Hawaii’s Newest Pop-Reggae Artist: Our Interview with Hirie

Hirie is one of Hawaii’s brightest breakout stars of 2013. Her debut album is available now on iTunes!

In the last year or so, Hawaiian artists have emerged onto the reggae scene in full force.  Musicians such as The Green, J Boog and Anuhea have attracted attention from the reggae community across the world and have even lead to collaborations with prominent Jamaican artists like Tarrus Riley and Peetah Morgan.

Hawaii’s newest artist, Hirie, is certainly no different.  Although she was born in the Phillipines and raised in Italy, Hirie spent most of her of life in Oahu, Hawaii.  On her brand new debut album (VP Records Associated Label Group – VPAL), she mixes her silky, smooth voice with roots, reggae and pop to create her own unique style.  Unlike many solo reggae artists, Hirie records with a live band as opposed to using pre-recorded mixtape “riddims”.  This organic feel and sound truly sets Hirie apart from most singers in her genre.  Recently, we got a chance to speak with Hirie about her album, reggae’s popularity in Hawaii and much more!

On set for her new music video “Sensi Boy”

Congrats on your debut album!  What is your favorite song on your album and why?

Thank you!  It’s hard to say!  At the moment, my favorite song is “Lost and Found”.  I really enjoy the vibes and the way it makes me feel when I listen to it.

How did your musical career begin?  When did you discover you could sing?

I sang at a very young age, maybe three or four.  My parents always said they knew I could sing because I would passionately belt out a Whitney Houston song; I began singing at home, in my basement, along with my Barbie karaoke machine (laughs)!

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“Big Tings a Gwaan”: Our Interview with Legendary Reggae Band Inner Circle

Inner Circle HD Group

The Legendary Inner Circle

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Inner Circle

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Inner Circle’s 20 year plus music legacy, let us fill you in.  Although they are best known for their hit song “Bad Boys” (which became the iconic theme song for Fox’s TV show Cops), Inner Circle are much more than a television band.

Since the mid-70s, Inner Circle’s blend of reggae, rock and pop have solidified them as one of the first Jamaican reggae bands to crossover to the mainstream American music scene and have shared the stage with pop/rock music icons such as Elton John, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Conner, The Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and more.  Additionally, this Grammy award-winning band has toured internationally, garnered a global fan base and has sold millions of records worldwide (some of their most notable albums include Bad Boys, Reggae Dancer and Big Tings).

Today, as one of the most esteemed bands in the industry, Inner Circle continues to create music on a daily basis at their own Circle Village recording studio and have collaborated with Damian & Stephen Marley, members of Morgan Heritage , Slightly Stoopid and many others.  We caught up with Inner Circle to chat about reggae’s popularity, their new Reggae Wave project, Circle Village Studios and much more.

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NBC’s The Voice Star Brings Soulful Pop-Reggae to the World: Our Interview with Naia Kete

Naia Green

NBC The Voice’s star, Naia Kete

After appearing on NBC’s hit show, The Voice, Naia Kete’s musical career has continued to blossom.  This bright, young singer/songwriter from Massachusetts, best known for her signature style of soulful pop-reggae with a hint of jazz, has been working with great artists such as Colbie Caillat and Linda Perry on her brand new EP, Fire Breather (digital version now available).  In addition to writing her original music, she also arranges impressive reggae covers of pop songs on her You Tube Channel.

Naia live 4

Catch Naia performing live this summer at various festivals!

When she’s not in the studio, you can catch Naia Kete doing what she does best – performing live!  Recently, Naia performed the Monterey Bay Reggaefest that featured artists and bands like Rebelution, Slightly Stupid, Collie Buddz and Matisyahu.  She’ll be back on tour this summer and will appear at various music festivals.

We caught up with Naia to talk about her experience on The Voice, her new EP and much more!

