After Receiving Over 2 Million Views of Her Michael Jackson Cover on YouTube, The DIY Artist, Kawehi, Reveals How It All Happened!
Posted On 11 Nov 2014
Kawehi is the very essence of a DIY artist. Hailing originally from Hawaii, she is a incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist. Using loops, effects, and a mini-keyboard, she invents creative and unique covers to songs we all know and love.
Kawehi’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” :
How did all of this start? When did you first realize that wanted to be a performer? How did you first learn that you could do all this?
Music’s always been in my life – I always knew I wanted to do this. I don’t think you really know what your capacity is – in anything – until you try it. Music is no different. The way I create music now – it’s really just years of trial and error. And I’m sure that’ll change as the years progress – that’s what so cool about music. You are constantly growing.
What do you think is your greatest achievement so far as a DIY artist?
I think doing anything you love for a living is an incredible feat. There’s so much temptation out there nowadays – so many corners to cut, lines to skip. It’s hard to break through as an artist without the help of a label – it’s expensive and tough. I get it. But getting there on your own – and not compromising any of your creativity – it feels hella good.
How has your Hawaiian background influenced your music? How is the change from living in Hawaii to living in Los Angeles? Does your family come to visit you?
I live in Lawrence, Kansas now – but I did live in L.A. for 10 years. Moved there from Hawai’i when I was 20. It was a huge change. My family visits as much as they can – usually once a year. I miss them terribly.
What’s been a favorite cover that you have performed? What’s your favorite original song of yours?
What a tough question! I love all of it, yo. Seriously. And all for different reasons. But I think, live, people really dig the Michael Jackson cover. It’s just fun for everyone and really gets people dancing and smiling. As for original…people really get into “Anthem”.
You play the guitar, the ukulele and Boss RC-30 Looping Station, you are definitely a “one-man band”. One day, would you like to focus on just one thing or just be a songwriter? Or do you always want to be your own band?
I’ll always be a one woman band. I love creating this way. I’d love to get into more writing for other musicians – it would feel great not having to always be the face of my music. I like living behind the scenes:)
Kawehi’s Gotye cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know”:
Have you been able to meet any of the musicians that you have covered? Who would you love to jam with?
Not yet! I’d love to though:). I’d love to jam with Gotye – although I’d probably die if I ever met him in person. Or pee my pants. And then there goes the jam session.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the new artists on the radio that inspire you?
I’m inspired by all music – but I really dig Imogen Heap, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Gotye…I could go on and on.
Tell me about your fashion influences? Anyone that you look to for style inspiration?
Ha! My husband would laugh if he knew you asked that! I’m horrible with that kind of stuff – fashion. I see something that looks cute. I try it on. It feels comfortable and doesn’t make me look like a 90 year old lady. I buy it. That’s pretty much how it goes, every time.
Where do you get the idea for your videos? For example, “Anthem”?
My husband Paul – he’s the genius behind the videos. He comes up with all of the ideas – tells me where to sit, where to stand – and I follow. I usually come to him with my song and ask him, “Ok, how should we shoot this one?” And he usually replies with something brilliant. I’m incredibly lucky.
How did you keep your dog so still during your video for Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”?!
Hahaha!! I know, right? They’re like, “Whatevs.” They are usually in the room when I practice for gigs – or when I’m writing, or anything, really. So they are not new to any of it – it’s usually more like, “You’re working…..again?” They are awesome dogs.
Tell me about your new Kickstarter project, Evolution? How is it different then Robot Heart?
EVOLUTION is the continuation of Robot Heart – the ending to the story. It’ll sound a little different since it’s coming from a different perspective – the girls perspective this time, not the Robot – but there will be elements both visually and sonically that’ll tie everything together. Every project I do is incredibly fun – EVOLUTION won’t be any different!
Kawehi performing her original track, “Anthem”:
What do you think of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others? How active are you on them all?
I think social media is a great way to connect with fans – it’s a way to reach people globally. I’m pretty active on all of those platforms – I like to keep in touch with the people who make my music possible – the fans!!