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Interview: Kawehi

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The internet has become an important tool for musicians these days. It’s a way for unsigned artists to get their music out to the masses whether it is via videos or downloading their music.

Sites like Youtube and Vimeo can take a virtual unknown and make them a household name overnight. One artist who has definitely benefited from the power of the internet is singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kawehi.

Kawehi posted a cover of the Nirvana song Heart-Shaped Box on Vimeo and literally overnight it went viral. She has successfully used Kickstarter to finance her album Robot Heart and just recently funded her upcoming album Evolution.

Kawehi is currently on tour and will be visiting The Hamilton in Washington, DC on October 18th. She sits down to talk with the Pop Culture Principle about her music, performing live and what artists inspire her.

Pop Culture Principle - Can you tell us about your latest project Robot Heart?

Kawehi - Robot Heart is an EP where all songs are from the perspective of a Robot who wants to become human. It’s a little out there - a little sci-fi - and I enjoyed every minute of making it!! Now, I have a new project called EVOLUTION - which is the continuation of Robot Heart. Now that the robot has changed into a human - what happens next?

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Pop Culture Principle - One of the standout tracks on Robert Heart is Anthem. Can you tell us about creating that song?

Kawehi - I wrote Anthem as the last song for the EP. I wanted to end things on a positive note - I realized after writing all of the songs for Robot Heart that all of the songs were about ripping people’s hearts out!! Anthem is reminder to everyone out there that yeah, we can all be assholes sometimes - but through generosity and compassion, we can make a difference in this world. We are in charge of our own lives. Now what are we going to do with it?

Pop Culture Principle - Robot Heart was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign. As an artist, how does it make you feel knowing that people love your music enough to help fund one of your projects?

Kawehi - It’s an incredible feeling, really. I’m always terrified when I start another Kickstarter campaign. What if no one likes the idea? So having a funded project really feels amazing - knowing that you have people out there that believe in you so much to support you before the product is even finished - it’s humbling and amazing.

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Pop Culture Principle - When did you first realize that being a musician would be your path in life?

Kawehi - I’ve always known that music was my path. It’s both calming and terrifying to know all along what you’re supposed to be doing in life - calming because that’s half the battle, figuring out what you love to do - terrifying because there’s no Plan B for me - music is it. Sink or swim.

Pop Culture Principle - When did you first discover looping?

Kawehi - I went to my first loop show about 7 years ago. It was in Los Angeles - an incredible musician named Jon Brion. After seeing his show, I was hooked. But I didn’t have the balls to do it until two years ago.

Pop Culture Principle - You also beat box. Not many women are doing beat boxing. When did you discover that talent?

Kawehi - I had no idea how to beatbox until I picked up looping! My husband was like, hey you’re starting to do the loop thing, you should totally beatbox as one of the layers. And I said, sure, let me get right on that! Geez. But I taught myself how to beatbox through youtube videos - you can learn how to do anything on youtube! I used to practice in the car on my way out to busk at the Promenade in Santa Monica.

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Pop Culture Principle - How would you describe your style of music?

Kawehi - Hmm…not sure really. It’s not Pop, it’s not Electronic, it’s not Rock - but maybe a little of each? I never write with a particular genre or artist in mind. A lot of musicians out there want to be the next so-and-so - I have no interest in that. I write how I feel at the time.

Pop Culture Principle - Where do you find your inspiration when it comes to writing your songs?

Kawehi - Sometimes it’s my own cathartic release. Sometimes it’s ideas from Kickstarter Backers. Or with Robot Heart - I wanted to write from an entirely different place all together. Inspiration comes from everywhere - but I think the key, really, is getting yourself to sit down, everyday - even if just for a few hours - and write.

Pop Culture Principle - What artists inspired you and what current artists do you like to listen too?

Kawehi - I’m inspired by all music - but really dig Imogen Heap, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Gotye…I could go on and on.

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Pop Culture Principle - How has the internet and social media not only affected your music, but the music industry as a whole?

Kawehi - Social media really bridges that gap between fan and artist. I think it’s a great way to connect with your audience. But I think the internet and technology are really the things that has changed the music industry. It’s harder to become the next Katy Perry, but easier to make a modest living creating music. There’s a whole bunch of us out there now who can make enough to pay the bills while doing what we love - and that’s incredible.

Pop Culture Principle - You are currently on tour, what is it like to play in front of your fans?

Kawehi - Amazing/terrifying/electrifying/humbling/funny/incredible/stressful/out of this world.

Pop Culture Principle - What can fans of Kawehi look forward to in the near future?

Kawehi - My new project, EVOLUTION, is out now!! Check out my kickstarter link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kawehi/evolution-2

We would like to thank Kawehi for taking the time to talk with us. If you would like to keep up with all the latest news and information about Kawehi, use the links below:

Official Kawehi website

Official Kawehi Twitter

Evolution album Kickstarter

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