20 Famous Singers from Hawaii

Famous Singers from Hawaii

Hawaii, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich culture, has also given birth to some of the most remarkable musical talents. From soulful ballads to foot-tapping melodies, the islands have produced a diverse range of singers who have left an indelible mark on the world of music. 

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the lives and contributions of 20 famous singers from Hawaii, highlighting their distinct styles and impact on the music industry.

List of the Famous Singers from Hawaii

1. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: The Gentle Giant with a Golden Voice

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, affectionately known as “Iz,” is an iconic Hawaiian singer celebrated for his soulful voice and ukulele mastery. With his medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” Iz captured the hearts of millions worldwide. His soothing melodies and uplifting lyrics continue to inspire listeners, making him a true symbol of Hawaii’s musical legacy.

2. Jack Johnson: Strumming Stories of Life and Love

Jack Johnson, a singer-songwriter, and environmental activist, hails from the North Shore of Oahu. His laid-back, acoustic sound and heartfelt lyrics have garnered a dedicated global fanbase. Through hits like “Better Together” and “Banana Pancakes,” Johnson’s music beautifully encapsulates the relaxed spirit of Hawaii.

3. Ledward Kaapana: Master of Slack-Key Guitar

Ledward Kaapana is a true virtuoso of slack-key guitar, a distinctive Hawaiian playing style. His fingers dance across the strings, creating a melodic tapestry that reflects the essence of the islands. Kaapana’s mastery of this traditional art form has earned him immense respect within Hawaii’s music scene.

4. Bruno Mars: From Hawaii to Superstardom

Born and raised in Honolulu, Bruno Mars is a global pop sensation with an irresistible blend of R&B, funk, and soul. With hits like “Just the Way You Are” and “Uptown Funk,” Mars has achieved international fame while staying connected to his Hawaiian roots.

5. Don Ho: The Entertainer Extraordinaire

Don Ho, often referred to as the “Hawaiian Crooner,” was a beloved entertainer known for his charismatic performances. His classic hit “Tiny Bubbles” became a signature tune, and his lively shows at Waikiki Beach showcased his magnetic stage presence.

6. Yvonne Elliman: A Voice of Grace and Power

Yvonne Elliman’s journey from a small town in Maui to the heights of the music industry is awe-inspiring. Her powerful voice and versatile range allowed her to excel in various genres, from rock to disco. Hits like “If I Can’t Have You” cemented her status as a vocal powerhouse.

7. Moe Keale: Sharing Stories Through Song

Moe Keale’s music was a reflection of his deep connection to Hawaiian culture. A skilled musician and actor, his songs conveyed the stories and values of the islands. His commitment to preserving Hawaiian heritage earned him a special place in the hearts of many.

8. James Mercer: A Contemporary Voice with Depth

While not native to Hawaii, James Mercer of the band The Shins has made the islands his home. His introspective lyrics and indie rock sound have resonated with audiences. Mercer’s artistic presence adds a modern touch to Hawaii’s musical landscape.

9. Eddie Kamae: The Ambassador of Hawaiian Music

Eddie Kamae’s contribution to Hawaiian music is immeasurable. A ukulele virtuoso and a member of the iconic Sons of Hawaii band, Kamae dedicated his life to preserving traditional Hawaiian sounds. His work as a musician, filmmaker, and educator solidified his status as an ambassador of the genre.

10. Alfred Apaka: The Golden Voice of Waikiki

Alfred Apaka, often referred to as the “Golden Voice of Hawaii,” was a legendary crooner who enchanted audiences in Waikiki’s glamorous days. His velvety voice and romantic ballads made him a star both in Hawaii and beyond.

11. Cecilio & Kapono: The Soundtrack of Hawaii

Cecilio & Kapono, a dynamic duo, created a musical legacy that remains woven into the fabric of Hawaii’s identity. Their fusion of rock, pop, and Hawaiian influences gave rise to hits like “Sunflower” that continue to be cherished by generations.

