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- Posted on Mar 2nd 2010 10:20AM by Kevin F. Sims
How would you describe your sound?
It's a singer-songwriter, storyteller kind of music. I don't really know how to describe it. You have to hear it.
What are your biggest musical influences?
The cool thing about Hawaii is that there's so much sound that we grow up listening to. I come from a musical family. My cousin, -- his name is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and he's a big Hawaiian dude -- and his songs got over, and his version of 'Over the Rainbow' got some play. There are a lot of influences over here, but in general, it's more of a John Mayer, Jason Mraz kind of deal. It's kinda hard because growing up in Hawaii, there's just influence towards Hawaiian music. We were really influenced by local musicians.
Beatles or Stones?
Aw, jeez. They're both good, but I think I'd have to say Beatles. I think it's because I'm the kind of musician where, like, I'm lazy to learn other people's music. I'd rather write my own, and the Beatles were more that way -- they have more of a songwriter kind of feel. The Stones are great too, of course, but I mean, it's the Beatles. Come on.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
You know, I don't have one man. Put it this way: I do acoustic music, I have a singer-songwriter indie rock kinda feel, but I'm also a DJ at a hip-hop station, and I own a studio, so I write and produce pop music as well. All different influences.
On your albums, you play all the instruments, but when you perform you have backup band. How did you meet those guys?
Yeah, back here I have a band -- a bass player, a congo player and a drummer. My SXSW showcase is an acoustic set. It's just gonna be me and my congo player. We're gonna jam it out that way, mostly because I couldn't afford to pay for four plane tickets to Austin [laughs].
Here, I guess it's kinda like Vegas for musicians. The guys that play with me, they've been playing for a long time with me. I stared out when I was pretty young -- 13 -- playing in a band here called the Tropical Knights, and we recorded three albums that were successful locally here, and the drummer we had then is my drummer now. My brother is my bass player. I met my congo player through several gigs, and he just hooked up with me. That's how I came to be in my band.
Here in Hawaii, the scene to work is Waikiki. You got to get a working position. If you want work, you have to play the Waikiki scene. I do solos, play in clubs, everything.
Have you ever been to Austin? What's in your festival survival kit?
I haven't, but I'm looking forward to it. I've never been to Texas, just California and Seattle. It's kinda hard to get off of this rock [laughs]. My survival kit is just my guitar -- that's all I need.
What are you hoping to get out of SXSW?
I'm hoping it opens big doors for me. I'm really looking forward to it. It's really a big thing coming from Hawaii, because it's so small and there's so much talent here, but sometimes we get overlooked. Getting invited to a big festival like this is a big deal here. You get in the newspaper and everything -- it's pretty huge.
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