If you go
What: Eli Pafumi with Mollie Jane
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: The Laughing Goat, 1709 Pearl St., Boulder
More info: thelaughinggoat.com
Eli Pafumi may not necessarily be a household name within the Colorado music scene, but he should be. From composing music for a stage play to conducting a TED Talk on numbers within music, this troubadour has lent his voice and skillset to a bevy of mediums.
At times he sounds like Paolo Nutini, and at others you can hear a tinge of Jason Mraz. With an authentic bluesy sound and an engaging stage presence, he crafts folk music for the common folk. He's the kind of coffeehouse crooner that makes you stop mid-latte sip and direct your eyes and ears to the stage. A Colorado transplant, by way of Virginia, Pafumi spends his days teaching at School of Rock Denver and his nights gigging the dimly-lit dives as frontman of psych rock group RitaRita — a band that dropped its debut LP "Savta's Garden" on Jan. 1.
We caught up with the musician to talk mentorship, the perks of growing up in a creative family and just what attendees can expect from his show at The Laughing Goat on Monday.
Daily Camera: Had you always known you were destined for the life of a touring musician? Do you remember a time when you knew this would be your career path?
Eli Pafumi: I've always known I would fight to make being a musician my job, but it has only been in the past few years that I've expanded upon a touring lifestyle. Having bounced around the U.S. and a few other countries, I can say I love the thrill of bringing my work to new places, but it's also nice to settle down in one city and work on select projects from time to time. Denver has been a great town in which to push the brakes and finish working on my latest album over the past few months.
DC: I understand you composed the music for a play written by your mother. What was this experience like collaborating with her and do you see yourself possibly writing for theatrical productions in the future?
EP: I grew up in a very creatively nurturing household. Both my parents work in theater full time and it's a community I'm very grateful to be a part of. Having a professional playwright for a mom gives me constant access to a world-class writing critic and artistic partner. My creative styles come from my family, so getting to collaborate on shows with my mother has been the perfect opportunity to hone in on what makes me an artist in the first place. I would love to continue writing for theater, film and television. I'm an avid movie score fan and it's a part of my career I hope to venture into more fully in the future.
DC: For folks that have never caught one of your gigs before, what can they expect from your upcoming set at The Laughing Goat?
EP: My solo gigs are a mix of folk tunes and jazzy blues-inspired guitar grooves with a heavier focus on my work as a singer-songwriter than my normal lead guitarist frontman position for band RitaRita. This particular show at The Laughing Goat will feature L.A.-based milk.'s bandleader Mollie Jane for our first show before embarking on a month-long roadtrip tour adventure across the westside of the U.S. this January.
DC: In addition to crafting your own music, I read that you are teaching at School of Rock Denver. How rewarding is it seeing the next generation of kids jam out?
EP: Teaching music is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as a working musician. I've gotten the chance to teach in both the music studio environment, as well as provide private lessons to over 100 students in the past seven years. The variety of piano, guitar, drums and voice lessons constantly keeps my on my toes and I hope to kick start a K-12 songwriting master class program in 2019.
DC: Lastly, what artists would you say have had the biggest influence on you? What can we find on your current playlist?
EP: A few artists who've been a big inspiration are Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Tame Impala, Miles Davis, Kamasi Washington and Joni Mitchell. I'm always listening to new music and trying to find the next great tune to inspire me, so send your recommendations my way.
Kalene McCort: 303-473-1107, firstname.lastname@example.org.