Chico nursing student shows his love for music


Paraic King sits in his home recording studio. Photo credit: Tara Killoran

He takes the stage, guitar slung over his shoulder. The strap tugs on his shirt collar. “I’m gonna take my glasses off so I don’t have to look at y’all,” he says. “Nothing against everyone—I just, you know, it makes me feel a little bit more at ease.”

After a pause, Paraic King, a local musician, begins his first song.

It’s the first Chico Unplugged competition by Student of the Arts (SOTA) at Madison Bear Garden, and King’s set is the last. His set quiets the crowd—it’s raw and filled with soul. His socks rub the hardwood floor as he plays. His eyes squint and his face winces as he plucks the strings on his guitar.

The emotion on his face shows his love for music. King performs without hopes of personal gain or career advancement. He loves people and relishes each crowd’s individual energy.

The Orion sat down with King at his home music studio to discuss his music career. He made his personal studio in a small, well-carpeted shed behind his house, behind a thick yet pleasant-smelling garden. It holds a drum kit, a piano, microphones and more. King is more at ease here.

Photo credit: Tara Killoran
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Instruments from the studio of Paraic King Photo credit: Tara Killoran

He explains that he’s been making music since age 15, starting with piano, and began playing guitar when he moved to Europe at age 20. He’s soft-spoken but full of stories. One gets a genuine sense of experience and character behind his words.

[Q]: Do you generally like playing solo shows, or do you like playing in bands?


[A]: I just haven’t played with people in a long time because it’s like a relationship. I’m not down to play with just anyone… I have to get along with them and have a similar vision—that kind of stuff. And that’s kind of hard to find sometimes… I’ll jam with anyone, but as far as like doing a project, I’m, you know, a little bit more picky with that kind of stuff.


[Q]: What are some modern-day musicians that influence the way you play or write songs?


[A]: I don’t really listen to like a bunch of new music. And I don’t know all the cool stuff… I’ll find like one person, and I’ll listen to them for like months straight. I’ll listen to like the same album… I went for a solid two months listening to only Fiona Apple, um, so she’s a big inspiration. And then I just love Kendrick Lamar so much.

King rarely learns other artists’ songs. He’s recorded himself making music hundreds of times. But he only considers about 20 or 30 of his songs fully developed.

He occasionally peers at the floor, layered with small carpets, while talking. He taps his feet—the shoes are worn, with mismatching laces.

[Q]: Is your music more of a personal hobby, do you release any of your music on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, anything like that?


[A]: Um, I put it up there, but, you know, there’s probably been like 10 people that will listen to it… I’m not trying to like sell things. My ideal is just to make music my whole life and give it away for free.


[Q]: What are your future plans for your music career?


[A]: I hope to be an old man, one day, that still plays and is a lot better than I am right now. Um, I used to want to be a rock star and stuff. I was in a band that was trying to get signed and do the whole thing… But I just got so turned off by it all… It was like a lot of this egotistical kind of stuff going on, and like self-promotion and narcissism… I got so turned off I just stopped playing music. And then I realized, it’s not music’s fault… anything can be corrupted.


King feels nervous every time he performs on-stage, but years of practice have helped him overcome these nerves. He also currently sings in two choirs around the community and performed in last weekend’s Fall Opera Gala “Candide”.


[Q]: Once you got over your performance anxiety, was there kind of a turning point when you started really enjoying being on stage?


[A]: I’ve always been good at like crowd stuff… last night, I saw what was going on and I was like—people can’t hear in the back. And that was my thing… I’m gonna go in there and talk to the people in the back. And as soon as I did that, I felt everyone be quiet… It’s about listening. And I changed the way I played the songs last night, due to the crowd… I did things I’ve never done with those songs… Changed a little bit of the words; changed the way I said them. Just because I felt the energy in the room… I like that. I just like talking to people.

Artist of the Week
Paraic King stands outside of his home recording studio after performing a song. Photo credit: Tara Killoran


Currently studying nursing at Chico State, King doesn’t want to make his money through music anymore. But he hopes to continue playing music for people his whole life. Keep an eye out for him in our local scene.

Grant Schmieding can be reached at [email protected] or @G_Schmieding on Twitter.