Kona was born and raised in Waimanalo, Hawaii. A place where music is a way of life. Growing up in his grandfather’s church, Kona was blessed with the love of music. He’s the youngest of seven, born into a family who not only embraced music but also love to play it. With his cousins Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and Melvin Amina from 3 scoops of Aloha (well known Hawaiian recording artists) jamming at the beach with friends and family, the smell of food on the grill, keikis(children) running around and everybody’s playing music backyard style, you’ll find Kona right in the middle of it all soaking in the atmosphere.
Kona started out as a drummer for a succussful local group in Hawaii called “Tropical Knights” at the age of 13. Recorded 3 albums, performing all over the island, outer islands, Seattle, Las Vegas, Guam, and California.Through out the years with the group, Kona has discovered his passion for other instruments besides the drums and has become an accomplished guitar, ukulele, keyboard and bass player, as well as his love for singing and writing music.
On his debut album “Changed” (2005) and now his brand new "Na Hoku Hanohano Award" winning album "Acousti-me", 2010 Best "Rock Album of the Year", Kona and his unique and refreshing voice, along with his songs will definitely leave you wanting more, it'll grab your attention as soon as his music hits your ears. Kona performed all of the guitars, bass, drums, percussion, and vocals on both cd's "Acousti-me" & "Changed". Kona and his songs are lyricly & musicaly melodic, a feel good vibe, honest, addictive, very organic, poetic, and for all who enjoy music.
With Kona's new release "Acousti-me", Kona branched out even further and produced, engineered, mixed & mastered the new album.
He built his own recording studio, started his own label "Linekona Records llc", produces jingles for various clients including Power 104.3 and Fm 100.3 (Coxradio stations Hawaii), and produces other musicians as well.
With 20 years in the music industry, Hawaii born, Hoku Award winning acoustic artist Kona, with his Hawaiian roots alive and well in his heart and soul, through his original songs, his voice, and his unique sound will show the place and the people he loves the most in his home state of Hawai’i, and around the world his god given talents and diverse style of music. Aloha...
Producing, Mix down, engineering, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Programing, and Vocals
Debut album "Changed" released 2005 is currently out in stores & online. Much anticipated follow up cd "Acousti-me" released 2009 now available in stores and online at itunes, amazon, rhapsody, cdbaby, musicbykona.com, and much more! Currently getting local radio, college radio & internet airplay including ktuh 90.3 & Kumu 94.7 Honolulu and piple2paradise.com!
Spinner & AOL Music
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Interview by: Kevin F. Sims Erv "Kona" Chang is a Hawaiian native who has been playing on the lo...Interview by: Kevin F. Sims
Erv "Kona" Chang is a Hawaiian native who has been playing on the local scene since age 13, and now has over 20 years experience. Along with his distinctive voice, Kona is an accomplished guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboardist and ukulele player. On his latest release, 2009's 'Acousti-me,' Kona was a one-man show, recording and producing in his own studio and releasing the album on his label, Linekona Records. Spinner spoke to Kona in anticipation of his showcase at SXSW.
How would you describe your sound?
It's a singer-songwriter, storyteller kind of music. I don't really know how to describe it. You have to hear it.
What are your biggest musical influences?
The cool thing about Hawaii is that there's so much sound that we grow up listening to. I come from a musical family. My cousin, -- his name is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and he's a big Hawaiian dude -- and his songs got over, and his version of 'Over the Rainbow' got some play. There are a lot of influences over here, but in general, it's more of a John Mayer, Jason Mraz, kind of deal. It's kinda hard because growing up in Hawaii, there's just influence towards Hawaiian music. We were really influenced by local musicians.
Beatles or Stones?
Aw, jeez. They're both good, but I think I'd have to say Beatles. I think it's because I'm the kind of musician where, like, I'm lazy to learn other people's music. I'd rather write my own, and the Beatles were more that way -- they have more of a songwriter kind of feel. The Stones are great too, of course, but I mean, it's the Beatles. Come on.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
You know, I don't have one man. Put it this way: I do acoustic music, I'm a singer-songwriter, indie rock kinda feel, but I'm also a DJ at a hip-hop station, and I own a studio, so I write and produce pop music as well. All different influences.
