With a host of options like UC San Diego, San Diego State University, University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), many musicians find their way here, performing after their studies. Such is the case with singer-songwriter Kris McCoy.
Originally based in Arizona, McCoy relocated here in 2011 to pursue a bachelor’s degree at PLNU. On Saturday,
Aug. 23, McCoy, will host a special afternoon CD-release show for his new CD, “Toes in the Sand,” at Raglan Public House from 2 to 5 p.m. The event will feature live acoustic music, drink specials and food, with part of the proceeds going to the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation.
A veteran of the Arizona music scene, McCoy has previously released three albums with two different bands, Shallow Water’s 2002 debut album, “Two Dollar Sailboat,” and its 2006 follow-up album, “What’s Her Name?,” as well as The Half Smile’s 2010 album, “Similar Distant View.” He has also landed prime opening spots there, including gigs with such acts as Bare Naked Ladies, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Live and The Flys.
“We’d vacationed here for years,” McCoy said. “I ended up staying when I went for my second bachelor’s degree in music ministry up at PNLU.”
While McCoy didn’t perform during his first few years here, he was accumulating new material.
“I really enjoy the creative process, being able to take a thought or idea and turn it into a song,” he said. His delay in releasing new music since his arrival is down to timing. “Part of it was finishing school, but I have been writing music over that time. I finally got to the point that I had a couple of tracks I wanted to take the time to get in the studio with. Getting those back from duplication, it’s time now.”
With the exception of the drums, McCoy plays everything on the album. “I’m very proud to be in a position to be a multi-instrumentalist,” he said.
For McCoy music has been a lifelong obsession.
“I’ve been playing one instrument or another for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I remember being a little kid and I got my first ukulele. Not that I really knew how to play it, but I ran around with that,” McCoy laughed. “From there I started playing trumpet in third grade, transitioning to guitar in junior high.”
While today he cites Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz as prime inspiration, in his younger days, McCoy’s inspiration was much more basic. “I loved listening to the radio, all genres, all types of music. I had such a passionate love for music, if it was on I would sing and listen to it.”
McCoy has found the local community welcoming, but does note one big difference between San Diego and Arizona.
“One of the big things is that Arizona is so spread out,” he said. “You can’t really focus on one community because there might only be one place to play there. San Diego is much closer together, especially Ocean Beach, which is a wonderful, tight-knit community. It just has a small-town feel, without necessarily being a small town.”
Though still new to the San Diego music scene, McCoy is a seasoned veteran with more than a decade of hard work behind him as he starts his next phase in his new hometown. Does he still like music as much as when first started out?
“I get more joy now,” he said. “With my experience in music theory, I’m at a level now that I can actually really understand the ins and outs of music in a way that I didn’t even know was possible 15 or 20 years ago. It’s made music that much more enjoyable for me. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
• KRIS McCOY: Saturday, Aug. 23, RAGLAN PUBLIC HOUSE, 1851 Bacon St. 2 p.m. www.reverbnation.com/krismc-coy.