Aidan James
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Aidan James

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF | AFTRA

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Pop Folk




"Cover of Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou Magazine June-July 2015"

HI Fidelity: Laying it down in Oahu's recording studios

Mix it Up! Thirteen-year-old 'ukulele wunderkind Aidan James, seen here and on the opening spread, recorded his EP "Live Again" (later nominated for a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for EP of the Year) at Hawaii Kai's celebrated Island Sound Studios…. - Larry Lieberman

"Cover Story - Midweek"

How Aidan James Became One Of Earth’s Mightiest (And Cutest) Heroes
BILL MOSSMAN on April 14, 2015 at 12:36 am
It’s up, up and away for YouTube sensation and 2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee Aidan James, the adorable ukulele-playing kid turned serious songwriter who’s composed a super song just for HBO’s earth-conscious docuseries ‘Saving My Tomorrow.’ - Bill Mossman

"Sail Across the Sun Festival News"

Four SATS Lineup Additions to Train's Music and Wine Festival, "Sail Across the Sun"

Welcome Pop World, Aidan James, Robbie Christmas and yogi, John Jessum! - Sixthman

"13 Year old Aidan James releases his first EP"

HONOLULU (Jan. 5, 2014)— Born and raised in Honolulu, Aidan James is taking the local music scene by storm with his first EP entitled, “Live Again,” recorded at Island Sound Studios in Hawaii Kai. Contributors on the EP include R&B vocalist and Hoku Award winner YOZA, singer-songwriter Johnny Helm, guitarist Brandon Nitta, and Hoku Award winning producers Gaylord Holomalia and Brandon Apeles.

Aidan found his passion at an early age, gravitating towards music, specifically the ukulele, after starting out in modeling and acting at the tender age of three. At age 8, he became a YouTube sensation when someone posted a video of Aidan singing “Hey Soul Sister” at the ukulele festival. Now with over 19 million views and counting, all of his YouTube videos have collectively over 23 million views. Pat Monahan, lead singer of the Grammy-winning band Train saw the YouTube cover of “Hey Soul Sister,” and while in concert in Hawaii called Aidan up on stage to sing the song with them. Since then, Pat has featured the young musician in Train’s music video, “Mermaid” and on his PatCast Podcast. Aidan had a role on season one of “Hawaii Five-0,” has toured with HAPA and shared the stage with Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro and Mick Fleetwood.

2013 started with Aidan performing at the Pro Bowl and being featured on the cover of Midweek along with legendary concert promoter Tom Moffatt. He also performed at the Hawaii Five-0 premieres and toured again with HAPA to the Northwest as well as performed at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood. Adding to his credits as an actor, he was cast in “Under the Blood Red Sun” as Rico.

2014 also proved to be a momentous year for the thirteen-year-old musician. Aidan’s first original song, “One of the Ones,” came out in February on iTunes and was chosen by Peter Lenkov, the Executive Producer of “Hawaii Five-0″ to be used on the show. Handpicked by Lisa Loeb, Aidan opened up for her summer concert in July. Aidan went on his first solo tour to Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., New York and California performing at Hard Rock Cafe Vegas, Google HQ, at the House of Blues Voodoo Room and on the steps of the Capitol in Washington. He then went on to Japan for a summer tour to Yokohama, Sendai, and Tokyo. For more information visit

“Live Again” EP – Available on iTunes and CD Baby


“SEE YOU AGAIN” featuring Yoza
Written by Aidan James and Yoza
Produced by Yoza
Recorded and Mixed by Gaylord Kalani Holomalia at Island Sound Studios and Shaney Boy Studios
Lead Vocals and Ukulele by Aidan James
Lead Vocals and Guitar by Yoza
Djembe by Jenn “JRoQ” Wright
Bass by Tarvin Makia

Written by Aidan James and Brandon Nitta
Produced by branapeles
Engineered and Mixed by Eric Kelekolio at Island Sound Studios
Lead Vocals and Ukulele by Aidan James
Drums by Seann Carroll
Acoustic Guitar by Brandon Nitta
Electric Guitar by Shelby Benson
Bass by Chord Medeiros
Background Vocals by Colby Benson

