Music ‘ambassador’ Leyva sinks roots deep into performance industry
by Bart Mendoza
Oct 30, 2013 | 2292 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Musician Chris Leyva of Ocean Beach, left, is quickly becoming a music ambassador for San Diego’s music scene.                                                                                                        Courtesy photo
Musician Chris Leyva of Ocean Beach, left, is quickly becoming a music ambassador for San Diego’s music scene. Courtesy photo
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San Diego has one of the most vibrant music communities in the world, a fact that is drawing both musicians and fans from all over the planet to our sunny shores. A clear indicator of that success is the fact there are now numerous labels, studios, bookers, pressing plants, promoters and so on located in San Diego — all a sign that things are happening here.

One key person in the emerging scene is music ambassador and Ocean Beach resident Chris Leyva.

He’s a crossover contender. Originally from Mexico, over the last decade, beyond his work as a singer and guitarist, Leyva has emerged as the main man behind music label and promotion company Black Cherry Music Company, establishing himself as a musician, promoter and lobbyist for San Diego music.

Leyva is all over the place; one night at the Grammy’s, the next in London recording, then heading to Europe for a tour and back to Ocean Beach for a gig at Mother’s Saloon.

It’s a whirlwind life, and Leyva said he loves every second of it.

“How could I not?” he asked. “Music is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’ve been lucky to have that happen.”

He said it helps to be able to have variety in his life.

“The fact that I’m kind of all over the place helps a bit,” he said. “I never get bored or tired of what I’m doing because it changes so much day to day. Sure, it’s all music, but some days I’m working with bookings, other days it’s songwriting or mentoring, so it’s a real range of things that I’m involved in.”

While he’s proud to be an Ocean Beach resident, he considers himself a citizen of the world.

“OB is my home and I love it,” he said. “At the same time, I’m on the road a good portion of the year. Let’s put it this way: I’m comfortable anywhere I am, but there’s no place like home.”

Leyva’s love for his adopted hometown is evident in his recent album “Summer of Life,” which was released this summer.

“I like to say that Ocean Beach is my co-producer on this one,” he said. “I wrote the material here and recorded the whole thing at my home with help from engineer Dan Shannon and lots of others. I was influenced by the way life unfolds in Ocean Beach, both my own and those around me that I observe. As a songwriter — and for me as a citizen — OB is gold.”

Prolific to a fault, Leyva is constantly recording. While he is known as a rock performer, his most recent forays have crossed over into EDM (electronic dance music) territory, recently working alongside electronica pioneers Red Flag and rapper Tha Franchise on his new single “Love Is Slow.”

“Rock ’n’ roll is the core of who I am,” Leyva said. “However, there’s so much out there to explore. Plus, I meet so many cool people in my travels and I love to collaborate. So it’s only natural that I work with new sounds. But I’ll always come back to rock ’n’ roll. That’s what made me want to have a life in music.”

Next up for Leyva is recording a follow up to “Summer of Life” and more touring.

“I hope I can do more things in town next year,” he said. “I love traveling, but there is a special feeling when you play before a hometown crowd.”

He said he’s happy with what he’s accomplished to date, but is still hoping to take things further.

“Things have been nice, but as far I’m concerned, I’m just getting started,” he said.

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