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Moki
With his hit single 'We Just Wanna Have Fun' on heavy radio rotation, the singer-songwriter Moki is living the dream, spreading the love and redefining 'art' for the next-gen musician.

The singer-songwriter Moki may be a ‘small town guy’ from Hawaii but he’s doing very big things in the city of Los Angeles, CA. His debut single ‘We Just Wanna Have Fun’ has a whimsical quality that fits his impish good looks and boyish charm, but it is more than just a hip- shaking, foot-stomping party anthem. The message may seem simple enough, but on closer inspection you begin to see the complexity which lies in his ability to let go, allowing the listener to follow suit. Moki began singing at an early age with the help of a portable stereo and not much more, on an island in Hawaii. It was there at the age of seven years old that he heard Mariah Carey for the first time, an artist that continues to inspire him creatively. Although shy and reserved as a child he harbored a passion to be heard, a passion which would one day override all fear in the pursuit of his dream to become a professional singer. Upon graduating from high school, Moki moved from Hawaii to Long Beach, CA where he began his career as an actor and model. It was when a friend gave him a coupon for online studio time that his journey as a recording artist began. He wrote, produced and recorded his first single ‘Now or Never’ and Moki never looked back. He continues to entertain not with talent alone but by sheer force of will and dedication to his art, ‘Art’ being the title of his first album. For Moki, the process of creating sound is an art form- finding what just sounds right. Independent reporter Alexis Adams recently caught up with this intriguing singer-songwriter to get an in-depth look into the life and times of Moki, and a fresh new perspective on what it really means to follow your dreams.

ALEXIS: When When did you first discover your love of music?
MOKI:: I have always had a passion for music, my earliest memories beginning at about five years old. When I was in the third grade my teacher had the class draw what they wanted to be when they grew up and I remember that I drew myself in stick figure style, on a stage holding a microphone. Truth is I was not very popular and got teased frequently in school, my passion for music was always my secret desire- to be popular or famous, basically the opposite of what I was growing up. I’ve always been shy, so I never sang or performed in front of anyone but whenever I blew the candles out on my birthday cake, my wish was always to be a famous singer. Now I’m at a point where I don’t care what others think because I’m doing what I love, and if I don’t become a millionaire or sell a million records, I made my dream a reality.

ALEXIS: Your song 'We Just Wanna Have Fun' is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
MOKI:: When I first hear my song on the radio, my heart soared! I always told myself if I could just get on the radio I would be accomplished, and deep down I felt accomplished. I felt so happy that listeners would be able to hear my craft, my music, my lyrics, my story- that something I created was being heard. I was so excited.

ALEXIS: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
MOKI:: When I write my songs, I listen to the music, to the vibe of the music. I use my imagination and create a story to it. When I wrote 'We just want to have fun' I wanted a party anthem song that would be relatable to everyone, a song that anyone could listen to and be like 'yeah that's us! Where my crew at?'

ALEXIS: Would you say that the mood of your other songs is in the same vein as your debut radio single?
MOKI:: I’ve been told that a lot of my songs are sad and I have to admit, when I was recording I was in the beginning stages of a bad break up. This motivated me creatively and is another reason why I felt like I needed a good, fun song. One to take away from all the drama, one that I could use to motivate myself and others to forget the drama and go have fun!

ALEXIS: How would you characterize yourself as an artist?
MOKI:: I’m a really down to earth individual, very shy and quiet. I’m also a very private and sensitive person. However, when I’m out with friends I’m the opposite- I like to have fun, love to be mischievous, and after a few drinks I love to be the center of attention. I have this theory that one day my soul mate will find me, while I’m being me. I love to meet new people but I’ve given up searching for my soul mate- they’ll have to find me (laughs).

ALEXIS: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other artists in your family?
MOKI:: My uncle has told me that we have opera singers in our family and that it runs in our blood. I have personally never met or heard any of them. As far as I know I’m the only one in my family that has achieved this sort of recognition. I feel fortunate to be able to change the history dynamics of my family tree, and make a name for me and my family.

ALEXIS: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
MOKI:: To me I feel most rewarded when I get positive comments from fans, or when fans take time out of their day to write to me about my music. When I get these, I feel very rewarded and proud that I get to make art. People genuinely love it. It makes me feel like a real celebrity, makes me feel popular and famous, which was what I dreamed of accomplishing. For me, I feel that it is most challenging getting my music out there, onto radio stations and in clubs, at venues for everyone to hear. I remember one year, for my birthday, I had emailed my track list to the dj at a club and asked if he could play one of my songs in the club for my birthday. When we got to the club me and my friends requested a song and he didn't play it, I was so sad and hurt that I started crying right there. It was the worst birthday ever. Also, I always wanted to get onto the Hawaii radio station in my hometown where I grew up, and they kept rejecting me. It’s hard, but that's the reason I titled my second album 'Perseverance', because no matter what I will persevere!

ALEXIS: Who are your role models in music?
MOKI:: Mariah Carey has always been a role model for me. When I was about 7 years old and living with my grandmother on the island of Maui, HI I saw a cassette tape in my cousin’s room which I took, not knowing what it was. On our way to the airport I put in the car stereo and the first song I heard was ‘Someday’. I was hooked. I also love 80’s music, Madonna, Cher, Tina Turner- even Boy George! My goal one day is to do an album and remake some of my favorite oldies.

ALEXIS: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
MOKI:: I’m so shy I have never performed! My goal for 2015 is to finally get out there and perform live. I see myself performing with dancers and backup singers and I feel that this will help as the focus will be the production, not just me.

ALEXIS: Do you have a music video for your hit single? If so, what can you tell us about it?
MOKI:: I don't have a video for my single but I do have a photo compilation on you tube. Being an independent artist, it’s not within my budget to make a video and I would rather pay to make more music. I’m hoping that someone will like my music enough to approach me and want to make a music video.

ALEXIS: I look forward to hearing it, Moki. Thanks for taking time out to share your story with me. I wish you good luck and continued success!

http://www.reverbnation.com/hilovemoki


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