Kevin Paris
Gig Seeker Pro

Kevin Paris

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Folk


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs



For most college graduates, life-after-diploma resembles a dark abyss of unemployment or an aversion to real world expectations — picture Benjamin Braddock’s despondent outlook on his post-grad future at the beginning of “The Graduate.”

For Kevin Paris, this wasn’t the case.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin last spring with a degree in international studies and an African studies certificate, Paris chose to pursue his love of music, sidelined after years of studying too hard, and released his debut album, Mangos For Breakfast, last May.

The album, a folk- reggae potpourri of thoughtful lyrics and melodies, expresses Paris’s reflective disposition and talent, and it also recently snagged him some international acclaim.

In January, Paris was awarded the Peacedriven Songwriting Award for “Embers of Ubuntu,” a song he wrote after studying abroad in South Africa and recorded upon his return with his best friend, Andrea Brubaker.

“I submitted ‘Embers of Ubuntu’ because I knew its lyrics fit well with the messages the Peacedriven Campaign fosters, supports and raises awareness about,” Paris said in a recent interview with The Badger Herald.

The Peacedriven Campaign aims to motivate social activists by empowering our generation to take a stand for peace, with their main vehicle of activism manifested in their annual Peacedriven Songwriting Award.

As the recipient of this year’s Peacedriven Songwriting Award, Paris is given a cash prize, and for listeners who have yet to discover his soulful melodies, they’re awarded the chance to hear “Embers of Ubuntu” on the Peacedriven Campaign’s website.

The essential meaning of “Ubuntu” stems from an African humanitarian philosophy, and it’s what the panel of Peacedriven judges felt Paris so eloquently communicated in his submission.

On the Peacedriven Campaign’s website, Campaign Director Anthony Stokes praised Paris for translating the benevolent message of “Ubuntu,” writing a song that defies the current trends of the music industry, which some critics could argue is oversaturated with songs devoid of substance.

“Music gathers, reaches and moves people in ways that nothing else can. It would be an awful mistake, shame and missed opportunity not to harness such a tool to catalyze and foster benevolent change,” Paris said, commenting on his divided role as an artist responsible for spurring audiences to question and think while also providing sincere, relatable music.

“It needs not be a song trying to change or encourage anything, Rather, just an honest song we can listen to, understand, relate to or confide in,” Paris added.

Though lyrical ideas for “Embers of Ubuntu” began taking shape while Paris was in South Africa, it wasn’t until he returned home to friends did the song’s meaning truly cement itself.

Paris said many of the attitudes expressed in “Embers of Ubuntu” emerged from “conversations about happiness, life, love, compassion and more with a beloved friend of mine and many, Neha Suri.”

Suri passed away last February after losing a battle against bacterial meningitis only a few months shy of graduation.

“I guess I just wanted to mention this to send a renewed, continual batch of great love, recognition and thanks to her for her role in the song and award, and for her beautiful, uplifting, radiant role as an exemplary, loving friend and human being,” Paris said.

Celebrating the remembrance of his cherished friend and taking life after diploma in stride, Paris is soaking up the rays in São Paulo, Brazil, enrolled in his own version of grad school, majoring in self-discovery while also brushing up on his Portuguese.

“It’s been the perfect episode for this point in time in my life, filled with joy and new experiences in many different forms,” Paris said.

While visiting family in São Paulo, Paris hopes to begin working on his sophomore effort. And as an internationally award-winning artist recognized for creating empowering music, it’s easy to assume his outlook on songwriting would be transformed.

“To be honest, it doesn’t make me feel different about songwriting or the significant roles songwriting plays because my opinion on that hasn’t changed — it has only been reconfirmed,” Paris said. “This is a beautiful thing.”

In celebration of the award, “Embers Of Ubuntu” will be available as a free download from the BandPage tab on Kevin Paris’s Facebook music page until Feb. 21. Visit or iTunes to hear more from his first album, Mangos for Breakfast. - The Badger Herald

NEW YORK, NY (January 21, 2011) – A Madison, Wisconsin-based songwriter/singer has been named the winner of the fifth annual Peacedriven Songwriting Award. “Embers of Ubuntu” written by Kevin Paris earned the highest score from the panel of judges, comprised of social activists and musicians. The Peacedriven Campaign, in partnership with, sponsors the award.

