Faces in the Crowd

Pavel Sfera’s Story Reaches Far Beyond His Rock Star Persona

by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Dawn at Nicoli Productions

A Creative Life

faces_sfera1At first glance, Pavel Sfera’s appearance reveals a small part of his story. The San Marcos resident has been performing as an impersonator of U2’s lead singer, Bono, for 15 years, but the rest of his life story isn’t quite as obvious.

The Yugoslavia-born, LA-raised rock star impersonator was originally on a much different career path. After earning his B.A. and interning as a city planner in San Diego, Pavel realized he needed to “sow his creative seeds.” Since then he’s held many positions but is always drawn back to the creative life. Today Pavel is an entertainer, photographer, artist, and humanitarian.

Pavel is one of 11 children and arrived in the U.S. at the age of four. His father’s life and work have been a major influence. “He was such an honest, old-fashioned, simple, hard-working guy that really had almost no real personal life or identity outside the couple of dedications to his day-to-day living,” Pavel acknowledged. While his father hoped his son would follow a traditional and practical calling, Pavel admitted, “I found myself questioning what my contributions were to my life and life itself. And I’d have to say: music.”

Name: Pavel Sfera
Profession: Artist
Community: San Marcos since 2015, San Diego for over 20 years
Interests: Music, art, sustainability, photography, cooking, gardening, travel, poetry, creative writing, and “craic” with any locals in my travels
Favorite Local Spots: Bread and Cie in Hillcrest, Cotija Mex Grill and Bluefoot Bar and Lounge in North Park, San Marcos Blvd. for all the food and haps. I go to Pho Ca Dao & Grill in Rancho Bernardo to meet with my friend who manages much of San Diego-based Carvin Music Equipment. And on a rare occasion, I’ll visit with a few friends at the local pub called Cow Shed Bar in San Marcos and maybe do some karaoke over a hard cider. Yes, I do U2 tunes for the audience.


Pavel’s music is only one way he serves others; he is also a committed volunteer for humanitarian organizations. Over the years he has volunteered in a variety of capacities, including translator and music therapist for handicapped orphans in Romania. But his experience in Mexican orphanages has defined his focus today. “I was spending thousands of dollars out of my own pocket to fill the pantry shelves of some of these places. I needed to be more utilitous with my resources. I saw money as a resource, but applying the principles of ‘teaching a man how to fish’ stood out,” Pavel said. In the last four years, his service has centered on teaching sustainable living practices. “I’ve immersed myself with learning much about sustainable living via aquaponics, soil conditioning, vermiculture, homesteading, etc., so that I can build and teach how to maintain these systems in areas where resources are scarce and expensive,” Pavel explained.


Settling in San Marcos this year has created the perfect home base for Pavel’s diverse and creative work. He appreciates his work space and garden, as well as the region’s open spaces and approachable people. “Coming here to San Marcos has allowed me to open up to projects and feeling like I belong.”

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