The career trajectory of Cody Lovaas (pronounced low-vahs), a 14-year-old surfer from Carlsbad, is hard to believe. After playing a handful of shows last summer at the all-ages arts center Queen Bee’s in North Park and certain community events (such as last weekend’s Encinitas Street Fair and the Art Walk in Little Italy), the singer/songwriter/guitarist was invited to record an album for action-sports company Hurley, which let him use their i-house recording studios in Costa Mesa. The album, Dropping In, was produced by Grammy-winner Alan Sanderson (Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Switchfoot). Lovaas wrote all nine songs.
Then in February, the high school freshman played before another San Diego pop star, Jason Mraz, at an open mic in a coffee house in Oceanside.
“We talked about surfing,” says Lovaas, about meeting Mraz. “He gave me some advice. He said when a song comes to you, always write it down or you’ll lose it.”
Then, two weeks later, Lovaas’s father got a surprise call from Bill Silva, the longtime San Diego promoter who is now based in L.A., where he oversees his concert-promotion firm and a management company that handles Mraz as a client.
“We went up to his office in West Hollywood,” says Lovaas. “We met his entire management staff.” Bill Silva Management has a staff of 12. Lovaas brought his guitar and played for Silva’s people. It went well. Silva agreed to manage him.
Lovaas’s songwriting style is reminiscent of Jack Johnson. His emotion-dripped vocals bring comparisons to Adele. But his youth and fresh-faced appeal evoke comparisons to Justin Bieber, and both Silva and his new artist don’t want that.
“We’re not looking to make him the next Justin Bieber,” says Civia Caroline, director of marketing for Bill Silva Management. “We are aware that he’s 14. We don’t want to create something that he’s not.”
Lovaas’s father says he was impressed with Silva’s even-handed approach to his son’s career. “Cody never wanted to go the Disney or Nickelodeon route. Fame has never been his driving force. The love of music is. [Silva’s] biggest point was that we take this slowly and let it grow organically. It has to be done right. No push. No pull.”