It truly is an honor and pleasure to announce that 'Ukulele Paintings is up for 'Ukulele Album of the Year in this year's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The Na Hoku Hanohano Awards is often referred to as the Hawaiian Grammys and is an institution set up by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA). My earliest memory of the Hoku awards was watching Jon Yamasato and Lopaka Colón holding up Jake Shimabukuro as he is crying in joy for just winning album of the year with his partners in crime from Pure Heart. It was a perplexing moment for myself as I couldn't even come close to understanding how they felt. It left a mark on my soul to one day understand that feeling.
Amidst my search, I have come across some success, many failures, moments of testing my resolve, and the occasional bout of hard work. In my times of reflection I often wonder how all this chaos has lead me to my current self. Along my short career the main connective thread has been luck. I am lucky to have the breath in my lungs to say what I need to say. Lucky to have a supportive family who would clap if I went on stage and sneezed for set. Lucky to have friends who have caught me the countless times I fell and told me to go out and do it again with a smile.
My realization is that I've had reason for that feeling all along.
I am inspired and honored to be one of the nominees alongside many of my heroes. A big mahalo to HARA for even considering 'Ukulele Paintings. To my fellow nominees: it is more than enough to say I share this title with you. I don't take this responsibility lightly. I feel compelled to continue sharing, writing, and teaching music more than ever.
My good friend Matthew Riley once told me a quote from Frank Zappa that still rings true:
Music is the best.