Grammy-Ready: Famous San Diego Musicians

A concert in Embarcadero Marina Park

Awards season continues this Sunday night with the airing of the 57th Grammy Awards (February 8 on CBS, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). To get you in the mood to sing and dance, here are some San Diego-born musical artists and some of their biggest hits.

Tom Waits

Genres: Rock, avant-garde, experimental, folk, blues, jazz

While his music is best known after it’s been performed by someone else (like “Jersey Girl,” covered by Bruce Springsteen, or “Downtown Train,” covered by Rod Stewart), Tom Waits’ distinctive voice and experimental musical styles have earned him a cult following. He’s a Grammy award winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.


Genres: Pop-punk, alternative rock

Play the first few seconds of “All the Small Things,” and you’ll get the attention of every millenial or pop-punk enthusiast in the room. The band has sold over 35 million albums and inspired a diverse range of acts such as Fall Out Boy, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Mumford & Sons.

Nick Cannon

Genre: Hip hop

While he’s now best known for his acting work and his marriage to Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon began his career as part of a rap group that opened for artists like Will Smith and LFO in the late ’90s. While he’s only released two studio albums, Cannon also runs Ncredible Entertainment, which manages several hip-hop groups.

Adam Lambert

Genres: Pop, pop-rock, dance, electronic

The runner-up from American Idol season 8, Lambert’s fame has far surpassed that of the season winner (Kris Allen). His debut album. For Your Entertainment, has become iconic for its cover art – the album even made an appearance in a scene from Pitch Perfect. In 2014, Lambert and Queen went on a world tour, selling out their show at Madison Square Garden in just one day.

Frank Zappa

Genres: Rock, jazz, classical, electronic, experimental

Number 71 on Rolling Stone‘s 2004 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” Frank Zappa had a career spanning more than 30 years. He posthumously received both an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Bonus San Diego music fun fact: While the Beach Boys are often associated with San Diego, they hail from Hawthorne, California, 120 miles north. Who knew?

Sun, Sand and Surf in San Diego

If you’re like us here at CEC Headquarters, the weather this last week has made you wish CEC 2015 was here already. To help stave off the cold weather blues, check out this list of the best beaches in the San Diego area.

Coronado Beach

Consistently voted one of America’s top beaches by the Travel Channel, Coronado Beach is one of the best places to take the family. Head over the bridge to relax on huge stretches of white sand (just remember your SPF!). Swim, boogie board, or grab your dog and head to the leashless section of the beach. To wind down your day, grab a built-in fire pit and roast some s’mores. Coronado Central Beach also offers free beach-accessible wheelchair rentals.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is often compared to Atlantic City for its large boardwalk, but the California vibe makes it stand out. Voted the best beach for beach volleyball, walking and amusements, there’s something for everyone at Mission Beach. Ride the historic Giant Dipper at Belmont Park, or grab a bite at one of the many oceanview eateries. You can fish off the jetty, or if you’re ready to get really SoCal, visit one of the many surf shops to take a lesson.

La Jolla

If you’re ready to explore, head over to La Jolla. One of the area’s smallest beaches, it offers some of the best adventure zones. Cliffs form a bay at La Jolla Cove that offers the perfect place to launch your scuba diving or snorkeling adventure. Visit at low tide to see the amazing marine life that makes the tide pools their home. While you’re in the area, stop by The Children’s Pool. Originally created as a safe swimming area for human kids, the pool now plays home to seal and sea lion parents and their children.

Imperial Beach

In addition to the California standard beach activities like bodyboarding and swimming, Imperial Beach offers birdwatching and hiking at the National Wildlife Rescue in Tijuana Sloughs & Border Park. If you head back to San Diego in July, head to Imperial Beach to check out the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle Building Contest. Hundreds of competitors create works of art that go far beyond the standard sand castle.

What’s your favorite beach-side activity?

Golden State’s Golden Globes

This Sunday, the Golden Globes will honor the best of the year in film and television (NBC, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). This week, we’re honoring some of our favorite movies and shows that have been set in San Diego.


Top Gun

The inspiration for thousands of people’s Halloween costumes, Top Gun is a favorite movie for many. We have it to thank for the popularity of Tom Cruise, aviator sunglasses, beach volleyball, and that Berlin song that we won’t name for fear of getting it stuck in your head.

The Game

A spin-off of the also popular series Girlfriends, The Game looks at the relationships of the wives, girlfriends and mothers of the players of the San Diego Sabers (which if you’re not NFL-savvy, is not a real team [this fact confirmed by Google]). The only show on our list that’s still airing, The Game returns January 14 at 10pm on BET.

Drake and Josh

Drake and Josh stars Drake Bell and Josh Peck as the creatively-named title characters. A Nickelodeon staple from 2004-2007, the show focuses on the two stepbrothers’s wacky adventures through high school. A personal favorite episode? Drake buys Josh tickets to The Oprah Show for his birthday, and Josh promptly runs over Oprah with his car.

Bring It On

It’s a movie about cheerleaders, but don’t let that dissuade you. The routines are amazing, the one-liners are classic, and the Kirsten Dunst-Gabrielle Union rivalry is fierce. You may be compelled to use the phrase “these are not spirit fingers…THESE are spirit fingers” at least once a week for the rest of your life after you see this movie – consider this a fair warning.

Veronica Mars

Technically, the show is set in the fictional Southern California town of Neptune, but since scenes were filmed in San Diego and at several San Diego colleges we thought that counted. This cult classic stars the indomitable Kristen Bell as a teen detective (a cooler, less-coiffed Nancy Drew for the 21st century). The series, which ended in 2007, is still so popular that a Kickstarter for a movie raised over $2 million dollars in less than 10 hours in 2013.
Are there any other San Diego based shows or movies you would add to this list?

Ringing in 2015 in San Diego

Happy (almost) New Year! January means a new calendar, a fresh start, and only 3 more months until CEC 2015!

If you’re in San Diego this New Year’s Eve, the San Diego Tourism Authority has put together a list of great ways to celebrate, whether you’re looking for something family-friendly, something elegant, or something involving a DJ. The gorgeous picture on the right was taken on an NYE cruise in the San Diego Bay.

Check out the full list of New Year’s offerings here.

From all of us at CEC, have a very happy 2015.

Holidays in San Diego

When researching local holiday events in San Diego, this fun picture was one of the first things that came up:


San Diegans certainly don’t experience the traditional white Christmas that many of us do, but they have plenty of great holiday experiences available. If you’re in San Diego this holiday season, check out this list of some of the best bets for holiday fun:

  1. Take a spin on California’s largest ice skating rink at the Viejas Ice Rink
  2. Catch a bowl game – San Diego will again play host to the Poinsettia Bowl (December 23 at 7:30pm) and the Holiday Bowl (December 27 at 5pm). This year’s Pointsettia Bowl is SDSU vs. Navy, and the Holiday Bowl pits USC against Nebraska.
  3. See the animals alight at Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo.
  4. Build holiday memories at LEGOLAND’s Holiday Snow Days, featuring a 30-foot tall LEGO® Christmas tree.
  5. Splash into the holiday season with SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.
  6. Feel your heart grow 3 sizes at The Old Globe’s production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  7. Float on down to one of the many holiday parades and festivals in the area.

How would you suggest spending the holidays in Southern California?