Copenhagen, Denmark



Behind the Music

My initial thoughts when approaching this project were that it would be an interesting challenge. But as I continued to read and become more immersed in the world of The Outlaw Ocean, I began connecting with its message and purpose. Growing up on an island, I spent many days looking out into the distance seeing nothing but endless water and contemplating existence. I’ve always had a deep fascination with the ocean, so this collaboration has given me new things to think about and a whole new understanding of something I previously didn’t think twice about. 

Ian’s engaging reporting made me feel like I was out on the ocean with him hearing the tales of enslaved crewmates and witnessing the terrifying beauty of The Outlaw Ocean. Each chapter was eye-opening in its own way — a rare peek inside a world unknown to many and an exercise in compassion towards situations foreign to us. The immersive storytelling helped fuel the emotion behind the story, which translated into my music. My goal is to convey a sense of hopefulness and motivation — a call to action as well as a sense of wonder and inspiration mixed with reality. My intention is to help spread awareness about this important subject.

About Otesla

Jonathan Tesla, aka Otesla, is a lofi hip-hop artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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