[Locals Only] Costa Mesa's Dan Krikorian on His Transformation from Athlete to Recording Artist

Jock Rock

Costa Mesa singer/strummer Dan Krikorian has been charming crowds—especially the ladies—with his mellow, melodic love songs for more than two years now. A dedication to playing runs through Krikorian’s veins, whether it’s chord progressions or lay-up drills: He played basketball in high school, and actually didn’t start playing guitar until college. He’s already released two albums—his 2008 debut Oxford Street and last year’s Colors and Chords. When you get to know the man behind the music, he’s actually humbled by his newfound talent. Late bloomer? Nope, Krikorian’s timing is just right.

OC Weekly: Since you used to play basketball, who is your favorite NBA team?

Dan Krikorian: Oh, I’m a really big Lakers fan. My mom’s side of the family is from Boston, and they’re huge Celtic fans. Needless to say, that creates serious issues.

Is being a musician something you always secretly had in the back of your mind?

[Laughs] No, actually. It wasn’t even something I dreamed of in high school or college, for the most part. I took an “intro to guitar” class at Chapman University for a semester and couldn’t get enough of it. I just kept at it, and now here I am!

So is that when you got your first guitar? At Chapman?

Yeah, I was 19 when I took that class. Well, unless you wanna count the recorder I had in fifth grade.

Is your family musically inclined? 

Well, my sisters have great voices and have appeared as background singers on both of my albums. My brother also played the cajon [a box drum] in my band before he left for school and often writes with me. They’re all very talented. I actually may be the least.

Do you ever get nervous when it’s time to hit the stage? 

I do get a little nervous before I get up there, but once I’m up on stage, it feels like I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Is music a full-time thing for you, or do you have a day job?

I’m also a basketball coach at my old high school and have started my own sports/ fitness-training business called Krikorian Fitness. Please put that in there. Shameless plug, I know.

Who is that one artist whom you dream about collaborating with?

Without a doubt, Joe Purdy. He’s one of the greatest songwriters out there and it’d be amazing to work with him.

How does your second album differ from your first?

You know, both albums are kind of like snapshots of where I was at the time as a songwriter and musician. With Oxford Street, everything was so raw and new, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I was learning on the fly and loving every minute of it. Those songs are still so personal. With Colors and Chords, we were really trying to portray a more mature musical and personal perspective of things, and hopefully a kind of blueprint of things to come.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a career in the music industry?

Make the music you love and respect everyone you meet along the way. You never know who might be willing to lend a helping hand. 

What’s next for you and the band?

I have a couple of great shows planned here in Orange County before heading out to the East Coast for a tour. Then I’ll start recording my third album sometime in the spring. I’m really excited to get back in the studio and do it all over again.

Dan Krikorian and his band perform with Ruby Viloria, Kyle Williams and Hollowell at the Gypsy Lounge, 23600 Rockfield Blvd., Ste. 3A, Lake Forest, (949) 206-9990; www.thegypsylounge.com. Sat., 8 p.m. 21+.

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