We had the pleasure of having a chat with independent artist gone viral Kawehi. With her unique talent as a looper doing both original and covers we couldn’t be more excited to get to know about her just a little bit more. Check out the full interview below. And catch her live at Warehouse Live on March 14th.
1) I’ve heard bits and pieces of your back story from growing up in Hawaii to moving to California and starting out as a street musician before moving to Kansas. Can you elaborate about how it all started and got to where you are now?
I’ve always wanted to do music for a living. So moving out to Los Angeles was the first big step I took towards making my dream a reality. Little did I know that living in L.A. would definitely NOT be easy. There are so many other dreamers out there, who moved from elsewhere, looking to do what you do. Then add on the cost of living out in such a huge musical mecca – it was one of the hardest times of my life. My husband and I quit our jobs two years before we moved out to Kansas – and I made a living playing as a street musician. Well, I didn’t actually make a living…we ended up moving because we were in so much debt and couldn’t afford to live out in L.A. anymore. So we sold the house, moved to Kansas. I think the move was the best thing we ever did – it gave us the time to focus entirely on our craft, without worrying about paying the L.A. price.
2) What did you do before Kickstarter? Why did you leave a record company to go at it on your own?
Before Kickstarter, I did the typical singer-songwriter thing. Chick with a guitar. I wanted to go on my own because I was tired of trying to fit into some hypothetical box. I wanted to make the kind of music I was passionate about – and make it the way I wanted. So when Kickstarter happened…everything happened.
3) For people new to your style of music how would you describe it? What got you started into Looping-based music?
Live looping is like creating an entire song in front of an audience, in real time. You build the song layer by layer – doing essentially what an entire band would do – all by yourself. I saw a musician do a live looping show in L.A. and thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I thought about doing it for two years – basically didn’t have the balls to do it. But after realizing I wasn’t getting any better where I was at, I decided to finally take the jump into live looping – and I haven’t looked back since.
4) After going viral last year how crazy has your life changed? What have you learned from the power of social media since then?
Going viral has changed everything. For someone who’s DIY, with no label support, no management – it was hard to get my name out there. I had grown a pretty solid following before the video hit – but going viral has done things like playing to sold out venues and taking my Kickstarter projects to a whole new level of support.
5) What is your thought process of creating a new song for the actual looping? What influences your writing for your songs?
You can’t loop everything. So you do have to think in sections sometimes. As for writing influences, each EP I do is usually centered around a certain theme/idea, so it’s easier to write when you’re telling a particular story.
6) Where can people find your music, and what can they look forward to from you next?
I’m everywhere yo! iTunes, Bandcamp (where you’ll find physical copies as well)…keep an eye out for my next Kickstarter project coming soon too!!
7) You’ve been to Houston a few times now, what do you think of our city? How will your next show be different?
I love it in Houston!! So many amazing peeps – I’ve made some great friends out in your city. As for the next show…you’ll just have to come and see it for yourself!!!!