Written by Aidan James and Johnny Helm
Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Johnny Helm at Helm’s Garage
Lead Vocals and Ukulele by Aidan James
Electric Guitar and Lap Steel by Jesse SeibenbergDrums by Salaam Tillman
Bass, Keyboards and background vocals by Johnny Helm

“ONE OF THE ONES” – previously released single featured on “Hawaii Five-0”
Written by Aidan James and Jeff Dayton
Produced by Gaylord Kalani Holomalia
Co-Produced by William Powell and Angela Laprete
Recorded and Mixed by Gaylord Kalani Holomalia at Island Sound Studios and Shaney Boy Studios
Lead Vocals and Ukulele by Aidan James
Bass by Tarvin Makia
Drums by Larry Lieberman and Ian Wacksman
Percussions by Salaam Tillman - Asian American Press

"More Than Cute"

More Than Cute Posted on January 14, 2015 by Bill Mossman | Email the author | Musical Notes Archives

Aidan James at 13: Still adorable, but sounding and looking more mature | PHOTO COURTESY AIDAN JAMES

YouTube sensation Aidan James finds his voice in his coming of age debut album, Live Again

The problem with being Aidan James is no one ever wants you to grow up. It’s what happens when you’re an adorably perfect 8-year-old who reminds some of the cute kid from the mid-’90s movie Jerry Maguire.

You smile and any room lights up.

You pick up an ukulele and sing the Train classic Hey, Soul Sister, and instantly the song has gone viral, resulting in 20 million-plus melted hearts from here to Timbuktu.

For the past five years, this has been Aidan’s life — with everyone and their mother wanting to run their fingers through the young entertainer’s spiked hair, poke at his oversized eyeglass frame or pinch his Pillsbury doughboy-soft cheeks.

But now that he’s 13, those touchy-feely moments aren’t so cute any longer. These days, Aidan wants to be more than just a YouTube sensation, more than just a darling little kid with a Kamaka ukulele.

“I’d like to be taken more seriously as a musician,” he confesses. “I don’t want to be just cute anymore.”

With the release of his debut EP Live Again, he may be getting his wish. The four-song album represents Aidan’s maiden voyage into unchartered waters as a fast-maturing artist. His voice is deeper and more refined, while his playing chops are rhythmically and tastefully on fleek (as teenagers his age might say). And although the cuteness factor is still present on the album, thanks to his pop rock-friendly melodies, Aidan’s growth as a musician can be heard in his burgeoning songwriting abilities. For Live Again, Aidan solicited the compositional assistance of other notable writers, including Nashville producer and session guitarist Jeff Dayton and R&B vocalist Yoza.

In Dayton’s case, Aidan met him a couple of years ago at the Kauai Music Festival. They immediately formed a friendship and began writing what is currently the album’s most recognizable track, One of the Ones, which was featured on an episode of Hawaii Five-0.

“It was the first song I ever wrote,” Aidan says. “For inspiration, Jeff said he had gone on my Facebook page and found a quote from Steve Jobs that I had posted. It’s the one that goes, ‘Here’s to the crazy ones, the troublemakers … because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ Jeff thought it would be something we could write about, something that everyone could relate to besides love. So we decided to write about helping out people. I did the first verse, and me and Jeff came up with the chorus, and then we both wrote the second verse.”

Despite not having a whole lot of life experiences to tap into for song direction, Aidan says it was important for him to begin developing as a lyricist now. After all, he didn’t want to be stuck playing cover songs like the Foo Fighters’ My Hero, or Ed Sheeran’s Don’t and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, for the rest of his life.

“I always knew that if I wanted to keep being a musician, that I would need to write some songs and actually release my own material,” says Aidan, who’s shared the stage with such artists as Pat Monahan of Train, Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro and Mick Fleetwood, and even performed at such legendary locales as Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood. “I felt that if I kept doing covers, I would turn into a cover musician and that’s not really what I want to do. People like to hear new material.

