The Other Road: English to Music

Pawl Espinoza is a fourth-year Anteater from the San Francisco East Bay area. He is an English major who enjoys the flexibility of time that his major allows him, and credits this as being beneficial to his life.

When asked why he chose this field of study, he responds, “It was my strength … I really didn’t have to do much work to do well in English, but, you know, bio I was busting my ass all the time, so I didn’t like it.”

Despite his knack for English, Espinoza’s dream is to play music. He aspires to be part of the music industry, and states that he would enjoy being a producer or a talent scout. At the moment, however, Espinoza is dedicating his time and efforts to his band, The Circus Kids, whose sound he concisely describes as circus rock. It is because of this musical endeavor that he plans on remaining in Orange County after graduation in June, amending his previous plans of moving to Los Angeles immediately after college.

Espinoza first became interested in playing music after finding a guitar at his uncle’s house. “I knew what it was, but I walked up to it and I was fascinated, my eyes all gooey at it. And I said, ‘Uncle, I didn’t know you had a guitar,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, take it home see if you like it or not.’ And, you know, I was so blessed. I took it home, was playing with it, fell in love with it, couldn’t put it down. Eventually for my next birthday I asked for my own … basically seventh grade is when I fell in love with music.”

It was at this same time that Espinoza decided music was what he wanted to dedicate his life to; there was no doubt in his mind. From then on he had a plan: to go to school, get his degree, do everything that was expected of him from his family and then after college pursue music full time.

Belester Benitez: “Why do you want to be a musician?”

Pawl Espinoza: “The first time when I actually picked up a guitar, I finally felt comfortable with something. Throughout my childhood, I mean don’t have much memory of my childhood, but I just don’t remember really being passionate about anything, and then, the day I picked up that guitar, I felt I wanted to entertain, I wanted to be with people.”

BB: “Do you think your English major can help you with a career in music?”

PE: “Yes. That was partially why I chose it. It’s helped me with interviews; it’s helped me with just writing in general, composing songs, structures, lyricisms. And, you know, I’ve taken tons of poetry classes so that’s definitely been beneficial. So I mean, in a way, it was sort of a choice for the music.”

In terms of musical influences, Espinoza credits Queen as an important band for him and his music, specifically the vocal elements that Freddie Mercury employs in his singing and Brian May’s style of guitar playing. He is also inspired by The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, which is a 1968 concert that intertwined musical performances with circus acts. This is actually how the band name, The Circus Kids, came about. Additionally, Espinoza cites Jack White as an active influence on him. He admires White’s love and dedication for music, and describes him as a musician who does it for the music and not for money or fame.

BB: “If everything goes according to plan, where do you want to be five or 10 years from now?”

PE: “I want to be on tour … I want to be just having good shows, consistently with good people and hopefully I have albums out, hopefully just making money and surviving off of touring. Again, the more intimate the setting, the better, in my opinion. Because you don’t get all the politics involved, you just get to actually do the music part which you love.”

BB: “What advice would you give to people who are hesitant of following their dreams?”

PE: “Don’t be hesitant. I say, whatever it is you love to do, go for it. Maybe if you have some sort of need to impress family or friends or something like that do whatever you have to do to maintain that. Like me, I’m getting a degree, it’s what my family wants, it’s what my friends, what everyone wants me to do, but it’s not what I’m really pursuing. I’m using that for my advantage but I’m kind of pleasing both ends. But don’t give up something just because you think you have to be a certain way. No one should ever have to do that.”

Espinoza stated that he would rather be poor and doing what he loves than be wealthy and working a desk job. He jokes, “I mean, as comfortable as you can make a desk, I’d rather be uncomfortable and doing what I love to do.”

This is a beautiful outlook, and one that I believe makes for a happy and fulfilling life. Follow your dream Anteaters. Do what you love. Do not settle. Live the life you want to live. The one you envision in your daydreams and fantasies as you lay awake in your bed at night. I love you. ZOT!