On your albums, you play all the instruments, but when you perform you have backup band. How did you meet those guys?
Yeah, back here I have a band -- a bass player, a congo player and a drummer. My SXSW showcase is an acoustic set. It's just gonna be me and my congo player. We're gonna jam it out that way, mostly because I couldn't afford to pay for four plane tickets to Austin [laughs].
Here, I guess it's kinda like Vegas for musicians. The guys that play with me, they've been playing for a long time with me. I stared out when I was pretty young -- 13 -- playing in a band here called the Tropical Knights, and we recorded three albums that were successful locally here, and the drummer we had then is my drummer now. My brother is my bass player. I met my congo player through several gigs, and he just hooked up with me. That's how I came to be in my band.
Here in Hawaii, the scene to work is Waikiki. You got to get a working position. If you want work, you have to play the Waikiki scene. I do solos, play in clubs, everything.
Have you ever been to Austin? What's in your festival survival kit?
I haven't, but I'm looking forward to it. I've never been to Texas, just California and Seattle. It's kinda hard to get off of this rock [laughs]. My survival kit is just my guitar -- that's all I need.
What are you hoping to get out of SXSW?
I'm hoping it opens big doors for me. I'm really looking forward to it. It's really a big thing coming from Hawaii, because it's so small and there's so much talent here, but sometimes we get overlooked. Getting invited to a big festival like this is a big deal here. You get in the newspaper and everything -- it's pretty huge.
Kevin F. Sims is a contributor from Seed.com
Kona Interview/ Review
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KONA INTERVIEW INTERNET RADIO MAGAZINE IRM: Kona, you've got 20 years in this business and you...KONA INTERVIEW
INTERNET RADIO MAGAZINE
IRM: Kona, you've got 20 years in this business and you are still a young guy. Can you give us a little view into your professional journey?
Kona: Well I started out playing drums professionaly at 13yrs. old. Playing music with a local group called "Tropical Knights" in local bars, clubs, concerts,etc...! We recorded 3 albums that were successful here in Hawaii back in the mid-late 90's. I actually had to drink my soda outside of the bars on our breaks. Lol!! I grew alot as a musician through out those years with the group. By the time we split, I still had alot more creative juices wanting to get out, and here I am!
> IRM: Is there something that gets fulfilled for you in producing music that performing doesn't - or vice-versa?
> Kona: Yes definetly. I think it's the whole creative aspect of producing that I love besides performing live. Taking a song that some how made it to paper (sometimes) and coming up with musical parts purely out of feel. You hear alot of producers say "It's not want you want, it's what the song calls for"! Well I take that and call you with "Yeah...that sound fits the song BUT, let's add that little extra musical instrument or vocals that sets the song on it's own wave"! So yeah...it's cool! Hahaha!!
> IRM: What's different about you musically now from when you played and toured with Tropical Knights?
> Kona: I think, well I hope, that I'm a much better musician. Back then I was younger and eager to learn everything I could. Now, I think it paid off. Having performed at an early age gave me roots. Now, I take that experiance and expound on it. For awhile, I was searching for my edentity as an artist. There's so many musical talent here in Hawaii and so many influences that, well for me, you end up performing all kinds of music(which I still do when I perform live)! Hawaiian, reggae, island reggae, adult contamporary, oldies, R & B, rock, acoustic, etc...! Being the "Stirring pot of the Pacific" meaning we have alot of different ethnic groups living here, we grow up listening to all types of music, therefore performing them. So even tho I'm an acoustic/ singer/ songwriter, I still perform a wide variety of music live. Up beat music with a good vibe. Reggae music is very big here in Hawaii so it's a struggle for an acoustic artist like myself to get airplay. My goal is to give the local people here in Hawaii a fresh, new sound...and at the same time, sharing my music with the world.
> IRM: Would you tell us a little about your recently released album, "Acousti-me"? Are there things you explored on this album that are different from "Changed"?
