We’re all very proud of our Armenian heritage! OK, I’m speculating about Lando, but if he’s like every other Armenian I’ve ever met, he is.

I don’t talk about my family or background too much on stage but I’m really happy with this bit from my new live album so I’ve made it into the first lyric video from Rob P. Rocks a Jazz Club!

One of the reasons I never came up with a stage name is because of my dad’s excitement whenever he saw an Armenian name in the media (though if he were alive today I believe he’d be as sick of the Kardashians as the rest of us). I always joked “if people can say ‘Schwarzenegger’ they can say ‘Paravonian.’”

Turns out that’s not exactly true as my name gets mispronounced in at least half of my introductions, but I’m sticking with it at this point. My grandparents on my dad’s side fled a genocide in which they lost their first spouses, came to a new country with a new language, and started a new life. I don’t want to disrespect that just because it makes it difficult for me to sing funny songs.

I do give fake names for restaurant reservations though, because who has time?

And if you’re wondering, here’s how I* pronounce my name: “Par’ rhymes with ‘bar,’ “avo” rhymes with ‘bravo,’ “nian” like if you said the word ‘neon’ in one syllable. Try it! It’s fun!

*I grew up saying it differently, more like Pear-uh-VOH-nee-un and my dad would say it both ways. I finally realized he would pronounce his name “Haig” with a long ‘i’ “Par-uh-voh-nyan” when speaking with Armenians and “Haig” with a long ‘a’ “Pear-uh-VOH-nee-un” when speaking to Americans. I asked him about it and he said the first way was the more Armenian pronunciation but he tended to say it how the person he was talking to pronounced it. A consequence of assimilation, I suppose. 

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