Ryan Calhoun found his musical calling at 11, when his older sister, Chrystina Lloree Fincher — the lead singer of the popular '90s band "The Marvelous 3" — took him to his first rock concert.
"I don't even remember what group was playing. I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world and had this [epiphanic] moment of 'This is what I want to do,'" Calhoun recalls.
The Orange County native, who grew up listening to his sister's eclectic collection of vinyls, tapes and CDs, and their dad play jazz music, said his family was a big influence on him musically.
It wasn't long before he was learning chords from a friend who lived down the street, whose magical way with the electric guitar made Calhoun want to play "just like him."
"I was only interested in rocking on electric, and would listen to Hendrix and Clapton over and over again trying to master their music," Calhoun said.
The now L.A.-based singer-songwriter, who has since explored the New York music scene and retired his Fender Stratocaster for a Taylor acoustic, and whose songs have been heard in indie films and several TV shows including "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and "Cougar Town," is now working on his third "unapologetic pop rock" album.
Calhoun says the term refers to his divergence from many other Indy artists, and the trend to be so unique and true to oneself that the audience is often disregarded.
"I'm also honest and authentic in my lyrics," he says, "but I realize my goal as a musician is to give the people what they want. I make no apologies for wanting to be heard and on the radio."
Calhoun's prior albums include "Everything that I'm Not," released in 2008 under Bill Lefler (Gym Class Heroes, Plain White T's) and "What Are We Doing Here" in 2006.
Often compared to artists like Dashboard Confessional and the Goo Goo Dolls, Calhoun said the "work in progress" is taking him outside of his comfort zone, and is guaranteed to offer fans something a little different.
"I'm a work in progress — musically and lyrically," he said. "The great thing about being a musician is that no matter what I'm going through at the time, someone can relate to my music, which has the ability to influence and make a difference in people's lives."
Calhoun will break from his summer tour to give a special performance at 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Sandpiper, 1183 S. Coast Hwy. There is a $5 cover charge.