Kawehi Interview

Kawehi: Internet’s Rising Star

Kawehi is a solo musician that blew up on the internet this month with her cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Although the video upload is 2 years old it still caught the eye of redditors. The unique thing about Kawehi’s performance is she uses her own voice to create the full sound spectrum of the MJ classic.. When I first heard the song I had to listen to it a few times. It was just an amazing experiment with electronic music production. Take a few minutes to watch it.

Although Kawehi possess the ability to play a broad spectrum of instruments, she still utilizes heavily on the electronic music medium as well as her voice to create her full and unique sound. She was kind enough to agree to a few questions from ElectRow.

ElectRow: How old were you when you started playing music? Did you have any formal lessons or musical instruments you started with or did you just pick things up as you went along?

Kawehi: I was 5 when I picked up the ‘ukulele – that was probably my first instrument.  But I took piano lessons as a teenager – I think that helped me with structure.  All of the other instruments are just something I kind of picked up along the way – more as a necessity.  I was becoming a one woman band…so I needed to learn how to play all of the instruments!!

ER: When did you came to the Mainland?  

Kawehi: I moved to L.A. from Hawai’i when I was 20.  Now, I live in Lawrence Kansas!

ER: Why did you pick Kansas over L.A. NYC, or another popular musical place?  

Kawehi: I lived in L.A. for 10 years….and that was long enough.  It’s tough living out there – things are incredibly expensive, and it’s difficult to put 100% into your craft when you’re so worried about paying your rent.  We found a recording studio out in Lawrence, Kansas – and it just seemed like the right decision.  I’m glad we moved!

ER: What are some of your influences and favorite artists right now?

Kawehi:I’m really into Imogen Heap – I think she’s incredibly creative.  Love Gotye – think he’s an amazing everything.  I dig the new Sia stuff too.

ER: What keeps you motivated as an artist?

Kawehi: My passion for it – I think as long as love something, you’ll always do it.  I love music – it’s in my veins, it’s the air I breathe.  That’ll never change.

ER: Why did you decide to use Abelton?

Kawehi: I really just wanted to jump to that next level – where I could create different sounds coming from one place.  Ableton gives me the ability to do ANYTHING – and that’s fantastic.

ER: Was the transition away from a pedal board a difficult one?

Kawehi: It was – hardware is a lot simpler to me to figure out.  Software – there’s just so much to learn, so many different things you can do with it.  But by the time I transitioned to Ableton, I had the fundamentals of looping down – and that’s the key to it all.

ER: You have a lot of experience with Kickstarter, any tips?

Kawehi :I’ve been pretty lucky.  I’m now into my 7th Kickstarter campaign – 6 of them have been successful.  I think the key is to be as engaged and involved with your backers as possible – they want to be in it together, with you.  And lots of content.  Tons of content.  People are so hungry out there for new material.

ER: Any advice or words of encouragement to struggling artists?

Kawehi: Work at it.  Love it.  I think if you have both of those things until you’re blue in the face – you’ll succeed.  

Be sure to support her by picking up her newest EP “Robot Heart”. Kawehi will start a tour though Asia on October 1st in Guam and through to Kula Lumpur on the 6th. She will return to the states on the 18th with a show in Washington D.C.. Be sure to check her tour schedule for all the upcoming shows. Also be sure to check out her newest video from “Robot Heart” titled “Anthem”. 6 heads sing better than 1.