Sonoma State alumni takes a trip to the Grammys

COURTESY // Soul Pacific

Michael Paradiso, local musician turned surgical consultant, may have put his music career on hold, but his band, Soul Pacific, has not gone unnoticed. When the Sonoma State alumni checked his email he was surprised to see a message from 75th Wall Street. 

“I thought it was spam,” Paradiso joked. But spam it was not. Paradiso soon understood that his song “Cali Coast” had been selected as a Grammy nominee for Best Remixed Recording for their song “Cali Coast.” 

“Once I proved I was the rights holder they sent me a ticket just like that,” Paradiso said humbly.

Now, the band whose roots sprouted just outside Stevenson Hall, is on its way to Hollywood. Paradiso met student Gabriel Duran while performing on campus outside Stevenson. They began to exchange lyrics and sing each other’s songs. Soon after, the two collaborated with drummer Zach Neiman and bassist Charlie Albright and became Soul Pacific, with Duran serving as a vocalist and Paradiso as the lyricist. Paradiso had fantasized about recording an album and had even built his own recording studio. Forming a band made that fantasy a reality. After recording their debut album “Awake,” they continued to perform locally and around campus at open-mic nights and on KSUN, Sonoma State University’s radio station. In addition, they played at local venues such as Lagunitas and HopMonk Tavern. When Paradiso graduated in 2014, he decided to find work that corresponded with his kinesiology degree.  Nevertheless, Paradiso stayed passionate about his work on “Awake.”

“Awake” delivers stunningly heartfelt lyrics and a sound defined by the elements of reggae, pop and rock. It showcases a purity that is found when music is produced for the love of the art. 

“It was always less of a band mentality and more of a creative outlet mentality,” Paradiso reflected.

Generated are sublime melodies that resonate as soothingly familiar. 

“The idea was to capture the sounds of the west coast,” said Paradiso. 

The acoustic guitar in “California Coast” transports the listener to a state of bliss while the fusion of reggae and soft rock imitates a relaxed mentality often found on the west coast. 

Lyrically, Paradiso hoped to convey the importance of opening your eyes and seeing things for what they really are.  He wrote the song “Awake” after his realization of what the music industry is really about. 

“In the music industry, people are always after your royalties,” said Paradiso. “Awake is about staying pure. They aren’t going to stop me.” 

Remarkably, the decision to remix “California Coast” is what brought Soul Pacific their nomination.  “Cali Coast” is a fast paced, electronic or “EDM” version of the original. Their goal was to produce something that people might want to hear in a club. Clearly, the remix delivered more than the reaction they were looking for. Artists like Kaskade, RAC, The Chemical Brothers and Paul McCartney & The Wings are nominated alongside Soul Pacific.