Kainalu Busque
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Kainalu Busque

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | INDIE

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Acoustic


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Mono-monickered recording artist Kainalu, left, talked backstage with his opening act, guitarist Yoza, and his producer, Kapena De Lima, between sets at the CD party for his self-titled debut album Oct. 30 at Gordon Biersch. De Lima was one of several local recording industry celebrities who stopped by to show their support.

-John Berger for On the Scene(the Honolulu Star Advertiser) - John Berger of the Honolulu Star Advertiser for On the Scene.

"Nonstop Kaka'ako: Kainalu"

Kainalu will be performing at Saturday’s Nonstop Kaka‘ako event, along will Anuhea, Lost at Sea and Yoza.

Here’s more about Nonstop Kaka‘ako, a free pop-up food, retail and entertainment event taking place from 4 p.m. to midnight in Kaka‘ako on Auahi Street between Coral and Keawe streets.

One thing about Kainalu: he’s not what you expect.

On first seeing the Kalihi-raised, quarter-Hawaiian, former football player, with his gruff island accent, I fully expected to settle in for some Hawaiiana.

Boy, was I wrong.

When Kainalu Busque sings, his accent completely melts away, and you’re suddenly listening to tenor singer-songwriter goodness reminiscent of John Mayer. It’s a completely different feel from what most musicians here on the island offer, and it was refreshing to see him skillfully breaking through those expectations with his talented work.

Kainalu has lived in Hawaii his entire life, except for a stint in California for college. His dad played guitar, and he encouraged Kainalu to learn the guitar and ukelele at an early age. Kainalu says while listening to island music as a child, his dad also introduced him to a steady stream of music, ranging from James Taylor classics to Motown. Despite his Hawaiian roots, Kainalu found that it was the music that spoke to him. “The music left me no choice… that’s the music within me,” he says.

Now with a new child of his own, Kainalu doesn’t have time for bars and nightlife anymore, but he likes to draw inspiration from the world around him, which helps keep the themes of his music distinctly Hawaiian, even if it doesn’t have the usual island sound. “My music is inspired by my life and experiences — past relationships, things friends told me,” he says. “I like to pick at it and think about it. I try to see how everything fits, then I end up writing about it.”

This past August, Kainalu released his first album, which available on iTunes and Amazon. You can also listen to his music and keep track of his shows at kainalumusic.net.
- Ed White for Nonstop Honolulu

"Scene+Heard Hawaii's Music world and Beyond"

MY FINAL musical treat of the week was stumbling upon the debut release of local Hawaii singer-songwriter Kainalu Busque. His self-titled album, “Kainalu,” released in August, is all about love.
Mellow and moody, his lyrics and gravel toned voice create a style reminiscent to me a little of Kalapana, but still more soulful and bluesy. From start to finish, the album is wonderful to listen to.

All 11 tracks are original songs written by Busque and recorded at BuPrint Studios in Kaneohe with the help of engineer and co-producer, Kapena De Lima. (“Kainalu” is available at http://www.kainalumusic.net and on iTunes.)
Other than his standing gig at Apartm3nt every third Thursday, Busque is now in preparation for his big CD release party on October 30, I had a little chat with him to learn more about the new album and what’s next for this soulful musician.

Kainalu Busque CD Release Party
With special guest YOZA
» Where: Gordon Biersch, Aloha Tower Marketplace October 30, 6-9pm
» When: 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30
» Info: www.kainalumusic.net

Sabrina Velazquez: Without a doubt your sound is soulful and melodic. The songs have a definite groove to them. Tell me about the inspiration for your music.

Kainalu Busque: Some of my inspiration comes from self experience, some of it comes from what I observe happening around me and sometimes it’s in stories, or ideas that friends share with me, or ideas that kinda grow on me.
Love is the main inspiration for this album though. It’s not the actual knowing of what love is. It’s more about the “journey” in finding out what love is, and what it means for me. It’s about what love still could be. It’s the hope of what “love” will be.

SV: When did you decide to make the album and what was the recording process like?

KB: The album has been a really long time in the making, about 4-5 years. People who have been around me for a while know all about the “I’m working on my CD” and “It’s coming out soon” lines.
When I first write a song, I demo record it. This gives me a chance to listen back to it later, and kind of piece together what I hear, as far as instrumentation, and arrangement goes. So by the time I get into the studio, I know exactly what I’m aiming for each song to sound like.
When I initially went into the studio, I had a list of about 12 songs. Only 7 of the 12 actually made it onto the album from that batch. I wrote and completed the other 4 songs (“Everyday,” “Thief,” “Where You Are” and “Lullaby”) while in the actual recording process. The whole recording process took a little over a year, mostly all of our sessions started late at night, because I had a day job and Kapena had gigs in the evenings. Sometimes I’d get home at 3 a.m.

SV: There’s always a favorite song for me on an album. One that makes me most proud or seems to stand-out apart from the others. What’s your favorite song on “Kainalu” and why?

KB: My favorite song is “Thief.” It’s my favorite because to me, it is my strongest song. The lyrics are “She is like a dream, a sweet daydream. She has honest colored eyes, and a smile to light the deepest darkest night. She’s become all that I see, and I don’t mind cause she’s all I want. She’s a mystery to me.”
The lyrics and the music are one on this track. So much so, that if you were to mute the vocals and just listen to the instruments and music alone you’d still be able to “feel” what the music is portraying, even without hearing a single lyric. That’s something that I try and shoot for in all of the music that I write.

SV: Now that you have released the album, what’s next for you?

KB: Now that I have the album in hand, I’m trying my best to get my music out there into he hands of people who’ll appreciate it. I definitely want to gain notoriety here in Hawaii, but at the same time I’m planning ways to build a following on the mainland.
I’m planning on putting together a west coast tour for late next year. And I’ve already begun writing for album number two, which I’ll be working on very soon. I’m hoping that “Kainalu” will give me a nice platform onto which I can build a nice musical career onto.

SV: Describe your album in one word.

KB: Love.
- Sabrina Velezquez of Pulse

""Kainalu writes soulful originals""

"Kainalu writes soulful originals"
Kainalu (MellowSoul)

"Soulful singer-songwriters never go out of style. This debut project by Kainalu Busque — Kainalu for short — should certainly earn him a following.

Think Kenny Rankin, think James Taylor, think Kalapana. Kainalu's music is reminiscent of those artists and others, but these songs are all originals.

Fans of mellow acoustic contemporary pop will find that Kainalu is going their way. He opens with a love song for all seasons, "Everyday," that describes the magic of being in love in timeless yet original terms: "Well there's something in your eyes that's got me wanting/To know exactly what's behind that smile," is how he leads off in sharing his feelings for the woman he loves. Is it the way the moonlight caresses her? Her warm embrace? Whatever the source of her attraction may be, he intends that their love "will grow a little stronger/Everyday."

The song is a musical valentine for every day of the year.

It could become his musical signature. In the meantime he should be shopping it nationally and looking for a home at one of the big national labels.

"Fight This Cause" is more enigmatic: "Sometimes in the evening time/You take a walk through my mind." Is that a statement? An invitation? A promise of good things to come? Something just a bit more ominous? What is the "cause" that he might or might not fight? Such questions make new songs interesting.

Kainalu and co-producer Kapena De Lima make careful use of their studio guests. Percussion stands out on several tracks, a second guitar or drums on others.

A cello adds dark undercurrents on one song. Keyboards add a variety of textures — some of them delicate, some substantive — elsewhere. In short, all of the songs are similar in general, but each is distinct.

The songs went up on iTunes in late August; the complete album was officially released Tuesday. Performance credits are included on the album. The lyrics are available at www.kainalumusic.net."

-John Berger
The Honolulu Star Advertiser
Island Mele - John Berger of The Honolulu Star Advertiser for Island Mele


"Kainalu"-Mellowsoul Records--Released on September 13th, 2011

Empty Space-Airplay on KPOA 93.5FM Maui
Loves on the Tracks-Airplay on KPOA 93.5FM Maui
Loves on the Tracks-Airplay on FM97 Kauai



Singer/Songwriter, Kainalu Busque was born on November 27th, 1985. And was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kainalu is a graduate of Moanalua High School-class of 2003.

Kainalu's exposure to music happened at a very young age. Whether it was his Dad playing the guitar, or records from his vast record collection playing in the background.. Kainalu's childhood was filled with music. As his passion and taste for music grew, so did his hunger and curiosity.

At the age of 10, Kainalu picked up his first instrument…the ukulele. As he quickly taught himself how to play the instrument, he found that his interest in music had quickly grown. So much in fact that by the age of 12, he began learning his 1st guitar chords. This trend of learning new instruments became the norm throughout Kainalu’s musical journey. By the time he graduated high school, he already had taught himself how to play the ukulele, guitar, bass, drums, and percussion.

Kainalu has quickly made a name for himself in Hawaii's music scene-as a young and talented Singer/Songwriter, who has only just begun to scratch the surface of his full potential. He has also become quite recognized for his unique musical style. In a music scene flooded with Reggae, and Traditional Hawaiian music, it is rare to come across a folksy, soulful-singer/songwriter such as Kainalu.

Kainalu's unique style can be attributed to a diverse number of influences, some of whom are: James Taylor, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, John Mayer, John Cruz, Country Comfort, Cecilio and Kapono, and Ernie Cruz Jr. just to name a few...

Kainalu is no stranger to the stage, He has played in some of Hawaii's biggest venues, and shared the stage with some of Hawaii's brightest stars. One can regularly see him playing weekly gig's-in and around town and in Waikiki.

In the summer of 2010, Kainalu began the process of recording and producing his Solo Debut album at BuPrint Studios in Kaneohe, Hawaii...the 11 song (all original) album includes some previously demo-released favorites, as well as some previously unreleased material.

In July of 2011, Kainalu finished recording his self-titled debut album, and started an Indie record label called MellowSoul Records.

"Kainalu" was released on September 13th, 2011, and has drawn rave reviews from numerous local press outlets. Kainalu has also gained respect and notoriety amongst his peers in the local music scene.

With every warm strum of his guitar, to every soulful song he sings, his heart comes through to touch his audience in a very heartfelt and inspiring way..