anillo”, discussing everything from his unique producing style to working with a musical icon.
Brain: The Thought Process
OTW: Can you walk us through the producing process for “El Anillo.”
Sure, I get a phone call on a Thursday from Sony and no pressure! I just needed to come up with a hit overnight for the AMAZING Jennifer Lopez, because she was coming in next Friday. NO PRESSURE RIGHT? So on the same evening, I took my time to go through her music, and I studied Jennifer Lopez like I was studying for a math test in school. I wanted to get that ‘A’ very badly. At that time I was listening a lot to Brazilian funk or “Funk carioca,” as it’s known in Brazil, and I thought that Jennifer needed something fresh, something she hasn’t done before. So I slept with my boots on (honestly I did) and made my way to the studio early the next day. As I get there, I get another call from Sony saying that Jennifer was coming to the studio on Monday actually, not Friday! So EVEN BETTER, MORE PRESSURE FOR ME. I then showed what I’ve worked on so far from the night before to my co-writers and one of them, Oscarcito, sent a voice note to Jennifer to show her the drums, asked her what she felt about it, and she liked it! We get this green light so we keep working on it! The title of the song “El Anillo” (ring) came to us after we read some gossips columns over “Is Jennifer getting engaged or not?” We thought it was a dope title, and we stuck with it as it made sense. The song took us about 30 minutes to write and that’s pretty much it. On Monday, Jennifer came in and played the song over and over again, and she absolutely loved it.
Heart: The Core Emotion
OTW: How did the track resonate with you?
What resonated with me was the freedom of creativity I had at all times with the song. Freedom is basically what my music is based upon. No freedom, no creation!
OTW: What was your experience like working with Jennifer Lopez?
Jennifer Lopez is an incredible artist who inspired me to jump out of my comfort zone and make something different. Apart from getting inspired by watching the great hustler that she is, she gave me that freedom to create too (I like that shit a lot). Seeing a woman like her working hard at all times and being able to embrace “El Anillo” like she has done, it’s something that affected me a lot. And DAMN, that woman is beautiful!
Legs: The Means to Take Off
OTW: What really inspired you to become a producer?
I started messing with music by the age of 16, as I desperately wanted to help my family. We left Venezuela, and we were facing so many financial problems back then and all I wanted was a gateway out of it. So yeah, nothing romantic about it at the time, I just wanted to make money period. But money didn’t come as fast as I needed it, so I left that aside as the need for money wasn’t enough fuel to keep me going. But by the age of 18, I found myself debilitated. I’ve suffered a brain stroke due to a surgery, and I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, and my left side was badly damaged. All I had was my will to keep me going, it was just me, myself and I. I refused to let myself go; there were times I would refuse to be fed just so I could push myself harder to understand that I could overcome myself, that my mind was stronger and my resistance was each day. So for a way out, I once again looked at music with second intentions and she looked back at me and ultimately saved me. I fell in love with her for what she gave me without asking much in return, but just my belief in her fully. I spent a year at home with a lot of free time, learning on how to walk again, how to speak again and so I chose to do something else with all that learning. Music was all I wanted to know about and since then I haven’t stopped!
Hands: Advice For Producers Who Need A Lift
OTW: What advice would you give a young producer looking to make a name for themselves in the industry?
There must be something you are passionate about, something that challenges you so don’t give up because there must be something!
OTW: You overcame an extreme hardship in your life and came out of it so much stronger, what motivational words would you give to others dealing with a similar situation?
Find yourself something to fall in love with, fall in love with it hard! Don’t cheat on it, persist on it. I fell for music and I guess she fell for me too.
OTW: Lastly, who are your Ones to Watch?
Definitely Oscarcito, Servando and looking forward to work with new writers and artists.