Dan Krikorian took an introduction to guitar class during his freshman year at Chapman University. He thought it would be a fun and easy way to round out a tough schedule, but he got hooked.
That was seven years ago.
Now, what started on a whim has turned the Costa Mesa resident's life plans upside down.
"It's one of those things that just kind of happened, and I'm really glad it did," said Krikorian, 26. "I just fell in love with it."
After graduating from Chapman with a degree in business, Krikorian went to work for a mutual fund company. A year and a half later, he took a leap of faith and quit his secure office job to pursue his true passion.
Since then, he has released three albums and toured the country, playing in venues from Salt Lake City to New York.
This week, the acoustic folk pop and folk rock musician released his newest album, "Windsor Blue." In August, Krikorian and his band will perform two shows in his hometown.
They'll play Tuesday in Fairview Park, as part of Costa Mesa's "Concerts in the Park" summertime program. And the band will do a gig at the Orange County Fair on Aug. 13.
"It's all been surprising and the great thing about music is every day something different comes up, and it's never the same thing," he said. "I've really enjoyed that."
Krikorian also coaches basketball and football at his alma mater, Costa Mesa High School.
"Growing up, I wanted to be kind of a tough sports guy," he said. "I would always write but I would never share it. I'd write on my own in secret."
Although sports and music may not seem like a natural match, the combination has worked for Krikorian: Working for the school, as well as privately as a basketball coach, has allowed him the time and freedom to pursue music.
In the 12-track album "Windsor Blue," Krikorian took his summery guitar tunes up a notch with strong storytelling and a clear display of diverse influences. The album has received acclaim from critics as far away as Britain.
"Windsor Blue" sounds like a cross-country road trip.
On the track "Maggie," bluesy guitar riffs blend with Krikorian's smooth voice singing of heartbreak. On "Thief Like That," ragtime-style piano and a fiddle sound more Georgia than California. Hints of everything from gospel to bluegrass can be heard in the album.
His upcoming Costa Mesa gigs will wrap up a spring and summer 2011 tour to promote his new album. The tour began in New York on May 4, followed by a performance May 6 at the Costa Mesa High theater.
Krikorian said the tour also took him up and down California and to out-of-state venues, including Denver, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I try to touch on a bunch of different musical genres: blues, folk, rock, and kind of mix of a lot of different things," he said. "The result's been really great."
If You Go
What: Dan Krikorian and his band
First performance: 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Fairview Park, Costa Mesa
Second performance: 3:45 p.m. Aug. 13, O.C. Fair's Meadows Stage, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Listen: To hear some of Krikorian's music, visit dkrikorian.blogspot.com/
More Information: http://www.dankrikorian.com