16-year-old Waimea resident debuts premier album ʻKukahi’

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Sixteen-year-old Kukahi Lee released his debut album “Kukahi” this summer. The native Hawaiian singer-songwriter from Waimea fuses punk, blues and folk, with rock and rap music, then throws in some Hawaiian slack key guitar with a dash of funk and flamenco to create his own original sound.

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Sixteen-year-old Kukahi Lee released his debut album “Kukahi” this summer. The native Hawaiian singer-songwriter from Waimea fuses punk, blues and folk, with rock and rap music, then throws in some Hawaiian slack key guitar with a dash of funk and flamenco to create his own original sound.

“I started writing when I was 6 years old,” said Lee. “I really love music and how it makes people feel. I write, compose, arrange, and perform all of my music. In my free time, I like to play chess and hope to one day become a chess grandmaster. I’ve been outrigger canoe paddling for 7 years, and I’m also a certified meditation/yoga instructor.”

The oldest of five siblings, Lee was born and raised on Oahu and moved to Waimea a few years ago, which he now considers his home. Along with chess and paddling, he also enjoys volunteer work and performed for Habitat for Humanity on his birthday.

“Providing entertainment for hardworking people who spent all day building houses from all over the country was the best birthday present I could ever have,” he said. “With everything going on in the world today, I think music is more important than ever. I also want people to know that you can be a hero without wearing a uniform. You don’t have to be a police officer or a fireman to be a hero. You can make a difference in people’s lives without that.”

Kukahi means “unique” in Hawaiian and Lee strives to live up to his name by creating uniqueness in his both his genre of musical compositions as well as his own distinct personality.

“My album just came out about a month ago, and I have two music videos that were shot in LA,” said Lee. “One was for my song ‘Raw,’ the other was for my song ‘Tonight With You,’ which was done with the help of my choreographers AKA Zulu Maniacs. The best word to describe my music would be experimental pop.”

A Big Island Music Award nominee, Lee performs in venues across Hawaii as well as an impressive line-up of venues nationwide, including Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles; San Diego, California; Houston; Austin, Texas; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“My musical hero is Michael Jackson,” said Lee. “I like how he wrote his own songs and how he danced. He was a big influence on me. What inspires me to write the music that I write is self-expression. I’ve never felt like I was the best at communication, so music is my way of communicating with the world. I love the feeling that I get when I create something out of nothing, and I also love the feeling I get when other people listen to my music.”

Lee performed as lead singer and guitarist for the band, “The German Asparagus,” as well as performing extensively and nationally as a solo artist.

“I feel like music has a tremendous cultural impact on us as a society, so I feel like by writing I become a part of this beautiful cultural phenomenon,” he said. “Music has been around since the beginning of time, and has shaped, molded, and shifted the thought paradigm of our world whether it be through traditional, classical, rock, hip-hop, punk, folk, etc. I believe music to be the most important aspect of any society.”

Lee’s future plans are to travel and perform internationally.

“I see myself as an international superstar, traveling all around the world. Europe, Asia, South America, etc. Spreading my messages of aloha, love, unity, and peace all over the planet,” he said.

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Maybe this young singer/songwriter’s music will do just that. Lee offers an Aloha Friday Live event streamed via the Internet at 4 p.m. Fridays at https://www.twitch.tv/brandspankingku.

For more information about Kukahi Lee and performance locations and dates, visit www.brandspankingku.com. ■