Cody Lovaas is a no-nonsense songwriter. When he’s got a guitar in hand or he’s behind the mic, he’s all business—he’s atypically studious about the pop music he listens to and draws influence from, and he’s even more serious about breaking any mold critics would try to fit him in. When he wants to relax and hang out with his friends, though, you can find him at the beach, surfboard in hand. And while some might view the seriousness and dedication Cody puts into his songwriting as contrary to his love of the ocean, of catching waves and simply letting go, this perception couldn’t be more off-base. In fact, it’s this duality that keeps the young star unpretentious and gives his burgeoning career meaning: there’d be no Cody Lovaas, incredibly talented musician, without Cody Lovaas, easygoing SoCal surfer.
“I guess music and surfing are mixed for me; they’re very related,” Cody says of this dichotomous personality—the laidback surfer dude versus the serious songster. “Surfing is something that keeps me humble and keeps me grounded and keeps me in love with the earth and music is something that helps me express everything else that’s going on in my life.”
Cody’s story as a musician starts with the sort of curiosity that led him both to the waves of Southern California and to the beginning of his songwriting career: “I was in the car with my mom,” he says, “and basically, I straight-up asked her if I could start playing the drums—at seven years old, that would’ve made for a really loud house. So she said, ‘What about a different instrument? How about the guitar? Girls like guitarists.’ Of course, I asked her to sign me up as soon as possible.”
"In developing an ear for the artists he’s come to admire—the John Mayers, Ray Lamontagnes and even Van Morrisons of the industry—Cody began his growth from a budding guitarist into a serious singer-songwriter. And these days, he’s all about pop contemporaries like The Weeknd, Bishop Briggs, Kaleo, and BØRNS. He channels these influences, using them to inform his songwriting and moving outside tradition to create wholly original tunes. “I take songwriting more seriously than anything else in my life and guitar has become a major passion in my life. My evolution as a songwriter comes from being in sessions and writing with a lot of incredible writers,” Cody offers. “When I started writing, I was 13—and I always write based on what’s going on in my life, whether it’s something that’s happened to me firsthand, or something my friend is going through, it’s always authentic.
”When he grew frustrated with the severe methods of his first teacher, Cody immediately wanted to quit. In order to do so, his mom told him he’d have to fire his teacher. “What she did for me is probably the best thing anyone’s ever done for me in my life. I was seven; I couldn’t fire my teacher. So I asked her if I could get a new teacher—and he was awesome. He taught me the songs I wanted to learn. He got me into singing. He just showed me his love for music, and I think I just grabbed a bit of it and ran with it and grew more than I thought possible. And today, I don’t think I could love anything more than I love music.”
And Cody, once he found his passion for writing, grew quickly. Discovered at age 14 by Jason Mraz while performing at a coffee shop, he found himself opening for Mraz’s 2015 North American Tour, and continued on the road supporting artists like Ziggy Marley, Switchfoot, and Donavon Frankenreiter. He won Best New Artist at the 2014 San Diego Music Awards, and was nominated for Best Singer-Songwriter at the same awards ceremony the very next year. And the acclaim hasn’t stopped there. The San Diego Troubadour has let readers know “Lovaas has emerged as a major talent,” and AXScites his lyricism as “upbeat, mature, and meaningful.”
It’s been said by people in the industry that Cody “has a heart of gold”—that he’s “always giving back. He is growing into a shining star.” And when it comes to giving back, Cody, according to Popdust, “...is quick to understand the implications of the spotlight and what it means to change lives.” He regularly volunteers with organizations like SurfAid and Natural High, donating his time whenever he can.
Now, as he continues to hone his songwriting abilities, Cody is preparing to release his first major single, “Lie,” an aural and lyrical confluence of genres he feels truly represents him and where his music is going. “I just shot a video for ‘Lie’ that’s awesome,” he says. “I think this song kind of relates to me as a human maybe more than it relates to me as a musician right now... it kind of shows the less serious side of me, the side that just wants to go out with girls and hang out with my friends.”
As Cody Lovaas continues to develop as a musical talent—as a serious singer-songwriter—he remains mindful of where he’s come from and who’s gotten him there. And for Cody, there’s always the waves of the SoCal surf to come home to.