Musician of the Week

Jovan Arellano

Instruments: Guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals

Day job: Full-time musician

First Performance: My first performance was for a junior high choir concert here in Fayetteville. I had learned to play guitar earlier in the year and talked my director into letting me play a tune at our ninth grade spring concert. The song was Jimi Thing by Dave Matthews Band. At the time I was trying to learn every Dave Matthews song known to man. I never had lessons, but you could say I was under the “private instruction of Mr. Dave Matthews” and working through the tablature book Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds “Live at Luther College.” The show was fun. It would’ve helped if I could’ve stopped shaking, opened my eyes, and detached my upper lip from being inside out and stuck to my gums!

Type of music: The music that I play ranges from country to electronic.

Originals or covers: Was an original singer/songwriter for five years out of high school and finally decided to construct the ultimate cover show. Now I play mostly covers to make a living and to fund recording my original material. One of the hardest things for an artist to do is to “sell out” for any period of time. Once I finally got over the fact that people would pay me good money to hear me cover Cash and Dave Matthews, I never looked back. I now refer to it as “buying out” rather than “selling out” because it allowed me to “buy” into the music business. I know about 20 times more about performing, marketing, booking and being self-employed than I ever did previously.

Sounds like: Johnny Cash, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, The Eagles, The Beatles, Ray Lamontagne, Tool, A Perfect Circle, The Dissociatives, Rufus Wainwright, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Kings of Leon, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Silverchair, Hall & Oates, Aha, The Police, The Bangels, Tom Petty, The Wallflowers, Sublime, Weezer, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Cake, The Fugees, Snoop Dogg, Mark Morrison, Toto, etc….

Influences: Same as above

Muse: Jeff Buckley

Favorite performance: In addition to being a solo performer, I’m also in a Radiohead tribute band, Killer Cars. Radiohead is one of my favorite bands of all time. They’re one of the most influential bands of all time as well. They are truly pioneers of the music business — from experimenting with soundscapes and textures in the studio, to writing actual computer programming to achieve completely original effects, to revolutionizing the way music is marketed and downloaded. So my favorite show would have to be the first Killer Cars show at George’s last November.

Accomplishments: I’ve been nominated for four NAMAs and won one. Dropped several picks on stage and managed to bend down and pick them up without stopping the song. Paid the bills with music for eight months now. Once did a medley of 30 Dave Matthews songs in 60 seconds.

What kind of crowd do you draw? I play to all ages. If I see that my crowd is mostly in their 40s, I’m gonna play stuff from the ’80s and early ’90s. If they’re mostly 50s and 60s, then I’ll do songs from the ’60s and ’70s. If they’re 70s, 80s, 90s (yes it happens) then it’s Elvis, Cash and Sinatra.

Funniest or strangest thing that ever happened during a performance: The other night at Eddie Haskell’s a girl came up to the stage and started flipping through my songbook like it was karaoke, so I sort of batted her hand away and said “uh uh.” It was just a light pat. In this business I’ve found that otherwise very smart, mature people act like children when they drink.

Any albums? I have a self-recorded and produced acoustic album that I did in high school called “Way Down Here” and the album I recorded with my old band Phantazmelodia called “Fire in Her Eyes.”

Back stage ritual: Booze, unless I’m plagued by a toothache (currently) and have to take painkillers.

Plans: My plan is to continue doing what I love for a job and not let it turn into a job as such. My goal is to double what I made last year and start doing more out-of-town shows.

New Projects: I started a new progressive rock three-piece called HEX. We’ll be hitting the scene in April.

If you could open for anyone, who would it be? Rufus Wainwright. To me he might be the greatest songwriter/performer alive right now. If Jeff Buckley was still alive it would be him.

Last CD purchased: Dave Matthews Band, “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King”

Most played songs on your iPod? “Go or Go Ahead” (Rufus Wainwright), “Vancouver” (Jeff Buckley), “Without You” (Silverchair)

Upcoming shows and tours: You can find my complete calendar at, but the big show I’m pushing in March is a Tribute to Johnny Cash. All Cash, All night long. It’s gonna be three sets by three of Fayetteville’s best performers Zac Scott, Jeff Kearney (1 oz. Jig) and myself. There’s a $6 cover and it’s Thursday, March 18 at Teatro Scarpino.

Web site:

Categories: Galleries