Kainalu will be performing at Saturday’s Nonstop Kaka‘ako event, along will Anuhea, Lost at Sea and Yoza. Here’s more about Nonstop Kaka‘ako, a free pop-up food, retail and entertainment event taking place from 4 p.m. to midnight in Kaka‘ako on Auahi Street between Coral and Keawe streets.
One thing about Kainalu: he’s not what you expect.
On first seeing the Kalihi-raised, quarter-Hawaiian, former football player, with his gruff island accent, I fully expected to settle in for some Hawaiiana.
Boy, was I wrong.
When Kainalu Busque sings, his accent completely melts away, and you’re suddenly listening to tenor singer-songwriter goodness reminiscent of John Mayer. It’s a completely different feel from what most musicians here on the island offer, and it was refreshing to see him skillfully breaking through those expectations with his talented work.
Kainalu has lived in Hawaii his entire life, except for a stint in California for college. His dad played guitar, and he encouraged Kainalu to learn the guitar and ukelele at an early age. Kainalu says while listening to island music as a child, his dad also introduced him to a steady stream of music, ranging from James Taylor classics to Motown. Despite his Hawaiian roots, Kainalu found that it was the music that spoke to him. “The music left me no choice… that’s the music within me,” he says.
Now with a new child of his own, Kainalu doesn’t have time for bars and nightlife anymore, but he likes to draw inspiration from the world around him, which helps keep the themes of his music distinctly Hawaiian, even if it doesn’t have the usual island sound. “My music is inspired by my life and experiences — past relationships, things friends told me,” he says. “I like to pick at it and think about it. I try to see how everything fits, then I end up writing about it.”
This past August, Kainalu released his first album, which available on iTunes and Amazon. You can also listen to his music and keep track of his shows at kainalumusic.net.
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