The Coast News Group
14-year-old Cody Lovaas performs at Pacific Station in Encinitas. He’s set to record his debut album in the coming weeks, another boost to his growing profile. Courtesy photo

Young musician goes where passion takes him

ENCINITAS — In only a short time, 14-year-old Cody Lovaas has made a name for himself. 

Many know the singer-songwriter through gigs he’s played at spots like the House of Blues, Anaheim Stadium and Oceanside Amphitheater. Soon to record his debut album, Lovaas is poised to make even more of an impression on the music world.

“I have a lot of ideas that I’m excited to get out and capture,” said Lovaas, who lives in Carlsbad.

Once he steps foot into Big Fish Recording Studio in Encinitas, and later Hurley Studio in Orange County, he’ll lay down nine tracks with a full band in the vein of zen-like artists like Jack Johnson.

Like Johnson, surfing fuels Lovaas’ music, and vice versa. Fittingly, Lovaas refers to choruses as “the set waves that keep coming back,” and when surfing, he “feels the rhythm of the ocean.”

But Lovaas is drawing from other places beyond his love for the beach. For instance, he wrote “Just Care” in response to classmates who were getting bullied.

Further, at one point during the interview, he began strumming his guitar and sang the first verse to “Her and Me.” As the song goes: “I love it when she complains to me that we don’t spend enough time together,” a lyric inspired by an affectionate conversation his parents had.

Lovaas first started playing guitar at 7 years old. But he wasn’t totally sold on the instrument. That was until he asked his guitar teacher about the benefits.

“I asked him if guitar is how you get the girls,” Lovaas said, adding with a laugh: “He said yes, so I said that sounds good.”

The guitar’s potential for attracting girls aside, his passion for the instrument steadily grew. Along his musical journey, he’s learned how to play the ukulele. He’s also focused on developing his voice, which seems to have paid off. With ease, his vocals filled the large family room of his home when he played some of his songs.

“He puts what I teach him into action very quickly,” said Lovaas’ vocal coach Taylin Rae. “Best of all, he’s very humble.”

The comment was echoed by Lovaas’ parents, Brad and El. They noted their son doesn’t seek out publicity (indeed, The Coast News requested the interview with Lovaas.) Longtime music producer Alan Sanderson, who will enter the studio with Lovaas soon, agreed.

“This is the first time I’m producing someone so young, and he’s been great to talk and work with,” said Sanderson, who has recorded with the likes of Elvis Costello and Fleetwood Mac.

“Cody has a lot of raw talent, something I look for,” he added.

For his part, Lovaas said he’s “thrilled” to start recording soon. Along with his chops, he brings a unique perception of music that’s also helped shape his appreciation for the form.

Colors and certain notes are linked in his mind, so he can see swirls of color and patterns when hearing music, a trait known as synesthesia.

“Certain parts of the voice have color, too,” Lovaas said.

As well as studio time, Lovaas has gigs lined up, including Jan. 22 at the New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego.

When asked whether he thinks he’ll be a full-time musician when older, Lovaas said he’s not sure what’s in the cards. He’s excited the near future is dedicated to songwriting and performing, but he’ll follow his muse from there.

“It’s a passion thing for me — whatever happens just does,” Lovaas said.