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Bruno Mars, Damian Marley and Apache Indian Create Superb South Asian Reggae

*Photos: Various sources

Country/Region: Hawaii (USA), Jamaica (Caribbean), England (Europe), India (South Asia)

What do you get when you combine traditional Indian music, a Hindu prayer, roots reggae and three of the most successful international multi-platinum artists?  You get two wicked versions of an Indian reggae song that have both become immensely popular!  Everyone knows Bruno Mars and Damian Marley’s hit “Liquor Store Blues” from Bruno’s debut album Doo – Wops & Hooligans (2010); but, did you know it is derived from Apache Indian’s song “Om Numah Shivaya” that appears on his album Time for Change (2005)?

British born, Apache Indian proudly displays his East Indian heritage on “Om Numah Shivaya”, which is a Hindu prayer that translates into “adoration to [the God] Shiva”.  He incorporates Hindu chants, a classical Indian flute, tabla drums and various Indian percussion instruments into this roots reggae “riddim”.  Apache’s English lyrics describe his personal journey of discovering his true identity in a multicultural world.

On “Liquor Store Blues”, Hawaiian native, Bruno Mars brings strong vocal chops to his version of the tune as he trades verses with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.  Bruno’s slightly faster rendition infuses more rock elements with an Indian sitar-styled guitar solo towards the middle of the track.  Damian’s rapped verses mimic the rhythmic melody perfectly as he brings his signature blend of roots, reggae and DJ toasting.  This dynamic duo definitely has chemistry and should consider doing a collaboration album together.

Whose version of the song do you prefer?  Comment below!

Wayne Wonder “Hold Me Now”

*Photos courtesy of VP Records and Warner Music Group

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring and warm weather than by jamming to a sun-splashed island jam by Wayne Wonder?  His up-tempo reggae remix of the popular 80s hit, by the Thompson Twins, fuses multiple Caribbean rhythms to create one romantic serenade.  “Hold Me Now” is also featured on the tropical 50 First Dates movie (starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore) soundtrack.

What do you think of Wayne Wonder’s “Hold Me Now”?  Do you prefer his or the original?  Comment below!

Get a taste of The Green on their Liars and Lovers Tour 2013!

The Green Liars and Lovers Tour 2013

Photo courtesy of The Green

Come see Hawaii’s leading reggae band, The Green on their Liars and Lovers Tour!  Joining them, as their opening act, will be New Kingston.  You definitely don’t want to miss this.

With countless hits and successful albums, the The Green has caught the attention of reggae fans in the U.S. Pacific Coast and Caribbean.  Their unique rock and reggae fusion creates an organic sound like no other.  Get your tickets today before they sell out.  

Feb 22: Breckenridge CO – Three20South
Feb 23: Fort Collins CO – Aggie Theatre
Feb 25: Aspen CO – Belly Up Aspen
Feb 27: Boise ID – The Reef
Mar 01: Spokane WA – The Center Of Spokane
Mar 02: Tacoma WA – Jazzbones
Mar 03: Bellingham WA – Wild Buffalo

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Common Kings (feat. J Boog & Fiji) “No Other Love” (American Reggae)

*Photos courtesy of Common Kings, J Boog and Fiji

Country & Region: U.S. Pacific Coast/Hawaii/Oceania

The Common Kings‘ (feat. J Boog & Fiji) “No Other Love” is a wicked one drop reggae tune.  Don’t be fooled by the romantic lover’s rock rhythm; J Boog and Fiji have a few tricks up their sleeve later on in the bridge that are worth waiting for.  I won’t give it away … you just have to listen!

What do you think of “No Other Love”?  Comment below!

J Boog’s Rise to the Top

J Boog Solo Stage

J Boog has gained popularity across the world

When you collaborate with famous artists like Tarrus Riley and Peetah Morgan (of Morgan Heritage), you know you’ve reached reggae super-stardom.  If you haven’t heard of J Boog yet, then you’ve been missing out.  He blends both Hawaiian and Jamaican reggae to create his own tropical style. Not only has Boog gained respect amongst the reggae elite, but he has also gained popularity all over North America, the Caribbean and Oceania.

J Boog was born in Long Beach, California, but grew up in the rough neighborhood of Compton, CA.  His loving family kept him in line and off the streets by instilling a strong awareness of Samoan culture and tradition.   He was soon to discover music at an early age and it would change his life forever.

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