One of the most gifted, honest musicians to emerge from San Diego’s thriving singer-songwriter scene in years, national recording and touring artist Steven Ybarra has captivated crowds across North America with his guitar, his voice, and a keen ear for that perfectly melody. Along the way he’s earned not just devoted fans, but numerous accolades, including four San Diego Music Awards and a San Diego Songwriter’s Guild Platinum Award. Having shared stages with renowned artists including Gavin DeGraw, Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, Jeremy Camp, Sugar Ray and Hootie & the Blowfish, Ybarra is already a hometown fixture. His most recent albums, “Love Love Love,” and “Best Days,” are succinct gems, set to catapult his solo career.
The world at large is already taking notice: Ybarra recently scored a licensing deal with Universal/Ingrooves for the title track of “Love Love Love.” His music, a fresh and melodic blend of pop and gospel-inflected modern country, has been featured on MTV, NBC, ESPN, and in movies and documentaries. He’s played the House of Blues, Coors Amphitheater, San Diego Street Scene and L.A.’s famed Whiskey A Go Go among thousands of other stages, from coffee shops to amphitheaters. Ybarra has also used his microphone and guitar to give voice to dozens of charitable causes, including the Surfrider Foundation, the Salvation Army, the March of Dimes and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He’s poised for the spotlight, and he’s going about it in the most virtuous way he knows.
Ybarra’s musical journey began in childhood, like so many other artists. But not everyone had the unique blend of sonic influences Julio Iglesias, the renowned tenor Helmut Lotti that spread throughout his Houston, Texas household thanks to his German and Hispanic roots. The distilled essence of the music he grew up with, coupled with the Laurel Canyon-era rock and pop ballads he absorbed as a teenager in San Diego, would come to define Ybarra’s signature sound. And the precision and craft he honed during a songwriting stint on Nashville’s famed Music Row would ensure that he’d continue to churn out impeccably written hits, album after album.
There is another side of Ybarra’s childhood that had a significant impact that carried over into adulthood, and, naturally, seeped into his soulful sound. Ybarra attended Catholic school through 8th grade, which set a spiritual foundation for the budding musician’s life and gave his music a sincerity no amount of lessons could buy. He sang every week in church, and by regularly demonstrating his talent in front of his family and the congregation, Ybarra’s confidence and stage presence was set at a young age. These first gigs, as they were, showed Ybarra the amazing sense of fulfillment his music could bring to others and himself. In his role as worship arts leader at San Diego’s Grace Point Church, Ybarra has given himself a creative outlet for his music, and he’s constantly inspiring others to pursue their own creative dreams. Take a listen, and let his music inspire you.