Artist Spotlight: Zander Waves

Editorial: Interview with Zander Waves by Will Wright

I had the pleasure of speaking with Alexander “Zander Waves” Baugh at the Napa Institute Summer Conference. Zander was in Napa representing Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) but is also an active musician. He will be playing at FOCUS’ upcoming SLS conference this winter in Phoenix.

Zander has a very interesting and complicated background in terms of location. His father worked for World Bank and is an Argentinian native who group up in Ireland and met Zander’s mom in New York City. He was born in Hong Kong, and subsequently lived in Norway, New York, Texas, and Miami. For sake of ease he says that he is from Miami. I can’t blame him.

Zander says that he doesn’t feel like he’s from Miami. But he loves the tropical feel and how international the city is. There are cultures there from all around the globe. He says “It’s a good place to come from. It’s my calling card.” 

Zander was active in the Florida music scene. As he says, “I’ve played every crevasse of that state.” He had the honor of opening for Bob Marley’s band The Wailers. He was then asked to join The Wailerson tour of over a month a year ago, going all around the country, playing six nights a week. 

He’s not your average rock star, to be sure. Zander said that he and his percussionist, at every city along the way, always found a church to go to daily Mass. It was clear from the outset that Zander is a man of great Faith and love of our Lord. He exudes kindness and a genuine heart for Jesus and sharing Him with others. 

This was not always the case. Zander told me about his conversion experience. In his own words:

“About three years ago, and it was an intense part of my life… so many things brought me there and allowed my heart to be open and ready. I would say, for sure, it was my mom praying for me. But she kinda came back into her faith when I was in high school and I was already long gone trying to be a rock star and get famous and all that kind of thing. But I got out of a very bad relationship. One of my best friends, who was an incredible drummer, was hit by an 18-wheeler and in the hospital for a whole year and didn’t make it. So, I was at a thought point in my life. I moved to this apartment one block from the beach. I remember this one morning, in particular, waking up… 5 a.m. or 4 a.m…. pitch black and just getting up and going straight to the beach… sitting down in the complete stillness, silence. Not one person on the ocean, not one person in sight. And then just seeing the most majestic sunrise I’ve ever seen in my entire life and just wanting to pray. I wanted to pray, wanted to thank God in that moment and how He’s been in my life in so many ways.”

He continued, “You know how, at least personally, when you allow God back into your life, you can then see how He’s been in your life in so many different ways…. now, we can still look back in the past and see those moments that you can’t see in the present.”

Zander spoke from the heart about how in that moment he felt God’s love and mercy wash over him. He was just overcome with how amazing God is. He wanted to go to Confession immediately. One Lent, three years ago, he skateboarded to Mass on Ash Wednesday and made the commitment to go to Mass each day of Lent. He was even asked to be a lector. 

He always felt that God was knocking. He describes himself as willful and thought he might find God “later, later.” He then finally allowed God in. He saw a truly beautiful sunrise, God’s handiwork, and grace broke into his life. As he said, he was “all in” in that moment. He became fully alive. 

Mentally and emotionally, he allowed himself to be open to God. And God answered. Before his conversion, he felt like nothing was ever enough. His heart was restless and it was only in God that he founded the One who truly satisfies. He is open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and wants to live in the moment, where he seeks to see God most clearly. He strives to be innocent as a child before God, as the Psalms say, and reliant on God. Above all, he just wants to be grateful.

Zander is a singer and songwriter who plays guitar and ukulele. He writes from the heart and what inspires him. He is greatly inspired by the Catholic Faith. You can stream his music on Spotify and YouTube.

You can book Zander for an event here: