Born/Date of Birth: 1975
Birth name: Craig Abaya
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, United States
Education: San Francisco State University
Genres: Alternative rock, rock and roll, pop, grunge, heavy metal, Americana, neo-classical music
Occupation(s): Musician, songwriter, composer, music producer, recording engineer, filmmaker, photographer, graphic designer, educator
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, drums, bass, percussion, electronic keyboards
Labels: ARTifice Music
Abaya, Apparition, The Basics, Vylet Pony, Fred Wolford, JoAnne Lorenzana, DJ Qbert, Simon Dray, Tipsy, Matt Malley (Counting Crows), Kenney Dale Johnson (Chris Isaak), Myron Dove (Santana (band), Eric McCann (Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, Freaky Executives), Jack Shiner, Perry Clark, Perry Birch
Official Website: abaya.com
Craig Abaya is a celebrated multi-artist from San Francisco, California. He is a singer, musician, songwriter, producer, filmmaker, photographer, and graphic designer. He also served as director of Digital Media & Entertainment Programs for San Francisco State University Extended Learning. He has won ten Billboard songwriting awards.
Abaya is a native of San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood. He became involved with music during childhood, taking up the piano at age six, the drums at age eleven, and the guitar at age twelve. He became involved in film and photography at the age of nine.
At seventeen, Abaya enrolled at San Francisco State University. Initially a psychology major, he ultimately proposed a special major in multimedia, combining studies in film, audio, computers and electronics.
Abaya is a singer and cites his main instruments as guitar, piano, and drums. Although there is no direct influence on his passion for music, he would often hear his mother, a classical pianist, play the family piano, favoring the composer Claude Debussy. He also took up recording from a young age, moving from 2- and 4-track analog tape to ADAT and eventually to DAWs (digital audio workstations). At 17, he formed his first professional band, the grunge/metal trio "Apparition." At this time, he also wrote and performed music with the local church youth choir. After disbanding "Apparition," he founded the 4-piece group "The Basics" and later, "Abaya," in an attempt to merge his divergent musical interests. He has won numerous songwriting awards in various genres, including 10 from Billboard Magazine.
In 2009, Abaya released his first solo album, The Fine Art of Politics.
In 2014, he composed and played guitars and bass on the DJ Qbert album, Extraterrestria. The same year, Craig released the single, "This Jail I Made."
In 2016, he composed and performed the orchestral music score to the film, Ambush.
In 2018, his long time musical collaborator, Fred Wolford, expressed a desire to record a series of cover songs. As a result, Craig released a version of Neil Finn's "Truth" featuring Wolford and drums, Tom Edwards on bass, Leslie Caroline on backing vocals.
In 2018, Abaya was elected board member to the newly created San Francisco Bay Area Music Foundation.
In 2019, Abaya released the album, One Bus to Mercy, singing and playing several instruments and also hosting a number of guest artists.
Abaya is a Grammy voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Abaya started making films at age 9, starting with The Battle of McLaren Park, in which he spliced a scene of Clint Eastwood as a jet squadron leader from the classic sci-fi film, ‘’Tarantula’’ and earning his first television screen credit from films he shot age 12.
In 2002, Apple, Inc. approached Abaya with an opportunity to make a feature film with his student crew. With a team of students and sponsors, he directed Bruce Hornsby Live at Villa Montalvo for DIRECTV.
In 2003, Abaya served as concert shoot director for the feature, Joan Armatrading, All the Way from America.
In 2006, Abaya became the producer/director of the Stern Grove Festival web series of videos including live performances, artist talks, and interviews. Joining him is his long time friend and collaborator, Philip J. Gallegos.
In 2008, after having served as their live concert photographer for many years, Abaya became the resident filmmaker and concert photographer at the Bridge School. The school, which is for children with severe speech and physical impairments, was founded by Neil Young and Pegi Young.
In 2009, at the urging of Beth Lorenzana-Fonacier, Abaya directed the music video "Silly Sentimental Fool."
In 2015, Abaya began filming episodes of the web series, Marissa Anne the Media Fan.
In 2016, Abaya served as director of photography, first assistant director, editor, and music composer for the 2017 neo-noir film, Ambush.
In 2018, Abaya and 9 camera film crew filmed The Bammies Reunion Concert, featuring, Narada Michael Walden, Neal Schon, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Money, Pablo Cruise, Jefferson Starship and Brandeis Marin.
Craig is a new media council member of the Producers Guild of America.
Craig became interested in photography at age 9 when he received his first point-and-shoot camera. Among his first photos were shots of the aftermath of a police chase including officers making an arrest.
Music being his first love, he wanted to capture some of his musical heroes. For years he did so with borrowed photographic equipment but eventually purchased his first professional camera. His early photos included such musical artists as The Who, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Alice Cooper, Tina Turner, Chris Isaak, Elton John, Tom Petty, Leon Russell and Heart. Occasionally, he would have the opportunity to meet and photograph non-music based celebrities including Gilda Radner and Monty Python's Michael Palin.
In 2000, The Bridge School invited Craig to be their official concert photographer.
In 2006, Apple.com published an interview with Craig about his photography.
In 2013, San Francisco's MacWorld Expo made Craig their featured artist with a gallery of his concert films and photography entitled Craig Abaya: The Art of Rock'N'Roll from Analog to Digital.
Craig's photos have appeared in L.A. Times, Gentry Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, and other publications.
Abaya earned his first teaching experience at SFSU's Graduate Film school while he was still an undergraduate, but eventually took a full-time position teaching in Silicon Valley plus occasional stints at San Francisco State University and elsewhere. Eventually, he moved to SFSU College of Extended Learning, where he worked from 2000 to 2015, teaching and directing the Multimedia Studies Program, Music/Recording Industry Program, Digital Video Intensive, and Web Design Intensive.
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