Campaign director Anthony Stokes applauded Paris for living out the very meaning of Ubuntu, an African philosophy that challenges us to enrich the lives of others. “In today’s music industry, it is becoming harder to find songs with substance,” Stokes noted. “It is refreshing to discover the music of Kevin Paris and we honor him for using his talents to produce meaningful and inspiring work.”

As the winner of the Peacedriven Songwriting Award, Paris receives a cash prize and his winning song can be heard on the Campaign’s website. Visit “Embers of Ubuntu” (featuring vocalist Andrea Brubaker) is a track from Paris’ debut album “Mangos for Breakfast” and is available on iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Peacedriven Award-winner Kevin Paris, visit

The Peacedriven Campaign received song submissions from around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States, via the online music network Judges selected one winner and five finalists based on originality, melody and lyrics. The five finalists and their songs are listed in random order: Patricia Bahia and Jon Hayes (“Peace Will Find a Way”); John McGill (“Wild Mountain”); Christal Prout from the duo Chatham Street (“Kinder Days”); Malea McGuinness (“Time Will Show”); Andie Duncan and Cyndi Duncan-Lumsden, a sister act known as The Bee’s Knees (“Peace Begins With Me”). - Peacedriven

Really, it’s hard to begin describe the wonder that is Kevin Paris’s music. The first thing I must say is that it’s hard to find many musicians as incredibly optimistic, passionate, and real as he is. Milwaukee born and raised, the 22 year-old taught himself to play guitar about 5-6 years ago, and has since been profoundly involved in music, fusing lyrical and musical influences from reggae artists like Michael Franti and the Marleys, acoustic rock from John Butler and Dispatch, and folk singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Mason Jennings.

Kevin graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison this past spring, during which he majored in International Studies and studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for 7 months.

After returning from Africa (where his daily indulgences of mangos inspired the title of his debut album), Kevin became motivated to begin professionally recording music at Rocket 88 Studios in Wisconsin, along with UW-Madison friends, Charlie Lynch, Jake Held, and Andrea Brubaker. Kevin on vocals, guitar, and ukulele, Charlie on percussion and lead guitar, Jake on bass and harmony, and Andrea contributing her absolutely stunning voice to three tracks on the album, Mangos for Breakfast engages all the right melodies to complement its beautiful lyrics.

Every sound on the album – the acoustic guitar strings, soft tambourines, African djembe drums, and occasional humming – create a lighthearted, relaxed state of mind, like soaking your feet in wet sand while walking along a shoreline. “Eased” captures the complete essence of Jack Jackson’s soft beats and harmonies, “Vanilla” brings in the bongo style, and “11 N.” delivers the Marley reggae influences.

While the melodies are soothingly serene and ethereal, the lyrics are extremely significant to this album because of their depth and earnestness. The lyrics are some of the most meaningful sung words I’ve heard and put me at such unbelievable ease. With allusions to nature, traveling, human relationships, Africa, and constructive social change, everything is composed and delivered so eloquently that makes listening even more enjoyable.

The lyrics incorporate a refreshing simplicity, with single lines like “smiles make the sweetest sounds” and “take your time, watch the waves as they come crashing”. Not only do the lyrics instill feelings of hopefulness and comfort, but there’s also this imagery that manifests colorful depictions of the carefree scenes and situations described. Of the many, many images he creates, the most vivid for me are…”see in the start had this weakness in our hearts now it’s buried by the waves in the sand” …. “dancing these pains away, see us in the morning beginning to sway, we’ll carry in all through the evening as the sunset fades, we moving to the rhythm on this sweet sweet day, bringing life in new color to these shades of grey”.

In a couple weeks, Kevin will be going across seas once again, this time to São Paulo, Brazil, until spring to focus on his music – planning U.S./international tours, writing and making preparations for his second album, and performing some shows in the area. On Wednesday, he posted on his blog, “Having spent the most part of the last 22 years of my life with school at the forefront of all things, I’ve been a beneficiary of truly beautiful experiences and an invaluable education, but consequentially had to sideline music more than the melodious soul would like. Now, I’ve come to a juncture where music and the resulting substance from 22 years of life, travels, relationships, experiences and education elatedly and synergistically meet. So, more music is next…”.

