Real Talk w/ @KingKekai #HzUp


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Talk about your career highlights thus far?
Some of the highlights of my musical career include: being nominated for 2 Na-Hoku Hanohano and 2 Hawaii Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Artist, working and collaborating with the winners of the EDC Discovery Project DSKOTEK along with all the other talented musicians and producers in Hawaii that are on my album.

Talk about the good, the bad and the exciting parts of the music industry.

Well, we all know about the politics in the industry and how they can stifle and supress some of the most talented people. Whats cool and exciting to me though is meeting and working with other artists in the industry and how I get inspired by their creativity. It really pushes me to do more.

Ambition is a big part of success. So is creativity. You seem to have a lot of both qualities. Where do you think you developed your ambition and creativity?

I’m just a really hard worker when I love what I’m doing. I also come from a very musical family so I grew up around the industry and its inner workings. Another thing is, Im surrounded by really driven friends who inspire me a lot to work harder and keep improving.

Did your initial love for hip hop develop in Hawaii or Cali?

It developed here in Hawaii. My brother was a big Hip-Hop fan and he actually turned me on to Dr. Dre’s first album “The Chronic”. I fell in love with it way back then. However I had my breakthrough in Cali. Here I was this kid who grew up in Hilo, all of a sudden I’m in Cali, entering battles up and down the coast, in LA, in Oakland, all these places I used to hear Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre rap about and see on the music videos and I was actually holding my own and sounding cool so it make say hmmm maybe I can actually do this and put out my own music.

Talk about your upbringing in music?

My dad was in a Island Reggae Band “Sly Dog” from Maui back in the early 90’s they had some success. Before then he was always playing the guitar in rock bands as far as I can remember. My uncles and cousins are the Browns from Maui and are really well known and respected for their slack key playing. Lukela the lead singer from Ekolu is a also a cousin. And there are lots of other family members that are musicians as well, but don’t do it professionally so it was always around. I started playing the saxophone when I was in grade school and picked up the piano along the way as well. After High School I studied music production at the Berklee College of Music so I got my training there and that’s where I met Tracey “Dr. Trey” Terada (Jake Shimakuro’s ukulele teacher/producer) who helped me with my first album.

When was the last time you said to yourself “Wow, I am blessed?”

When I was at EDC because when you’re at an event that big and with awesome friends, and being given such a huge opportunity to share my music, meet and network with people you look up to it was really mind blowing… The whole experience… On the last day I took a step back was like wow… We’re here..

Do you have a good luck charm?

I don’t have a good luck charm because I believe luck is just timing and opportunity… But one thing I can’t live without is my iPhone. I, just like pretty much everyone else use it for everything; social media, banking, even writing songs, and rough ideas for beats.

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