“Hopefully, my songwriting may prove to some people that I’m more than just cute!”

Here’s what else Aidan told Musical Notes:

MN: Do you remember when and where you first performed live?

AJ: I started playing ukulele at 4, and at 6 I performed at the Ukulele Festival in a group. My first solo performance came during a talent show at Hahaione Elementary. I think I was 7 at the time and I played Hey, Soul Sister. And then I played at a baby luau and that’s when someone made a video of it and put it online and it got a million views right away. Then someone else made a video of me playing the same song at the Ukulele Festival and posted it on YouTube. I think that one has over 19 million views.

MN: What would make you happiest — winning a Na Hoku Hanohano Award, or continuing to brighten people’s days as a singer-songwriter?

AJ: I’d like to win a Hoku and be recognized because it would be nice. But it’s not really that important. I love performing and putting smiles on faces. Hopefully, it makes their days better.

MN: What’s your favorite song from your just-released EP? AJ: Well, I like them all! But if I had to choose one, I would say the title track Live Again. I wrote that song with (local songwriter) Johnny Helm in two hours. It was written for my shiba inu dog Taro, that died while I was on a trip and that I ended up dedicating the album to. I also really like that song because of its groove.

MN: Your album cover has a bit of a Nirvana feel to it. Do you even know who Nirvana is and, if so, do you agree with the observation?

AJ: Oh, yeah! I like Nirvana! But really, the photographer (Amanda Finn) we worked with just happened to do a lot of underwater shots, so we decided to try it. It was fun, and I wound up using a cheap ukulele for the photos. But yeah, so many people are saying the same thing about the album cover. It’s like, hey, the Nirvana kid grew up!

(See Page 48 for photos of Aidan’s EP listening party. ) - Midweek - Musical Notes

"Blooming Talent: Ones to Watch"


Aidan James of Honolulu and Lily Meola of Maui are ones to watch.

A New generation of musicians is sprouting in Hawai’i, including Aidan James and Lily Meola. discover how they are building their fan base on- and off-line:

From talented youngster to YouTube sensation, Aidan James’ rendition of “Hey, Soul Sister” at the 2010 Ukulele Festival-hailed as Train frontman Pat Monahan’s “favorite cover”-struck a chord with online audiences, making him a Honolulu household name overnight. With over 18 million hits (and counting!) for this performance and a California Whisky A Go Go show under his belt, Aidan James, 12, is on the rise with a single, “One of the Ones,” available in original, island and club versions on iTunes.

Once discovering the catchy single “Hey, Soul Sister” employs a ‘ukulele, “something clicked,” fueling his drive to utilize the instrument in styles beyond Hawaiian music.

Praised for his speedy right hand, he now sings and strums the ‘ukulele with seasoned, rock-star flair that supersedes his preteen frame.

“I want to continue … write more songs, release an EP of original songs and tour around the world,” James exclaims.

Signature spiked hair and thick-rimmed specs on his side, this stylish musician is one to watch. Have a listen at - HILUX Magazine

"Ukulele Star Aidan James cuts 3 versions of new tune"

Aidan James, the 12-year-old ukulele wizard, has recorded three versions of "One of the Ones," which he co-wrote with Nashville composer Jeff Dayton. He'll get a national boost when the tune is featured on CBS' "Hawaii Five-0" on Friday. Earlier that morn, Aidan will perform it on Hawaii News Now.

Gaylord Holomalia produced the ditty — a sweet lollipop for his fans — at Island Sound Studios at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center. It's available for downloading and purchase this week via iTunes.

For more story details - login to - Star Advertiser

"Heels & Picks Featuring Aidan James"

December 25th brought Santa down our chimneys (or most likely, in Hawai’i, leaving his slippahs at the front door), good times with family and friends and lights wrapped around the palm tree in the yard.

But Dec. 25th also marked a treat from young local recording artist Aidan James – his brand new EP, “Live Again”.

At 13 years old, James (nee Aidan Laprete Powell) is no stranger to the entertainment industry. He’s been modeling since he was a baby, toured with HAPA, appeared and had his songs appear on “Hawaii 5-0,” performed at a “5-0″ red carpet premiere, performed at the Google HQ in DC and has over 20 million views on his YouTube videos.