> Kona: I recorded "Changed" in Las Vegas & released in 2005. A really great producer by the name of Gilloh Morgan produced the album. It was my 1st solo project and I used majority of my life savings to do it. I took a week vacation from work and did the album. It was a recording session marathon...Lol!! I ended up flying back a couple weeks later to finish some vocals but over all, we did 10 songs in 9 days. It came out really clean, well produced, everything was fine but later, as I grew as a producer and as a songwriter, I realized alot of songs didn't come out the way I had originaly imagined it. So when I recorded my 2nd album "Acousti-me", I invested a bunch of money, less then what I paid for the 1st album, and invested in my own studio gear and did it myself. I already had the instruments so I picked up a mac computer, Pro-tools, some other software, mics, and went for it. I took some online classes on getting the most out of using pro-tools, learning mic placements, mixing down, mastering, etc...! Trial & error but ultamitly relying on my ear. The response that I got for "Acousti-me" was unbelievable. It took me about a year to complete but it came out the way I wanted it and that's all that matters.
> IRM: Your music has that feel that comes with sitting around a fire and just sharing some joy and hope. Where does that come from - I mean, what's the influence there?
> Kona: I think the feel you get from my songs are definatly from being born & raised here in Hawaii. We have what we call "The Aloha Spirit' which basically means that we look out for one another. Treat everyone with respect, giving the "Shaka sign" when being let in to traffic...the "Aloha Spirit"...that's what it's all about. Ohana or family is also very important here, not saying it's different elswhere but living on an island, family is all we got. So getting together with friends and family at bbq's, parties, graduation parties, 1 yr. old baby luaus are big here, everyone kinda grabs an instruments whether it be the ukulele, guitar, bass, drums, congo's, spoons, shakers, whatever's lying around, and jam. That's where I get my emotions and inspiration from other than relationships and the usual. That's why I think Jack Johnson, who also lives here, relates in the same way. If there's was one label I would jump on right now...it would be Jack's "Brushfire Records" cause that's what he's all about and I'm the same way. I'm a laid back, roll with the punches kind of guy and I think my music reflects that.
> IRM: What is your goal as a musician? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
> Kona: Well of course, like any other recording artist, I would love to hear my music being played all over the world. As you know the music industry has changed alot in recent years and us independent artists now have the world at our finger tips via the internet. Right now, I have no manager, no publicists, no nothing just great friends and family helping me out. I book all of my gigs, hunt around for oppertunities to perform at concerts etc..., I market myself basically. It's alot of hard work but I learned that if you sit and wait to be discovered...you might be sitting and waiting for a hell of a long time. Don't get me wrong, I would love to hook up with a great label that would give me the creative freedom with my music. Have someone book big gigs for me, a publicist to make me look good, and...I ain't gonna lie...make a great living at it as well! What it comes down to is continuing to write and produce great music...if I can do that and have people around the world ejoying it, then I'll be fine. SO.....GO AND BUY MY NEW CD "ACOUSTI-ME"!! Lol!!!
> IRM: What is the story behind "Tell it like it is"?
> Kona: "Tell it like it is" is a song about being in a relationship and over time,that person that you fell in love with starts to change. Like any relationship, that's bound to happen. "Can I tell it like it is. Listen to what I suggest. You can take your face and throw it away, cause I don't want a part of it"! That says it all! We've all been there, on either side of the coin. So stay the way your are and don't change cause it wasn't your good looks that got her to fall in love with you, trust me on that! Hahaha...!
> IRM: We love "Hold On"! This is just an amazing, hopeful, heartwarming song! Can you tell us a little about it?
> Kona: I believe that music is a source of healing. Whether it be for personal reasons or other. I wanted to have a song on this album that did exactly that for people. With the current economic situation in our country, I thought it would be a perfect, positive message. "Hold on" to what we have...family and friends, prayers, etc...! But adding to that, I tryed to, as best as I could ,to say and give the feeling in the music that everything will be ok!
> IRM: As an independent artist, what do you find to be the most useful aspect of the internet?
> Kona: I really can't norrow it down to just one thing on the internet that can get an independent artist out there to the masses but what I use is a variety of places. First, my website musicbykona.com, cdbaby.com to get my music sold all over the world, digital distribution is very important (itunes, amazon, rhapsody, etc...) people want to be able to download immedietly, jango.com to build a fan base world wide, sonicbids.com to create an EPK (electronic press kit), and probably the most important aspect about using the internet wisely is being active on all of the social networks. Being able to message back or directly chat with a fan of your music is priceless. I can't tell you how many fans I have gained by simply twittering where I will be performing next, saying what I'm eating for breakfast, or talking back with a follower. It shows that we are all just human like everyone else. In fact, I hooked up with you guys on twitter and here I am doing an interview about my music...perfect example. facebook.com/musicbykona, follow me on twitter.com/musicbykona, myspace.com/kona, and jango.com/music/kona!
