Chico Unplugged winner balances music and nursing


Padilla continues to play with ease. Photo credit: Daelin Wofford

Alex Coba

Music has always been a part of Lenon Padilla’s life. Padilla was one of seven winners at the Chico School of the Arts Unplugged musician contest Thursday, which is judged at Madison Bear Garden. However, he is not a music major.

Padilla is in the pre-nursing program at Chico State. Because of this, he is trying to find a happy medium between his two passions.

“When you’re in college and you’re choosing a career, I guess I’ve always had a practical side, I’ve always balanced between my passions and what’s practical,” Padilla said.

“I think a lot of students can relate to that. I thought hard after my freshmen year, going through one year of pre-nursing, and I thought entering my sophomore year, I can live without the arts.”

Padilla further emphasized the importance of keeping the arts in his life.

“I have to have some sort of composite art or theater component because, as a person, I need me to feed myself with some sort of artistic way to express myself,” said Padilla.

“I love pre-nursing I love the major and I am probably going to get into the field. Never am I going to sacrifice the art side, so I’m always going to open mics to try and see what opportunity I can get to express myself in the arts.”

Lennon wasn’t always a solo artist. In fact, some of Lennon’s fondest memories were about going on tour around Sacramento with his closest friends.


“Some of my greatest memories were in Sacramento,” he said.

“I used to be in a punk band, (and) it was the time of my life, mostly because I got to tour with two of my best friends, and I’m so glad I wasn’t alone at the time – so I’m definitely more of a band person.”

Padilla cites many musical greats as his musical influences such as The Beatles and John Lennon. Padilla also considers his father an Influence.

“He would always show me folk music like lots of “Bread” and Bob Dylan, a lot of Joni Mitchell, the classics,” said Padilla.

Even though Padilla has a fondness for folk music and even learned how to play a lot of classic folk music, he said he would much rather lean towards the more indie style of music due to his current love for the genre.

Though he has a passion for music and has even recorded music for Spotify, he sees his music more of a hobby.

“I usually have spurts when I write,” he said.

“Mostly because I write from really emotional times in my life, say like when I’m feeling really down or like when I’ve gone through something hard, one of the first things I’ll go to is my guitar.”

Padilla uses his own experience to give advice to any aspiring artists.

“Never stop dreaming and also always try to come out of your comfort zone cause you never know what will come out of the other side,” he said.

“I was never really that comfortable when I started out doing open mics my first time performing onstage. My first time performing was in Chico and I was nervous to the max. ”

“If you have a hunch that music might be for you, just try it. Go out there.”

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.