Since moving to Oahu from Maui, I’ve come to know his family and they are lovely people. But prior to that, I first saw Aidan in 2010 when my band The Throwdowns opened for national artists Train, alongside our friends PIMPBOT at the Blaisdell Arena. We performed our set — my first in an arena — and during Train’s set a young man joined the band onstage for a version of their mega-hit “Hey Soul Sister”. This young man was cute, poised and not rattled by the crowd. This young man was Aidan James.

Johnny Helm, Yoza, James, Bran Apeles and Gaylord Holomalia. (Photos courtesy Angela Laprete)
Flash-forward and Train singer Pat Monahan has gone on air on a national ABC radio interview to say that James’ ukulele-backed cover of that same hit song is his favorite cover version to date. Monahan has been a supporter of James, tweeting when news comes up about Aidan’s career so that Train fans can see what he’s up to.

James’ EP, a much anticipated four-song recording, features several local musicians and producers. At 13, Aidan’s voice is that of a young man rather than a boy, and he is sinking his teeth into the new material he’s co-written with local singer/songwriters Yoza, Johnny Helm and Nashville composer Jeff Dayton. One of the songs was co-written with James’ young band mate Brandon Nitta from their group, the Rising Sons.

Listening to James’ EP, you get the impression that his influences lie in pop, R&B and alternative indie-rock. One of the strengths of the EP lies in the simplicity of his vocal delivery. It rings of the understated tones of indie rock and he keeps the length of his notes clean and smooth. Clarity and smoothness are traits that are often won over time, for singers, and at his age it’s a testament to his talent that he knows to hold it steady and sleek.

Tom Moffatt with Aidan James.
On the first track, James sings a duet with co-writer Yoza on the song “See You Again.” The track kicks off with her signature R&B infused vocal and her unique phrasing. James’ smooth second verse creates a nice balance of styles for a song about love walking out of the room when it’s love at first sight and you don’t know his or her name.

Crimson Apple members Colby and Shelby Benson lend their guitar and vocal talents to “You Should Let Go”, a track produced by manager/producer Bran Apeles. A friend and contemporary of mine, Apeles hits the mark on this song and the Bensons are no slouches themselves. I’ve been keeping an eye on their all-female rock band – comprised entirely of the sister in the Benson family – as they grow and mature. I see big things in their future, plus you know I am the number one supporter of rocker girls from Hawai’i.

“Live Again”, the title track co-written and produced by Johnny Helm has a light bouncy groove that would make Jack Johnson proud. As a performer, songwriter and just as a funny guy, I’ve always enjoyed Helm. This song proves no different and James’ delivery is top notch.

James with the Vinyl Cake by Cakeworks.

Some of the content seems like beyond the scope of experience for a 13-year-old, in terms of life and love lessons, but it goes by without losing any authenticity. The depths of his voice, the warm low tones and the confidence with which he delivers the stories in his songs has an old-soul vibe, as though you believe the young man knows what he is singing about. The conviction and tone is there.
James’ held an EP listening party on December 21st, right before Christmas at Island Sound Studios in Hawaii Kai, where James recorded three of the four songs on “Live Again.” Studio owner Gaylord Holomalia engineered two songs on the EP and produced the final track “One of the Ones.”

The cake to celebrate the event was decorated to look like a vinyl version of James’ EP and created by Cake Works. The party attendees included legendary promoter and one of my favorites Uncle Tom Moffatt, my homeboy from the Star-Advertiser music critic John Berger, Star 101 radio personality and friend Kevin Jones, co-executive Producer of “Hawaii Five-0″ Bryan Spicer, actress Teilor Grubbs, Barry Flanagan and Miano, Maile from Maile’s Bistro who also catered the event, and friends Apeles, Yoza, and the Benson sisters.

The cover of the EP is shot of James, in a button up and slacks, underwater in the ocean with his ukulele. Taken by photographer Amanda Finn, James’ cover is an eye catcher and a statement piece.