> IRM: What challenge posed by the internet would you select as the most important to solve for musicians?
> Kona: Well an issue that everyone deals with on the internet I think is TRUST! Musically, how do you know that this so called president of a so called label wants your music. My advice is to do your research before you give anybody your music.
> IRM: What else would you like to tell your fans?
> Kona: Simply to check my music out at www.musicbykona.com and that I really appreciate each and every fan out there. Being an acoustic artist from Hawaii has it's challenges but with awesome fans world wide spreading the word about my music, I know that I can make it! Mahalo & Aloha!
> Joel Gaines
> Managing Editor
> Internet Radio Magazine
10 Questions with 2010 SXSW artist Kona
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10 questions for SXSW artist Kona by: Michael Corcoran Our series of interviewing 20 acts coming...10 questions for SXSW artist Kona by: Michael Corcoran
Our series of interviewing 20 acts coming to SXSW is halfway there with Kona, a solo artist from the Windward side of Oahu. His Leeward cousin Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is the best-selling Hawaiian artist of all time, and now Kona is set to make his mark.
1. Have you been to SXSW before? How did you find out about it?
This will be my first time at SXSW, I’m super excited and hoping it’ll open some big doors for me, my family, & my music. I’ve always heard from other musicians and magazines that SXSW was THE biggest music festival in the nation and that a lot of great talent get discovered there. I do understand tho, that alot of them DON”T so….I’m going to go and just do my thing and have fun. I got invited through sending in my EPK through sonicbids.com and they contacted me at my website: musicbykona.com!
2. Pretty cool having a Hawaii guy in the White House, yeah, even if he did grad from Punahou?
Yeah, the President of the United States having major Hawaii ties….very big! If you’re from Hawaii and you make it big doing what you love….you become one of Hawaii’s hero’s, so I think becoming the President top’s the charts!
3. When you were growing up in Waimanalo, did you know any of the legends like Gabby Pahinui, Atta Isaacs and Joe Gang? Didn’t they used to play right there on the beach? (Interviewer showing off his knowlege of old Hawaiian music.)
Gabby Pahinui is the reason I wanted to play music (well him and my cousin Israel). Growing up in Waimanalo gave you lot’s of reason to be proud you’re from there but Gabby made it special. My uncle used to take me over to Gabby’s house in Waimanalo homestead to watch some of the Kani Ka Pila (sound of the instrument) jams, but I was way too young to remember! Later, when I started playing music (age 13), I performed many events & venues with Martin & Cyril Pahinui. Now, after the release of my latest album “Acousti-me”, to my surprise Cyril Pahinui is one of my biggest fans. One of Hawaii’s living legends…likes my music…..AWESOME!!
4. Are you surprised Israel Kamakawiwo’ole became such a beloved international star after he died?
You know, I’m not surprised at all cause he was, and STILL is Hawaii’s greatest recording artist. He touched so many people locally and from across the sea, to have his music in movies, playing nationally, contestants on “American Idol” singing his version of “Somewhere over the Tainbow”, is HUGE and well deserved…”you go cuz”!
5. You get one favorite plate lunch place?
Ooh man….that’s a hard choice cause ya can’t just pick one! BUT, if I had to then I would go with “Chicken Katsu plate lunch from L & L Drive In.
6. After recording your first album in Las Vegas with an outside producer, you made “Acousti-Me” pretty much by yourself at home. Why the change?
Recording my first album in Vegas was an experience definitely. Being my debut CD, I saved a bunch of money and got hooked up with an amazing producer (Gilloh Morgan). From the time I did my 1st CD to my sophomore project “Acousti-me”, I had grown as a musician, producer, and as an artist. I always produced music but never really learned Pro Tools and other digital software. So when it came time to record another album, I took some classes on Pro tools, mixing & mastering, and invested the same amount of money I used to record my 1st CD in building my own studio.
