Henry Kapono Ka’aihue is an award winning and Grammy nominated singer/songwriter. He has taken home numerous Na Hoku Hano Hano Awards (Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammy’s) including Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, and Album of the Year. He is also the author of the award winning children’s book, A Beautiful Hawaiian Day, has appeared in the films, Damien and Waterworld and has made many television appearances. Known as “Kapono”, the Hawaiian word for righteous, Henry was christened “Henry Kapono Hosea Ka’aihue” and is a pure Hawaiian born and raised in Kapahulu, a small town located just outside Waikiki, Hawaii.
Although Henry has had no formal musical training, he started singing in a children’s church choir at the young age of 5. “I was, and still am, a very shy person, but I loved singing especially in a choral situation,” says Henry. “My Dad taught me how to play the ukulele. He would come home from work and sit in his easy chair and play the coolest stuff. I saw a friend of mine play a guitar one day and fell in love with the sound of it. He taught me a few chords and I’ve been hooked ever since. After that, I taught myself how to play by listening to records, radio and watching other guitarists play.”
Henry’s athletic abilities earned him a baseball scholarship to the highly regarded Punahou Academy in Honolulu. After high school he earned a football scholarship to the University of Hawaii with dreams of being a professional football player. Although injuries prevented him from fulfilling his dream as a football player, in a profound way it moved him toward his passion for music and allowed him to fully realize his potential as an artist.
Henry’s professional career started as a solo artist in little joints around Waikiki. This led to a short stint playing rock in a local island group called “Pakalolo.” The group played the islands and the far east where a defunct tour company left them stranded in Vietnam. Putting their situation and talents to good use, the group performed for the troops at fire bases throughout Vietnam and eventually made their way to Thailand. The 2 years that Henry spent overseas turned out to be a personal and professional odyssey that profoundly affected his music, his appreciation of life and his love of all people.
Returning to Hawaii, Henry’s career kicked off in a big way. Forming a collaboration with Cecilio Rodriguez, from California, the duo, known as “Cecilio & Kapono” became an instant phenomenon that took Hawaii by storm. Blending together their distinctive and individual talents, they gave contemporary and folk rock a new perspective. Within eight months Cecilio & Kapono had a recording contract with Columbia Records, a first for a Hawaii group, crowning them the largest recording artists to come out of Hawaii.
Continually evolving, in 1981 Henry pursued a solo career with the extremely successful release of “Kapono – Stand in the Light.” Since then he has created an incredibly broad range of musical expressions through 17 solo albums to date.
Kapono has become a household name throughout Hawaii and the Pacific. His music has taken him all over the world and his fan base is very diverse. His musical journey has been a very Bohemic collage of innovation and creativity continually evolving in a way that very few artists are able to sustain. His influences, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sting and Stevie Wonder, to name a few, are reflected in his musical tapestry that is exclusively Kapono. His music transcends his Hawaiian Heritage which he prides so much and embodies the spirit of Aloha that he has for all people.
Henry has the gift that most great artist share: The ability to enable us to gaze upon their painting or ponder their work or listen to their music and find new meaning and purpose in our lives. Henry touches the soul with the simple honesty of his lyrics and music, and the gift of an evocative, plaintive balladeer’s voice that haunts you long after he leaves the stage.