Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kimie Miner is known for her distinct island sound. Coupling reggae and soul to create an aura or vibe takes listeners away with her to that warm, sunny place. Miner has championed the art of staying true to one’s self, saying that “As Hawaiians, we have our roots and our routes. We know who we are, and we take that knowledge with us when we navigate and explore the rest of the world.” This is true of all of Kimie’s beautifully composed rhythms, with lyrics and sounds that have an authenticity to them that only a native Hawaiian like Miner can share with us.
In her latest album, Proud As The Sun — available now, digitally, and for physical release on November 3rd–Kimie has expanded her body of sound, with more beautiful collaborations, but remains true to those island roots. Miner does not limit herself, always pushing the boundaries with other genres that just vibe well together to bring you to an emotionally warm place that can be a calming escape, or on the other hand, a fun vacation in the sun. Kimie took the time to sit with us and discuss this new album, and share her new music video, available now.
Your music has a very rich island sound. As a native Hawaiian, how much of your work is influenced by that Hawaiian culture?
As a Hawaiian, I am conscious of the practical value of music, whose role was key in the passing down of our stories through oral chants and dances. My songs are stories that inspire me to write and sing. Stories about my upbringing in this beautiful paradise as well as stories of a navigator, a traveling wanderer. Songwriting is an expression of my experiences, each album and song a testament to a time in my life, the feelings I longed to express in those moments, the lessons I learned along the way.
You began writing your own music at 14, how supportive was your family during these formative years?
Music was huge in my family. Everyone loved it. We’d always have the radio on. But they just didn’t want to hear me singing loudly over every single song, which I did every single chance I got!
You embarked on your first tour — with reggae star Barrington Levy — while you were just 19 and in college. What was this experience like?
It was life-changing. I thought I was too shy to be on stage and singing my own original music. After this experience, I knew I wanted to pursue this career of writing and performing my own music.
You’ve named several artists who have been a source of inspiration for you. If you had to pick two primary influences, who would they be?
India Arie was a big influence to me in high school as I got more serious about songwriting and playing guitar. She had just released her album Acoustic Soul. I loved her effortless approach to songwriting. Well, it sounded effortless to me at the time. Like she was taking the lyrics straight from the pages of her diary. She had a positive outlook which I admired and believed we needed.
You have a lot of experience collaborating with other artists to really get the sound you’re looking for, is there anyone that you would really love to work with in the future?
Allen Stone, Mark Ronson, Stevie Wonder, Damien, Stephen & Ziggy Marley. Lauryn Hill will always be one of my faves as well.
You have mentioned that a theme of your new album is the strength of women, what has your experience been as a woman working in what is still a mostly male-dominated industry?
When people hear the word strength, most think of it in a physical manner. But what I am referring to, is how a woman’s strength is reflected in everything around her. I have a slightly different approach when creating my albums. I like to nurture my art and all those who participate in the creative process. I believe there’s room for everyone and its not a competition. I love to collaborate and combine unlikely creators together, for instance on this album, I used a producer/ instrumentalist from Hawaii, a horn section from California, a percussionist from Boston who plays West African beats, and a producer from Seattle.
Your audience might not know this, but on top of being a successful artist, you also run your own business—the Haku Collective. How do you find the balance between creating and running a business?
Scheduling and teamwork! I have to schedule in time to do anything! From writing, to working out, to even dinner dates with my boyfriend. I also have far drives to and from home, so I’m able to write and create on the road with voice memos. My team helps me tremendously. We have at least three conference calls a week for businesses to keep us on track and keep our goals met.
What can fans look forward to in your new album?
Uplifting music from a distant traveler who loves her home, her roots and her world, her wings. We’re all global citizens and through music we can relate.
If you could give one piece of advice to other women trying to break into the industry, what would it be?
Build a team around you who believes in and knows your authentic true self!