“The best music makes you feel something. It’s transportive. It’s authentic. It speaks to you. Our culture tells a story," says Kimié Miner, singer-songwriter in Hawaiʻi. Although she had been weaving connections between musical artists for years, she wanted to create an organization that would better support the legacy of music in Hawaiʻi.
In 2016, she became determined to scale the connections she was providing her fellow island artists. After being presented with another opportunity in the industry, she called a trusted friend in the music business Scotty Wilks. Within a week, they had a strategy and a name that was perfect for their full-service music, audio, and talent production group— Haku Collective.
“We really dug in deep and figured out one of our main goals is to help established as well as up-and-coming artists in Hawai'i,” Miner says. “If we can find a formula to help move them along; from songwriting to creating albums, to how to get to the GRAMMYs, we want to be able to share that with our community and our industry.”
Through Haku Collective, Wilks and Miner work to support Hawai'i-based musicians through live events, production, publishing, product, and mentorship opportunities.
In 2017, the Haku MeleCraft mentorship program was launched with the goal to teach young aspiring artists in Hawai'i how to create quality songs and remain authentic.
"The Melecraft boot camp program is a free service,” Wilks says. “We mentor up-and-coming artists and music creators in the art of songwriting. Kimié and I both believe the actual crafting of mele, or writing of a song, is the most powerful tool in any artist's toolbox. You can be an amazingly talented executor of music, but people generally want you to have a very memorable song to go with that."
The word haku, meaning to weave or braid, also describes the action of writing poetry or songs—The haku mele or songwriter, weaves together their words with meaning.
The collective plays a 360 degree role of the recording studio, indie label, booking agent, publishing, and management providing different opportunities to artists in order to help build local musicians’ following and repertoire.
“One of the ways we support our artists and partners,” Wilks says “is to curate live events and shows. Anything from small private parties, large public street fairs and corporate events. Haku developed a multi-artist New Yearsʻ Eve show for the Four Seasons Ko ʻOlina. The ultimate artist collaboration, of course, was the Hawaiian Lullaby album.”
Released in 2019, the Hawaiian Lullaby album by Haku Collective is a compilation of popular songs and lullabies in both the English and Hawaiian languages. It includes some of the top recording artists from Hawaiʻi such as Kimié Miner, Anuhea, Josh Tatofi, Kalani Pe'a, The Green, DeAndre, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole, Kapena, Paula Fuga, and Imua Garza featuring his mother, Pamela Garza.
Underlying the success of the collective’s formula, the Hawaiian Lullaby album earned a GRAMMY nomination in 2019.
The lullaby album opened up another path for Haku Collective; apparel. After the success of the Hawaiian Lullaby album, Haku Collective expanded to offer a line of products and other accessories to families shopping for their little ones—inspired when one of the founders got firsthand experience in the market.
“I became a full-on consumer of baby products as a mom of two babies under two,” Miner says. “So I wanted to create a line of products that I myself would love to use as a mom. We did a fun collaboration with Coco Moon incorporating lyrics of songs and imagery that coincide with the Hawaiian Lullaby album.”
In addition to onesies, swaddling blankets and quilts, Haku Collective offers adult apparel, beach blankets, accessories, and plans to add more to its inventory.
While Miner and Wilks are weaving more components into Haku Collective, the mission for the group remains the same. Whether itʻs a swaddling blanket or a song, Haku Collective’s main goal is to share the rich culture and diverse music of Hawaiʻi with a global market.
“Our Hawaiian people have always been innovators. We are the wayfinders of a new generation, yet our songs carry the echoes of our ancestors.” Miner says. “Haku will share the legacy of music in Hawai’i with the world.”