7. Are there places to play original music on Oahu or is it still aimed at tourists and military?
Well other then performing parties and shows, I’m a working musician in Waikiki! I play everything from Hawaiian, contemporary island, reggae, pop, acoustic, oldies, and originals! It’s all good….!!
8. Is “Kill Haole Day” (on last day of school) a myth?
Hahaha….you know what, I graduated from Kailua High School and we never had “Kill Haole day”! That was everyday…hahaha…just joking!
9. Dey still get da Portagee Man-o-War jellyfish on ‘Nalo Beach? Ah, da buggahs wen sting! (Don’t you hate when haoles try to talk pidgin?)
Beach Park, Sherwood’s, Bellows, Makapu’u, Baby Maks, & Sandy’s all have portuguese man-o-war when it’s windy conditions on the windward side! Eh…’jus no open ya mout unda da wada.’
10. Besides playing music, is there anything else you’re looking forward to doing at SXSW?
Yeah, I want to network with other artists, find a great label that’s interested in me, great manager, booking agent, opportunities to perform at other big festivals, check out some great BBQ places and go to where they film ‘Austin City Limits.’
Kona plays Submerged Friday March 19 at 10 p.m.
WE Love Changed
Internet Music Group, "Gone Fishing for Blue Skies", loves the world of Kona
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Kona (Erving L. Chang), born & raised in Waimanalo, HI. Former Drummer with the "Tropical Knights"....Kona (Erving L. Chang), born & raised in Waimanalo, HI. Former Drummer with the "Tropical Knights". He's evolved into a guitar-strumming crooner with a tender & soulful voice, easily summed up in the opening track "I am". A folk-oriented ballad with a refreshing & relaxing aura. Kona wrote the words and music, co-engineered the cd, and plays guitar (acoustic & electric), bass and drums and percussion. While ballads appear to be his forte, he adds a mild tempo and soft-rock riffs to some of the tunes. Think James Taylor or John Mayer with a local spin. The outlook: Could be a biggie for Kona, with deejay support and exposure in an upcoming concert. Our take: If romantic reflections is your cup of tea, this one is terrific
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The creation of a Hawaiian Category ensures that at least one Hawaii artist will win a grammy this y...The creation of a Hawaiian Category ensures that at least one Hawaii artist will win a grammy this year. Kona isn't in the running, but this impressive album reminds us that local artists can record grammy worthy music, even without the advantage of a special ethnic category. Kona is a modern pop troubadour with a good ear for the details that make this album of original pop-rock interesting. The album tells a cohesive story of ennui, romantic missteps and the search for true love. While acoustic & electric guitars are the foundation of the over all sound, the judicious use of bass, percussion and keyboards adds variety and emotion. Kona's voice is reminiscent of Randy Lorenzo, but with more of a pop edge. His wit and emagination as a lyricist make "Changed" an album that sophisticated adults can count on enjoying with repeated play.
Kona cd review by: John Berger
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Erving "Kona" Chang opens this collection of original music with "Hold On," a song perfect for these...Erving "Kona" Chang opens this collection of original music with "Hold On," a song perfect for these troubled times. In it he approaches the subject of surviving bad times on several levels. His most memorable observation is that there are times when "we trust the people who come back to bite us." That is so true, whether he is referring to duplicitous lovers or to Bernard Madoff and the financial con men who crashed Wall Street.
Chang explains in the liner notes that the title grew out of his love for acoustic music that takes "you back to life's good times." He plays almost all the instruments except for percussion, and with a skill that results in a album that is a commercial-grade release rather than a singer-songwriter's demo.
Imaginative lyrics percolate through the collection. A phrase that sounds at first like a compliment turns out to be a come-on for a booty call, while an insult, "You can take your face and throw it away," leads to a muted appeal for reconciliation.
Clean, well-written instrumental arrangements are the other half of Chang's musical calling card.
I perform solo sets, duo, trio, or with my 4 piece back up band. What ever the venue calls for I can perform. 1hr sets to 4. Music ranging from my originals to oldies to ballads to singer/songwriter acoustic music. John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Gavin Degraw, Hawaiian music, reggae, etc...! Up tempo, feel good music...!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.