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Taking a big step: 20-year-old plans Fargo Theatre show

FARGO-Over the last few years, Kwaician Traylor has been making a name for himself on the local coffeehouse and pub circuit, playing small rooms like Twenty Below Coffee, Red Raven Espresso Parlor, The New Direction, Junkyard Brewing and The Hote...

Singer-songwriter Kwaician Traylor brings his guitar to the Fargo Theatre Saturday night. Special to The Forum
Singer-songwriter Kwaician Traylor brings his guitar to the Fargo Theatre Saturday night. Special to The Forum
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FARGO-Over the last few years, Kwaician Traylor has been making a name for himself on the local coffeehouse and pub circuit, playing small rooms like Twenty Below Coffee, Red Raven Espresso Parlor, The New Direction, Junkyard Brewing and The Hotel Donaldson Lounge.

He's taking it to the next stage this weekend, and it's a big step. Traylor will see his name up in lights on the area's biggest marquee when the singer-songwriter plays the Fargo Theatre.

The 20-year-old knows he's taking a risk with such a big venue for an artist with such a modest following. The one thing he has is faith, not only in himself, but in a higher power.

The idea to play the area's most iconic stage came to him last summer when he was hanging posters for an upcoming show. When he stopped in to the Fargo Theatre he met a friend working there and asked him if they ever held concerts there. His friend responded, "Are you going to fill 900 seats?"

"Man, I am telling you, I had this overwhelming feeling of confidence that God gave me. He gave me the confirmation that I can do that, by this time next year, I'll be playing the Fargo Theatre," Traylor says, sitting down the street from Fargo Theatre at the nearby Atomic Coffee.

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His faith is important to him as a man, but it doesn't define him as an artist, he says, though some songs, like "Dark Days," are about his faith in times of struggle.

"I wouldn't say I'm a Christian musician. I'm a musician who happens to be Christian," he explains, adding that he does play at his church, Latter Rain Ministries in Moorhead.

While he only started playing guitar four years ago, Traylor says he has been singing since he was a child.

"I've been singing since I could start forming words. My mom says I used to sing 'Mama' by Boys II Men," he says.

While he was raised on pop R&B artists like Usher and Brandy, he was turned on to folk music through acoustic artist City and Colour, whose "Northern Wind" was one of the first songs he learned. From there he started listening to John Mayer and later Ed Sheeran.

"It's funny - I didn't grow up listening to folk, but that guitar does something. It's so earthy and rootsy," he says.

He's currently inspired by Sheeran's use of guitar loops to build a fuller sound as a one-man band, but isn't looking to learn covers; instead he's, "trying to create instead of duplicate."

Even without formal guitar lessons, he joined Fargo South High School's jazz band, which taught him more about music than just playing guitar.

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Three years ago he started writing his own material and playing around. In the time since he's released two studio EPs and one live EP, but would like to do a full-length album. He's hoping for not only an audio recording of Saturday's show, but a video as well that could be used in a documentary.

When asked if he thinks he can sell out the Fargo Theatre, he recalls one CD release party at Twenty Below when 10 people pre-ordered tickets but 50 paid at the door. For the Fargo show, 58 people have said they are going and 154 are interested, according to a Facebook post for the show.

"I'm just believing in God. If it's not (a sellout) it's still going to be one of the biggest shows I've played in my life," he says. "Even if nobody shows up, the ability to do that says a lot about me. If it flops, I'll take it as a learning experience and I'll do it again. I'm not afraid of whatever happens. I'll do it again. I'm excited. It's not going to stop at the Fargo Theatre, though. Hopefully, one day I'll fill the Fargodome."

For those who do go to Saturday's show, he has a warning.

"People need to know, if you're coming, you better be ready to sing. It's an experience meant to be shared," he says.

If You Go

What: Kwaician Traylor, Jaeden Schaan with the The Knotties

When: 7 p.m., Saturday

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Where: Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway, N., Fargo

Info: Tickets are $15 at the door or tickets300.com/; See traylor perform here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SuCCeSSFuL9619

Singer-songwriter Kwaician Traylor brings his guitar to the Fargo Theatre Saturday night. Special to The Forum
Kwaician Traylor takes his show from coffee houses like the Red Raven Espresso Parlor to the Fargo Theatre Saturday night. Jack Stenerson / Special to The Forum

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For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
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