Hāna, Maui. Raw and seemingly untouched. Honest and hospitable. Pristine, gorgeous, rugged, vibrant, majestic and ripe. Hāna is the embodiment of easy-living. And in the words of songwriter and musician CJ Helekahi, a place where you can see the stars at night, the dark side of the moon, and a place you never leave.
Born and raised in Hāna, Maui, the remote small town of approximately 2500 people on Maui’s scenic east coast, emerges a singer/songwriter named CJ Helekahi who has a sound like no other. CJ Helekahi comes from a very large and musical Hawaiian family with a long lineage of talented people. His Grandmother, the late Clara Tolentino, was a famous Hāna entertainer, along with his Aunty G-Girl Keli’iho’omalu, a well-known recording artist, and his mother, Lovey Helekahi, a renowned and long-time performer in Hāna. There is a real pureness to CJ’s voice; an originality that could only come from a place like Hāna. In this land of love of family and sharing, true community closeness and old Hawaiian ways are abound.
Because of a separation from his hometown to attend school, CJ’s interests moved away from music for a short time. But as soon as he moved back home to his roots in Hāna, all those musical memories from listening as a kid came flooding back. He loved to just sit and listen to all the talented people of his community. CJ started by playing reggae songs he liked, but fell in love with the truth of Hawaiian music. He was drawn to how real it is and how raw emotions can be expressed in music. Anyone, male or female, big or small can sing this style of music and it will touch people. Visitors leave with the music and feel connected to Hawai’i anytime they listen, and locals will sing along to every song. CJ acknowledges many special people for their influence in his music. Uncle Kaleo and Uncle Francis Kaina, Val Pu and many others have made him the performer he is today.