Craig Abaya

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Craig Abaya
CraigInteview09 01.jpg
Background information
Birth name Craig Abaya
Born San Francisco, California
Genres Alternative rock, rock and roll, pop, grunge, heavy metal, Americana
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, composer, music producer, recording engineer, filmmaker, photographer, graphic designer, educator
Labels ARTifice Music
Associated acts


Craig Abaya is an artist from San Francisco, California. He is a musician, songwriter, producer, filmmaker, photographer, and web designer.[1] He served as director of San Francisco State University's Extended Learning Multimedia Studies and Music/Recording Industry programs, as well as running the school's Digital Video Intensive. He has won ten Billboard songwriting awards.[2]

Early life[edit]

Abaya is a native of San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood.[2] 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.[2]

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, video, computers and electronics.[3]


Abaya earned his first teaching experience at SFSU's Graduate Film school while he was still an undergraduate,[3] but eventually took a full-time position teaching in Silicon Valley.[4] Eventually, he moved to SFSU College of Extended Learning where he directed the Multimedia Studies Program, Music/Recording Industry Program, Digital Video Intensive, and Web Design Intensive.[5]


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 bomber pilot from 1950s sci-fi film, Tarantula and earning his first television screen credit from films he shot age 12.[6]

In 2002, Apple Computer 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.[7]

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.

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.[3]

In 2016, Abaya served as director of photography, first assistant director, editor, and music composer for the 2017 neo-noir film, Ambush.[8]

Music career[edit]

Craig Abaya

During his teens, Abaya formed his first professional band, the grunge/metal trio "Apparition." After disbanding "Apparition," Abaya acquired his own recording equipment and founded the 4-piece group "The Basics" and later, "Abaya," in an attempt to merge his divergent musical endeavors. 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. Abaya also directed and edited his first music video of the song "Silly Sentimental Fool" for release in 2010.

In 2014, he composed and played guitars and bass on the DJ Qbert album "Extraterrestria." In 2016 Craig began work on his 2nd solo album along with a duet album with JoAnne Lorenzana.

Abaya is a Grammy voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers as well as 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 35mm 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, published an interview with Craig’s photography and in 2013, San Francisco's MacWorld Expo made him their featured artist with a gallery of his concert photography and films.

Craig’s photos have appeared in L.A. Times, Gentry Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, and other publications.


  1. ^ Springer, Denize (December 20, 2004). "People on campus: digital dynamo Craig Abaya". San Francisco State University Campus Memo. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Fil-Am is 10-time Billboard honoree". The Philippine Star. January 3, 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Multimedia Studies: Faculty". San Francisco State University. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "About Me". Craig Abaya's Personal Website. Craig Abaya. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Fast Track to a Web Career". Apple. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fast Track to a Web Career". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Bruce Hornsby Live at Villa Montalvo". SF Visuals. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  8. ^ [citation needed]"Ambush on IMDB". Retrieved 10 February 2017. 

External links[edit]