Press play on the Hit Your Mark EP and you can almost see the needle drop as the platter spins. Rough around the edges in all the right ways, the record breathes and moves. Drawing from mid-century R&B, soul, funk, and groove, Hit Your Mark is a well-mixed antidote to what so much of contemporary music is missing. Stuttering drums kick along, as thick brass blows smoke under the streetlight. At the wheel of this rhythmic Cadillac sits DeLuca...his voice the smooth caress of plush leather, inviting the listener to slide a little closer...
Born and raised on the East Coast, DeLuca grew up steeped in music. Yet in 2010, with a business degree from the University of Vermont, his dreams of a creative life were nowhere in sight; held back by insecurity, self-comparison, and a fear of failure. He never fully settled into his adopted home of New York City, and following a messy breakup he fell into the fast-paced lifestyle and the escapism of chasing good times. His own career on hold, DeLuca wound up supporting other musicians as a member of the industry, joining the marketing team at VEVO in 2013. “After spending a year seeing artists come through the office, I finally mustered up the courage to give it a go. I knew there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t do it myself...I was the only one holding me back” says DeLuca. He moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to pursue a music career full time.
Fate smiled on our fortune seeker, and in 2016 a mutual friend introduced DeLuca to producer Louis Bartolini (Blimes Brixton) at Lineage Studios in Hollywood, CA. “We agreed to do a track that I had written. I wanted it to sound like a Justin Timberlake song” DeLuca grins. It didn’t turn out the way they hoped, but the duo knew they had good energy, and decided to write a song together from the ground up. Album standout “Good Feeling” was written in one night. The vocals you hear were the first take, and DeLuca, having sung acapella throughout high school and college, reveled in building the sound around huge harmonies. That spark of inspiration was soon a fire, and each subsequent song was developed in a mere one or two sessions.
Lyrically, DeLuca paints broad-stroke mediations on life and love that are instantly relatable, and imminently timeless. “I write about what I know. Going out on the town and trying to find some lovin’. Or, staying with a woman who treats you like shit, but you do whatever she wants because she’s so beautiful. You know, the usual” laughs DeLuca.
In addition to Bartolini and DeLuca, Hit Your Mark features bassist Nate Light (JR Rotem, Nick Offerman), pianist Ben Salk, guitarist Karl Kerefoot (Lord Huron), and rising talent VIAA (Anderson .Paak, Willow Smith) on backing vocals for “Gimmie Love” and “Hit Your Mark”.
In a time when mainstream music – and perhaps life in general - is increasingly synthetic, overproduced,
and stuffed full of unnecessary electronic elements, simply for the sake of being au courant, Doug DeLuca has a few recommendations. Life, sometimes, just doesn’t go your way. The triumph is in the pursuit. Dress up a little bit. Take the time to mix yourself a proper Old Fashioned*. Put on some music made by humans playing instruments. Go chase love (or at least lust). He’ll see you out there.
“All you need in this lifetime, baby, is a moment to breathe...”
* In a rocks glass, muddle a few dashes Angostura bitters, one-half ounce bourbon, one-half teaspoon sugar, and a fat strip of orange zest to release the orange oil. Add one and a half ounces bourbon and plenty of ice. Stir until well chilled.