John Cruz
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John Cruz


Band Folk Acoustic


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"2008 Best Singer-Songwriter in Hawaii"

...And then there’s John Cruz, our pick for Best Singer-Songwriter from Hawaii who’s not Jack Johnson. To our ears, John Cruz’s soulful, uncluttered songs are actually better than the work of the more world-renowned Johnson. Cruz is one of the finest contemporary singer-songwriter-musicians you’ll hear, Hawaii-based or otherwise. Listen to Cruz’s Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning 2007 CD “One of These Days” for proof. Cruz’s honeyed, husky voice is a marvel—real-world honest whether touching on subjects painfully personal or sweetly hopeful. Vintage instruments and recording equipment coat it all in a warm, timeless musical glow. We’re serious fans.
- Hawaii Magazine

"Derek Paiva Review"

One of the year's finest albums, local or otherwise. - Honolulu Advertiser

"Jon Woodhouse Review"

It's astonishingly good; a landmark recording bursting with memorable songs that deserve national exposure. And it marks a triumphant progression from "Acoustic Soul," displaying Cruz's maturation as a vocalist, guitarist, composer, arranger and producer. Setting the creative bar way high, Cruz with "One of These Days" has attained an artistic level that bears comparison to the work of enigmatic Irish legend Van Morrison, combining emotive lyrical depth, soulful delivery, superb backing musicianship and a broad musical vision. - Maui News

"Bill Bentley Review"

Hawaii has a way of putting things into perspective, where troubles have more room to breathe, and each day's happiness is able to linger a little longer. John Cruz has caught that lightning in a bottle like very few modern musicians. His voice is weathered but still full of life, reflecting the understanding of someone who's seen far more than just beautiful sunsets. The way Cruz turns that mileage into songs of experience marks him as an inspiration to his audience there, and hopefully will help him bring that rare emotional magic here. Aloha. - Studio City Sun



2007 One of These Days - Winner of 2008 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Contemporary Album of the Year. Recipient of 2 preliminary Grammy nominations, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary Folk/Americana album. Debuted at #1 in Hawaii, #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart for the Pacific Region and #6 on the Billboard World Chart.

1996 Acoustic Soul - Winner of 2 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, for Most Promising Artist and Contemporary Album of the Year. Sold over 100,000 copies in Hawaii alone.


2008 Missing You - #1 radio hit from "One of These Days." Also on WMVY radio's "Fresh Produce Vol. 4" CD with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

2007 Hurricane - #1 radio hit from "One of These Days."

2007 One of These Days - Title track from new CD, added to rotation on radio stations throughout Hawaii, on the US mainland, in Europe, Japan and beyond.

2006 A Case of Ice and Snow - Co-written with Trey Anastasio for his "Bar 17" solo album.

2005 JoBo's Night - Grammy Winner from "Slack Key Guitar Vol. 2," which won the first Grammy ever awarded for Hawaiian music.

1997 Island Style - John's signature song and a huge radio hit on nearly every station in Hawaii, still in constant rotation today, from album "Acoustic Soul." Appears on numerous compilation CDs, including several with Jack Johnson and a DVD released by Kelly Slater.

1997 Shine On - Popular radio hit, still in rotation today and also on numerous compilation CDs. The favorite love song of fans all over the world.

1997 Kawailehua'a'alakahonua - Beautiful Hawaiian song still played on the radio today and one of the most requested songs at concerts.

1997 Sitting in Limbo - A favorite radio hit and crowd pleaser at live shows, John has made this upbeat cover tune his own.


2006 Made of Music - The Story of John Cruz
This powerful and poignant life story debuted at the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival. It later won the Aloha Visionary Filmmaker Award at the Molokai Film Festival. Infused with John's candor and wit and literally drenched in music, this biography features John's friends Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne and Kelly Slater, among many others.




"John Cruz is one of my favorite songwriters in the world."
- Jack Johnson, Billboard #1 top selling artist

"John is a great songwriter and a great singer...he's one of the best."
- Jackson Browne, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee


"One of the year's finest albums, local or otherwise."
- Derek Paiva, Honolulu Advertiser

"It's astonishingly good; a landmark recording bursting with memorable songs that deserve national exposure."
- Jon Woodhouse, The Maui News

From the time he was a young boy growing up in Palolo Valley on Oahu, John Cruz knew he was destined to play music. Whether inside or outside the home, his earliest memories were filled with song. His Hawaiian grandmother had a beautiful voice and sang in church. His mom loved the Motown sound and had an extensive record collection. His dad played country music and taught John to perform live shows at a very young age. His brothers and sisters were all musically inclined and, along with numerous aunties, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends, they have surrounded John with the gift of music for his entire life.

Although John grew up in Hawaii, it wasn't until he moved to the East Coast in 1983 that he developed his own style as a singer songwriter. During his 12 years in the Northeast, John cut his musical teeth in subways, coffeehouses and bars in New York's Greenwich Village, as well as in the clubs and local haunts from Martha's Vineyard to the Boston area. While attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, John ventured in to acting and dancing, which strengthened his command of the stage.

He spent six years in theatre and dance companies, performing everywhere from Lincoln Center to Washington D.C. As a member of the prestigious New World Theater, John played the lead role in "The Dance and the Railroad," by Tony Award winning Broadway playwright, David Henry Hwang, of M. Butterfly fame. John's outstanding performance was nationally recognized in the finals of a collegiate drama competition.

John returned to Hawaii in 1995 to help his brother Ernie record his album. At the time, Ernie was in the immensely popular band, the Ka'au Crater Boys. He invited John to play bass with them and to play his own songs during their shows. The exposure to large crowds gave John's music a substantial fan base before it was even recorded. When his first album, Acoustic Soul was released in 1996, it made an artistic and commercial impact like few other recordings in Hawaiian musical history.

Acoustic Soul to date has sold over 100,000 copies in Hawaii alone. John produced the album himself and released it on his own label, Lilikoi Records. It spawned the radio hits "Shine On," "Sitting in Limbo" and "Island Style," which has become a local anthem known around the world. Most songs from the album still receive daily radio airplay and can be heard on numerous compilation CDs, in hotels, airports, shopping malls, school music classes, commercials and just about everywhere else music is played within the state. Acoustic Soul won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 1997 -- one for Contemporary Album of the Year and one for Most Promising Artist.

In 2005, John added the Grammy Award to his list of honors. His original song "Jo Bo's Night" was featured on the compilation CD Slack Key Guitar Volume 2, which won the first Grammy ever awarded for Hawaiian music.

Over the years, John has attracted some stellar fans. Stars like Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Jimmy Buffett, Lisa Loeb, Trey Anastasio and others, have shown their support in various ways. John co-wrote a song with Trey called "A Case of Ice and Snow," which was released on the Phish frontman's solo CD, Bar 17. World Champion surfer Kelly Slater featured three of John's songs on his DVD, "Letting Go," in 2006. Jack Johnson has released "Island Style" on several CDs and plays it frequently in concert. John joined Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, along with other quality singer songwriters, on the WMVY radio compilation CD, Fresh Produce Volume 4, with his hit song "Missing You."

In October 2006, a documentary film on his life, "Made of Music - The Story of John Cruz," debuted at the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu. A few weeks later, it was honored with the Aloha Visionary Filmmaker Award at the Molokai Film Festival. It features John's signature candor and wit, as well as a personal story that tugs at the heartstrings, and music that will delight and inspire. Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Kelly Slater and Jake Shimabukuro add color and insight to an already powerful story.

John is the official spokesman for Sprint Hawaii's Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which donates free ukuleles to school music programs in need. He visits classrooms and gives sur