12. The Brothers Cazimero: A Harmonious Legacy

Roland and Robert Cazimero, known as The Brothers Cazimero, have left an indelible mark on Hawaiian music. Their harmonious vocals and commitment to Hawaiian traditions have earned them numerous awards and accolades.

13. Bette Midler: From Honolulu to Hollywood

Bette Midler, born in Honolulu, rose to fame as a versatile performer with a powerhouse voice. Her journey from singing in a local nightclub to becoming a global superstar is an inspiring testament to her talent and determination.

14. Larry Ching: Paving the Way for Asian-American Artists

Larry Ching, a trailblazing musician, played a pivotal role in breaking down barriers for Asian-American artists. His fusion of Hawaiian and Chinese music showcased his innovative spirit and commitment to cultural diversity.

15. Kealiʻi Reichel: A Cultural Renaissance

Kealiʻi Reichel’s music is a celebration of Hawaiian traditions and a reflection of his commitment to cultural revival. As a singer, songwriter, and kumu hula (hula teacher), Reichel has played a vital role in the renaissance of Hawaiian arts.

16. Kalapana: Groovy Sounds of the ’70s

Kalapana, a band formed in the 1970s, brought a fresh and groovy sound to the Hawaiian music scene. Their blend of pop, rock, and R&B produced hits that captured the spirit of the era.

17. Bob Shane: The Voice of the Kingston Trio

Bob Shane, although not born in Hawaii, made a significant impact on the island’s music scene. As a member of the Kingston Trio, he helped popularize Hawaiian folk music, bringing it to a wider audience.

18. Ooklah The Moc: Redefining Reggae in Hawaii

Ooklah The Moc, a reggae band hailing from Hawaii, has redefined the genre by infusing it with local influences. Their music captures the essence of island life and resonates with audiences who appreciate their fresh take on reggae.

19. Sacred Rite: Heavy Metal Aloha

Sacred Rite, a pioneering heavy metal band from Hawaii, defied conventions and paved the way for the island’s rock scene. Their energetic performances and genre-bending approach earned them a dedicated following.

20. Ray Kinney: Bridging Cultures Through Music

Ray Kinney, a multi-talented performer, played a crucial role in bringing Hawaiian music to the world. His efforts to bridge cultures through music and showcase the beauty of the islands left an enduring legacy.


Q: What makes Hawaiian music unique?

A: Hawaiian music is characterized by its distinct melodies, use of traditional instruments like the ukulele and slack-key guitar, and its deep connection to the culture and landscapes of the islands.

Q: How has Hawaiian music influenced other genres?

A: Hawaiian music has had a profound impact on various genres, from country to pop. Its melodies and instruments have been incorporated into songs worldwide, contributing to a diverse musical tapestry.

Q: Who is the most iconic Hawaiian singer?

A: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is widely regarded as one of the most iconic Hawaiian singers. His rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a timeless favorite.

Q: What role does music play in Hawaiian culture?

A: Music is an integral part of Hawaiian culture. It’s used to tell stories, preserve traditions, and express emotions. It’s a way of connecting with both the past and the present.

Q: Are there contemporary Hawaiian singers making waves?

A: Yes, many contemporary Hawaiian singers like Anuhea and Kimié Miner are making waves with their fresh sounds while staying rooted in the traditions of Hawaiian music.

Q: How can I experience Hawaiian music firsthand?

A: Attending a live performance in Hawaii is the best way to experience the magic of Hawaiian music. From local venues to luaus, you’ll be immersed in the enchanting sounds of the islands.


Hawaii’s musical heritage is a captivating blend of tradition, innovation, and diversity. The 20 famous singers highlighted in this article have contributed to the global tapestry of music, each leaving a unique mark. From the iconic melodies of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole to the boundary-pushing sounds of Ooklah The Moc, these artists showcase the rich musical landscape that Hawaii has to offer. 

So, whether you’re a fan of soulful ballads, energetic rock, or soothing reggae, the singers of Hawaii have something special in store for you.

That’s all! You can also check out 20 Famous Female British Singers and 10 Best Justin Timberlake Songs of All Time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *