Behind the Music on HawaiiUP
Music is good. The more music I feature on HawaiiUP, after all, the less of me you’ll have to put up with.
Like wary podcasters everywhere, I experimented with some podcast-friendly music from the Mainland. But I knew the music of Hawaii was too special to not put front and center. So after a most enlightening discussion, I started searching for local artists and labels that would be open to joining me in the grand podcasting experiment… understanding that in some respects, it was the blind leading the blind.
I’m proud to say that many musicians were gracious enough to let me play their stuff on my little show, despite the relative newness of HawaiiUP and podcasting in general. As promised (or threatened), however, not every artist will be in the vein of Keali`i Reichel. Hawaii is home to all kinds of sounds, from slack key to ska, from pop to punk, from techno to solo trombone. HawaiiUP is open to all the colors of local music, and I hope my listeners will be too.
- Akamai Brain Collective — Three Hawaii locals raised in the islands, but schooled at two of the world’s finest music schools, fuse elements of jazz, blues, exotica, latin, classical and pop. “Progressive island jams,” they call it, and more is on the way.
- Amanda Frazier — A Japan born, Aiea raised, California dreamer with a folksy, acoustic sound.
- Coconut Joe — “Featuring the music of singer-songwriter Bob Rogers and the band from the Hawaiian Islands. Fresh, contemporary, tropical rock, pop, light jazz and blues music…”
- The Crud — Straightforward, genuine rock. Think Nirvana meets Weezer meets the Pixies. Having just finished a whirlwind East Coast tour, their debut album, Antidote, is due out later this year.
- Emerson — Dexter Carolino’s solo acoustic project. A junior at my alma mater, Mililani High School, Dexter says, “Music is my top thing.” A home- and self-produced EP may be on the horizon.
- Hope On Horizon — Kim and Erika, two girls (they’re currently down a bass player) with acoustic guitars and an emo sound from the Moanalua/Salt Lake area.
- The Island Riddim Band — A contemporary Hawaiian music band based in the Bay Area of Northern California. The members were born and raised in the islands, but went to college on the Mainland, and got its start playing at the annual Santa Clara University luau. Their debut album is titled “The New Voyage.”
- John Keawe — John is an example of Hawaiian music at its modern finest, taking the best of an established tradition and embellishing it with a personal touch. John plays Hawaiian slack key guitar, and has five Hoku Awards nominated recordings under his belt.
- Jordan Segundo — He garnered national acclaim when he made the Top 32 on “American Idol” in 2002, and he’s never stopped making music, before or since. Check out his debut full-length CD, simply titled “Jordan.”
- Kika — Monica Backman is a multi-faceted performer who began singing at age three and got her first guitar at age seven. She now performs locally with the rock/pop-punk band Gecko Ecko.
- Kristen Nakasone — A UH Manoa student who mixes her love of writing with her love of music. A fan of Joss Stone, Rachel Yamagata and Jewel, she declares, “My music is more personal than my underwear.”
- Misty Pang — A 25 year-old from Honolulu who has been playing guitar for 14 years, and who found her niche playing indie/alt and folk rock. She plays all the instruments (guitar, bass, drums and keyboards) as well as the vocals.
- Pali — Pali Tuan W. Ka’aihue’s first album earned Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominations for “Most Promising Artist” and “Island Contemporary Album of the Year.” John Berger of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin called his newest album, In Harmony, “a beautiful celebration of modern Hawaiian and hapa-haole music.”
- Shiva — Easten, Chris, and Daniel, Big Island “purveyors of sound, bards of the modern age.”
- Suspicious Minds — Ryan Bradley, Mykle Harrell, and Derek Hoeft make up this band, whose sound ranges from rockabilly bluegrass to straight-up rock to everything in between. They play their hearts out at gigs all over town.
- Stubborn Boogie — “Red Session” veteran and island music maven Jamie Winpenny often made music that didn’t quite fit the ska mold, so he put it here. Winpenny is still making music today, playing gigs with “Mama Zang.”
- Wilfred N and the Grown Men — Wilfred Kozub and Jamie Philp are a Edmonton, Canada pop/rock duo that spice up their sound with eclectic, unusual influences. Jamie in particular adds a Hawaiian touch to their music, having studied Hawaiian steel guitar with George Lake and studied slack key at the Big Island’s Slack Key and Ukulele Institute.
I hope that as the number and diverse styles of the musicians I feature grows, others will be interested in joining the island podcasting `ohana… if not with my show, with any of the other local folks sharing their voice and aloha with the wired world.
Join the `Ohana
First and foremost, I recommend both artists and podcasters read Keola Donaghy’s essay, Podcasting and Hawaiian Music, which highlights important points we all need to keep in mind. (If you need to know more about podcasting in general, check out the Wikipedia entry.) For example, you will need to be sure you have all rights to your music (composer, performance, etc.) before granting any podcaster permission to include it in a show.
If you are a local musician or independent label interested in having your work featured in HawaiiUP (or any podcast), please drop me a line. Agreements can be as simple as an e-mail or a handshake, or as complicated as a signed release. Understand that we’re all new at this, however, so the latter option may take some heavy (and not neccessarily qualified) thinking.
Some quick assurances:
- “Podcasting” does not mean distributing MP3s of your individual songs. Podcasters are as sensitive to the threat of illegal fileswapping as we are to licensing issues. A podcast is a complete audio “show,” meaning your music is just one segment in a larger program that is distributed whole.
- Talkover intro and outros and reduced bitrates (my show is compressed to 64kbps) reduce the practicality and attractiveness of trying to “extract” your music out of the show… just like conventional radio broadcasts.
- You can specify which albums or tracks you wish to have featured, and I always love to include artist background and other relevant information (i.e. upcoming gigs, new albums, etc.).
- Your website will be prominently linked in the online show notes and mentioned during the podcast. If you don’t have a website, I can work with you to determine how listeners who like your work can best support you.