For some it may seem like the image of someone looking to find their way so they can “Live Again”, but for James, it’s young man diving in headfirst to find his voice.

Pick up Aidan James’ EP on iTunes and find out more about this artist at

Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter. - Honolulu Pulse

"Do It! Ukulele Kid"

Young YouTube ukulele sensation is now a regular at Hard Rock Cafe
At age 10, Aidan James has already modeled, appeared on “Hawaii Five-0″ and opened concerts with big names like Jack Johnson and Jake Shimabukuro.

The Honolulu youth came into the public eye for his ability on the ukulele. When he was 8, a video of him playing and singing Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” at a baby luau was posted on YouTube and has since drawn more than 14 million views.

See him perform Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki, playing pop hits ranging from “Soul Sister” to Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” and Colbie Caillat’s “Brighter than the Sun” with 9-year-old friend and drummer Ian Wacksman.

Aidan began to pick up music when he was 2, while watching “The Wiggles,” said his mother, Angela Laprete. He began playing ukulele at age 4 and he’s been taking lessons ever since at Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios.

His YouTube video took off in 2010. Later that year, Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan brought Aidan on stage to perform the song with the band at Blaisdell Center.

Aidan now performs at the Hard Rock about once a month during the Youth On Stage Sundays show, which is open to aspiring rock performers under age 18. Other young performers include EMKE, Chaotic Five and Isabelle DeLeon.

Recently, at a fundraiser, he opened for one of his idols, ukulele virtuoso Shimabukuro.

“I really enjoy it,” said Aidan, of performing. “I really love rock ‘n’ roll history and stuff like that. I try to do new songs every month.” Influences include Adele, Bruno Mars, HAPA and Jack Johnson.

At this solo gig, he said, he will play some new Train hits. - Honolulu Star Advertiser


Still working on that hot first release.



Fourteen year old, Singer-Songwriter, Aidan James hails from the Aloha State – Hawaii; a place steep in the traditions of its culture, dance, and music.  Although the ukulele is most known for its Hawaiian tradition, Aidan has taken it to a different level, streamlining its unique sound into pop, rock and folk music.  Add in his warm vocals, a loop station, and effect pedals, this young phenom has created his own artistry taking it beyond the islands, inspiring audiences of all ages around the world.

At 8 years old, Aidan became a YouTube “sensation” when a video of him performing Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” quickly went viral and earned over 20 million views to date.  Since appearing in an episode of “Hawaii Five-0” performing that very song, a friendship and mentorship blossomed with lead singer, Pat Monahan, resulting in Aidan’s cameo in “Mermaid,” and being featured as a guest on one of Pat’s podcasts, Patcast.  He will be joining the lineup of Train's "Sail Across the Sun" tour in February 2016. 

At age 11, Aidan began songwriting.  His first single he co-wrote, “One of the Ones,” was released on iTunes in early 2014.  With music placement on “Hawaii Five-0” and its music video featured on Hawaiian Airlines in-flight programming, Aidan continued to work on more original material.  Later that year, his first EP, “Live Again”, debuted on Christmas day.  The four song EP was nominated for a 2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Award (Hawaii’s equivalent of a Grammy) for “EP of the Year” – making Aidan James the youngest artist ever to be nominated in the 30+ year history of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

Aidan continues to “live his dream” traveling and performing around the country spending time in Hawaii, LA, and Nashville.  He has outgrown the “cute kid” stereotype with insightful songwriting, deeper, rounded out vocals, and impressive looping skills.  Aidan has graced the covers of Hawaii’s most widely circulated newspaper-magazine, Midweek, and Hawaiian Airlines’ Hana Hou inflight magazine.  Commissioned by HBO for an original song, Aidan will soon be featured in an upcoming episode of the docu-series, “Saving My Tomorrow.”

Aidan continues to give back to the community and supports charitable organizations such as “Make Em Smile” and "Best Buddies" by sharing his gift of music with young patients at various hospitals and performing at charity events. He enjoys connecting with his fans from all over the world via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


Band Members