With his shaggy blond locks, clear green eyes, and sun-kissed face dappled with freckles that make teenage girls downright giddy, 16-year-old songwriter Cody Lovaas couldn’t look—or sound—any more San Diego (never mind that he was born in Dallas).
Photo by Sparks Fly Images
Since being discovered by Jason Mraz at an Oceanside coffeehouse last year while singing catchy acoustic-guitar songs packed with Zen-like wisdom about anything from surfing to relationships, this musical wunderkind recently picked up the San Diego Music Award for Best New Artist, making him the youngest nominee ever. You might say his future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear… well, you know.
I’ve had your song “Happy” stuck in my head all day.
I don’t play that song anymore. My music has evolved since then.
A musician that I write with, Aaron Bowen, calls it “surf warrior music.” It has more edge. Back then I was talking about surfing and donuts but now I’m talking about girls and relationship stuff—the real deal.
How did you get hooked up with Jason Mraz?
Jason discovered me in a coffee shop in Oceanside called Hill Street Café. He likes to go to these open-mic nights and not tell anyone. He played some songs, and then I played some songs, and he liked what he heard and told his manager about me. It was crazy because, oh my God, Jason Mraz, he was that guy for me, so to say that he “opened” for me, technically… I don’t know where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for that.
There’s some good wisdom in your songs, especially for someone so young. Where does that come from?
I’ve just learned from experience. The biggest thing is just to find what makes you happy, not what makes anyone else happy. Even just saying, “I need to get in the water every day,” it clears my head.
It’s been a big year for you. What are some highlights?
I’ve grown as a musician and a person. Opening for Ziggy Marley and playing with Jason Mraz and Donavon Frankenreiter and writing with some amazing musicians, it teaches me
What are you looking forward to this coming year?
Touring. We might be going to Copenhagen, or do a tour up the coast or in Europe.
Do you come from a musical family?
My dad is from Texas and my mom is from Norway. My dad cannot clap to a beat or sing on pitch, but my mom is an amazing singer and plays the flute, so I think I might’ve gotten my musical side from her.
Will your mom make a cameo on stage with you one of these days?
I don’t think she has the guts. I asked her to come and perform but she said she’d throw up.
Cody Lovaas will be releasing a new single every other month beginning in January; catch him live at Carlsbad Village Theatre on January 10. codylovaas.com