Birthplace: Hawaii, Polynesia
Best known for: Single-handedly redefining the looping method of music creation.
As well as writing and recording original material, Kawehi covers popular songs in her own, unique way.
When her rendition of Nirvana's 'Heart Shaped Box' went viral on YouTube, interest in Kawehi spiked and she found herself on the front page of many music-based websites and publications.
Being a Nirvana fan myself (and having heard some seriously dire covers of their material) I was pleasantly surprised at her version, impressed by the way she had managed to put her own slant on such an iconic tune.
I had a feeling that this girl was someone to watch out for, and subsequent musical offerings proved this to be the case. Anyone who knows me will also know that I'm not usually into pop (although I do like my 80's tunes!), but more of a rock fan. But I took a chance on her 'Evolution' album and it turned out to be so much more than the cheesy factory-produced tunes that are so often churned out by the industry. I can't say that she converted me completely, but she's certainly opened my eyes (or ears) to alternative styles of music.
Meanwhile, Kawehi continues to release some pretty awesome covers (and originals) on her website and YouTube channel. You definitely need to check out 'The Way You Make Me Feel' (Michael Jackson), 'I'm Only Happy When It Rains' (Garbage), 'Sail' (AWOLnation) and 'High And Dry' (Radiohead).
If you thought they were good, wait until you hear 'Closer' (Nine Inch Nails)! So, so awesome! But watch out, that one has some pretty naughty lyrics so don't play it if the kids are knocking around!
When I heard that Kawehi was doing a world tour and coming to the UK, it was a no-brainer. The tickets were bought there and then, and on 28th July 2015, my friend Alun and I met in Manchester (UK) to check her out live.
Wow!, just wow. I was not disappointed. It was an amazing show from start to finish, with Kawehi proving she sounds as good (if not better) live as she does on her studio mixed stuff. To say I was impressed is an understatement! Her mastery of both electronic equipment and traditional instruments (guitar, keyboards, ukelele) made this a show like no other I've seen. At one point she performed a delicately interwoven medley of popular songs, all perfectly live-mixed, and the crowd absolutely lapped it up. Banter between tunes made it obvious that she's an intelligent, funny, tuned-in girl who really lives for her music.
I've seen a lot of live music over the last 30 years, and this show easily ranks in my top 5. It was a very small venue (she's not too well known over here - yet) but that just contributed more to the atmosphere, it was more intimate.
After performing a combination of covers and her own material (which included the awesome 'Anthem' and the very emotional 'Neda'), she finished her set (to rapturous applause) with a traditional clap-along Hawaiian number, then stepped off the stage into the crowd! She stayed there for the rest of the evening, chatting, hugging and signing merchandise (and boobs...)! I've never seen an artist so appreciative of their fans.
After hugs, a chat, and photo's, Alun (who is a musician himself) and I had time to talk with her husband who also turned out to be a really nice person, down to earth and like Kawehi, totally approachable. We stayed there talking with Paul about all sorts of stuff until security eventually kicked us out of the venue, by which time Kawehi had met just about everyone who went to see her. Given that she was travelling to Amsterdam the next day, that's pretty damned commendable.
She's promised to return to the UK in the future. We will definitely be there to see her again, you should too, trust me.