…You can’t be this eloquent and expressive and not be bound to go places. Kevin’s official website launched this past Wednesday, and you can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace,, and ReverbNation for news and updates. Also, check out some videos of Kevin’s live performances here. Mangos for Breakfast is available on iTunes and Amazon. - Early J'ouvert Morning

Fresh and sweet with a balanced radiance depict that wonderful sensation of biting into a flawlessly ripe mango. The minute the skin meets with your teeth and breaks the soft exterior guarding the juice inside, it uncovers a succulent treasure for your taste buds.

Though one can’t physically bite into a sound, the experience of listening to local Milwaukee musician and recent UW Madison grad Kevin Paris’s debut album, Mangos For Breakfast, is the audible equivalent of sinking your teeth into one of those mouth-wateringly juicy mangos.

The album, a breezy folk reggae combination, features Paris’s soothing vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar, ukulele, the unique sound of a djembe drum and, of course, the talent of his long-time friends, Charlie Lynch, Jake Held and Andrea Brubaker — all fellow UW students.

Produced at Rocket 88 Studio in Middleton this past spring, Mangos For Breakfast personifies what Paris dubs “Midwest Ease.”

“It’s the feeling you have within the Midwest. People are calm, relaxing, friendly and open,” Paris said in a recent interview with the Badger Herald. “The phrase tries to capture that down-to-earth feel.”

Though the album may represent our region’s amicable attitude, the peaceful ethereal spirit of the musicality brings to mind visions of a seaside escape, a world away — perhaps a reflection of Paris’s time spent studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa during his junior year at UW.

“While traveling, the title of the album was confirmed because it was prime mango season,” Paris said. “I would get up in the morning and just indulge in the mangos.”

Though Paris has always had an interest in music, it wasn’t until after returning from South Africa that he truly began to pursue a professional interest in sharing his talent with friends and the world.

“Having music as an outlet is the perfect way to express yourself and share that expression with others,” Paris said.

Though his family is creatively oriented — with a father who plays guitar and writes poetry and a mother who loves to sing — Paris credits his driven attitude and keen musical sense to the development of his independent musical growth.

“My family has vastly influenced and fostered my character and the lenses through which I see the world… all of which are purely reflected through my lyrics, melodies and music in general,” Paris said.

This world lens is also affected by his familial history. Paris’s mother was born and raised in the U.S., his father in Italy and his stepmother in Brazil. These varied influences, both domestic and international, help Paris understand and build an admiration for the cultural connections that bridge human relations.

Paris plans to explore his heritage further in November when he will be traveling to Sao Paulo, Brazil with his stepmother for what he refers to as his own personal form of grad school.

“I’m going to take that time to get everything in line and really practice because if I’m going to take [music] seriously, I need to do so on all levels.”

As Paris eloquently details on his blog, “having spent the most part of the last 22 years of my life with school at the forefront of all things, I’ve been a beneficiary of truly beautiful experiences and an invaluable education, but consequentially had to sideline music far more than the melodious soul would like.”

As luck would have it, this “melodious soul” will even have an inspirational mango tree in the backyard of his new Brazil home. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

To learn more about Kevin Paris, visit Check out Mangos For Breakfast on iTunes and Amazon. - The Badger Herald


Mangos For Breakfast (2010)

Good People, the Land and Sea (2012)



"If you like Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter, etc. then you will love this! A folk, acoustic, reggae combo that is great to chill to! Cant wait till his next album!" -iTunes Review 5/21/11

Having lived in Brazil, South Africa and all around the US, Paris songwriting has grown into a folk-reggae-acoustic fusion which lyrically reflects his unique journey through life off the beaten path. His music holds its roots in his travels, yoga, nature, love, human relations, introspection and the human experience.

Internationally recognized and awarded for his lyrical craft, warm vocals and feel-good music, Paris performs all around the globe. Complementing his fast growth in the traditional music scene, he is a key artist in the realm of yoga and live music. He collaborates regularly with many of the most world-renowned yoga teachers at international festivals, yoga studios and retreats. Whether there, at universities, theaters or other venues around the world, Paris delivers intimate, heart-filled performances leaving audiences feeling radiant and wanting more.

For more information, check out or contact him at

Band Members