John Koah
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John Koah

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | INDIE

Los Angeles, CA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter




"Following his passion: Hermosa Beach singer/songwriter John Koah releases new single and will perform at Mickie Finnz Oct. 30. By Michael Hixon"

Hermosa Beach singer/songwriter John Koah was an extroverted child, very interested in acting. All that changed when he went into high school and he became insular and “clammed up,” but he still had a desire to entertain and express himself in front of others. His sister was dating a musician, Harry Traynham, who was like a father figure to him. Koah watched him live for the first time at 13 years old and then the singer bought him a guitar.
“I quickly started picking it up and quickly started joining him on stage,” Koah recalled. “I think I was 16 the first time I played with him on stage. I knew just from watching him, that is what I wanted to do.”
Koah said he was “spellbound” by an electric version of Pink Floyd's “The Wall” that Traynham played.
“He had my full focus and attention. The place could have been burning down and my eyes wouldn’t have left the stage. It was that powerful for me,” Koah said.
Koah, who will be performing at Mickie Finnz in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., knew he wanted to pursue music full time when he was 19 years old and in college. Traynham did express concern about his enthusiasm for music, but when Koah's father died before his 21st birthday, he knew it was time to go after his dreams.
“I felt free of obligations to other people,” Koah said. “Losing a parent can really just shift your whole world almost in an instant. It certainly was a turning point in my life. I’m going to do what I want to do.”
Koah packed up and moved to California after he graduated college. While he never lived in the “cesspool” of Hollywood, he would carry around a PA system and play for free whenever and where ever he could.
Koah was in the Hollywood scene for 10 years before moving to the South Bay. He said the upside of playing in the South Bay is that the gigs are usually paid, but in many cases, the club owners want covers ahead of original music.
“If you’re a writer, that’s not what you want to do,” Koah said of playing covers. “On the other hand, you need to pay your bills. At that point it becomes a tough math problem. How do I achieve my dreams to fulfill myself artistically and still pay the bills? I haven't figured it out, but I’m working on it.”
Koah took a leap of faith and dumped his day job to focus solely on his music, but that is a challenge in the South Bay with a wealth of talented singer/songwriters in the area.
“By closing that one door, I started getting shows that paid,” he said. “There are many months (where I'm) staring out at the ocean, just hopeful that I’m going to survive. (I'm thinking) the first of the month is coming around and (I'm hoping) everything is going to be all right.”
Now Koah is playing with a band and recently released a cover of Bob Dylan's “Like a Rolling Stone” on iTunes.
“We wanted to do something unique with all the verses ... covering Bob Dylan is such a tradition,” Koah said. “You feel good about playing his songs, you feel good about covering his songs because he stands for so much. He’s such a force, such an inspiration for artists of all kinds.”
Instead of releasing an EP or an album, Koah said new singles, including the original “Two Leaves,” will be on iTunes periodically.
“Rather than to have to save a whole lot of money for a whole album, you can just do one song at a time and pay as you go,” he said.
Koah said he never “wants to be conventional.”
“Almost nothing about what I do is conventional, not my show, not the way I set up my sound,” he said. “I think that is what it means to be an artist, to really be yourself ... tapping into that creative aspect of our brain.”
For more information, visit - The Beach Reporter


Still working on that hot first release.