They say a great cover song can make you. Well that may be true as a recent cover of Nirvana’s classic Heart Shaped Box has cast a lot of eyes on one-woman band Kawehi. The video, showing Kawehi mixing and performing the song live from her dining room, exploded overnight. It was quickly featured by news and entertainment site SourceFed and also named a Staff Pick on Vimeo. The performance went viral and made the artist scores of new fans.
But there is more to the Hawaiian-born singer/songwriter than a few borrowed songs. Kawehi has five releases of her diverse original work under her belt with a sixth, Robot Heart, on its way. With all of the recent buzz, the Kickstarter for Robot Heart ended up just shy of ten times its original $3,000 goal.
Kawehi took some time out to talk to us here at Living Myth Magazine about her career, her new successes and the forthcoming EP.
How did you first get into music?
As a little kid, I’ve always been into music. Singing everything on the radio – you couldn’t shut me up. But it wasn’t until I was in high school – a sophomore to be exact – that I started to get into songwriting. As soon as that happened, the roots took hold and I knew I wanted music to be a huge part of my life.
You perform live on your own, doing all the instrumentation yourself. How did you come to approach your shows that way?
After a short East Coast tour, I came home feeling pretty deflated. I was plateauing as an artist – playing guitar and singing – and people out there are so freakin’ talented! I knew that I needed to get better. I’ve always wanted to try looping – but was terrified of doing it. And since I don’t have a band, I thought it was the obvious route. After getting my first loop pedal (a BOSS RC-30, to be exact) I was hooked.
Do you find that it gives you more or less freedom as a performer?
Tons more freedom. I can’t loop every song, every piece of music – but when I can, the possibilities are endless. And if I can’t do something – I go out and learn how to do it. Plain and simple.
I read that you have a bit of an interesting concept behind for your next EP Robot Heart. Can you tell us about that?
Sure! Robot Heart is an EP where all of the songs are from the perspective of a robot girl who wants to be human. I like to give each of my EP’s a musical theme – and they’re usually pretty out there. I decided a long time ago to not give a shit about what other people thought of me – and that applies to my music. I write about things that matter, things that make me think. You can only write so many love songs about what some guy did to you ten years ago before reaching a point to where you’re like, “Ok, time to move on to more important things.” I think the bottom line for me always comes down to one thing: What do I want to say?
There were some cool incentives for the Robot Heart Kickstarter. Would you like to talk about a few of those and how they came about?
Well I used to play at a lot of Universities/Colleges (still do) and one of the big things were covers. I never used to do them – it just never occurred to me, I guess. So I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and have them as a Kickstarter incentive – and also build my library of music for live performances at the same time. It’s a win/win, really! The other incentives are just ideas that Paul and I come up with on our long walks.
How did it feel getting all of the attention that you have for your Heart Shaped Box video?
Weird! But awesome. Vimeo is an incredible place and just the fact that it got a Staff Pick – that really warms my heart! Their opinion matters to me so it’s like a huge pat on the back when they pick one of my videos!
Do you have any live shows coming up in 2014?
I do! Tons in the works….you’ll be seeing a list shortly!
Any parting thoughts?
This is just another day that I get to make music. To all of you who’ve made this possible – THANK YOU. From the bottom of my Robot Heart <3
Robot Heart can be pre-ordered on Kawehi’s Bandcamp page, where you can also find the rest of her work. Check out more of Kawehi in the links below![box] LINKS: