Chardonnay remembers her grandmother's beautiful voice as she played the ukulele and sang Hawaiian music every morning. Growing up with grandma had influenced Chardonnays’ love for music as well as her strong ohana bond! #music #chardonnay #onstage #sing
Music has always played a role in Chardonnay's life. She remembers hearing stories of her great grandfather gigging in Hawaii. She even has a copy of his music book with notes from his performances. When Chardonnay would visit her mother, who also loved to sing, they would make trips to a local karaoke spot to sing it out. Attending a private Catholic school meant participating in the church choir, which Chardonnay gladly participated in. Although music was a huge influence in her life, education always came first. This was something her father had taught her at a very young age.
Chardonnay didn’t know she could sing, like really sing. She would listen to music on her cassette player while alone in her bedroom. She would practice Whitney Houston songs and attempt to hit every note and run that Whitney did. Eventually mastering the good ole’ Whitney tunes, Chardonnay kept her new found talent all to herself. Low confidence played a role in this yet, it wouldn’t be much longer until the world was able to enjoy the amazing vocals from Chardonnay!
Writing lyrics came easy as Chardonnay needed to express her teenage emotions. In 2009, while attending high-school, the Brown Bags To Stardom, auditions were happening. Chardonnay decided to take a leap and convinced two friends to harmonize on stage with her. Chardonnay sang her original piece Teardrops, placing her as a third place winner!
“There were tons of groups and bands competing in Brown Bags To Stardom, including the now famous, Kolohe Kai! We were just 3 girls with a few mics and a guitarist. It was amazing and to this day, that’s the only trophy I have ever won.” Chardonnay laughed at her response as she continued; “I realized that this is what I wanted to do but, I also had the perception that music doesn’t pay, so I needed my education”.
Music was more of a release for Chardonnay as school remained her focus. From 2009 to 2013, she worked on her Bachelors of Arts in Business at Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. She continued to work hard as a full time employee as well as working on her family's pig farm and on her ultimate goal, her Masters of Business Administration.
It was 2013, Chardonnay was a frustrated college student who longed for a job to advance her career within her degree. After a long day of no luck, she ended up at the bar with a friend. Karaoke night was in full swing and Chardonnay was ready to let it all out. She sang an Adele jam to her heart's content, catching the attention of a scout. This particular scout was looking to coordinate a girls group. Chardonnay was the perfect fit and agreed. Things were beginning to look up!
“When I walked in the studio, Ilona Irvine and Nesian Nine were there; This was a big deal because I'm a huge fan of theirs! I didn’t even know how to play uke, I was faking it. I didn’t know what I was doing but they wanted me to sing for them. Well, I messed up and when I did I said, awww shit, right into the microphone. They were giving me the craziest looks but, I tried to finish strong; Still, I knew that I had messed up.” Chardonnay was so embarrassed by her slip up and mad at the fact that she messed up what could have been a really great thing! She went home, feeling down on herself, and began to mad clean. Unexpectedly, the phone rang, they were interested and wanted Chardonnay to join, Isle Five!
Chardonnay confessed to, “learning so much” during her time with Isle Five. She learned how to manage a music group, communicate with musicians, and how to maneuver the music industry. Although she was now a part of Isle Five, Chardonnay stayed humble to her family pig farm all while continuing her studies to acquire her Masters of Business Administration (which she achieved in 2015).
Playing at popular local bars (as Isle Five) was not enough for Chardonnay. She wanted more, she had a bigger vision and a bigger dream. One night while performing, Chardonnay’s dream walked through the door! Immediately after finishing her set, Chardonnay approached this mysterious yet beautiful human. The duo hit it off, eventually marry, and the rest is history. Chardonnay explained the importance of her wife; “She taught me to believe in myself and to invest in my passion. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today, she is my everything”. Chardonnay gathered her confidence and decided to go solo, separating from Isle Five.
It’s now 2017, Chardonnay is working solo while helping her (soon to be) wife with her business and working on the pig farm. https://www.kapakahigrindz.com/ “I hit the ground running, I wanted to make a statement and I was booking everywhere! My friend, Riya Davis (an extremely talented vocalist from Hawaii), heard that I was going solo. She told me that NomaD needed a background vocalist. This opened so many doors for me! I was fortunate enough to sing at Dionne Warwick's birthday party AND meet my king of island music, Fiji.”
Meeting Fiji was an experience of its own. When Fiji called out Chardonnay’s name, her first instinctive response was, “what’s up Fij Dog...sir”. Surprised that he even knew her name, their conversation continued; “Fiji asked me what my goal was. I told him it was to be noticed by Hawaii’s Finest. He said, be you and things will come, I was floored! Later, Fiji got my number from NomaD and sent us a group text. I was on the way home from work when I was told Fiji wanted me at the studio asap. OMG, Fiji wants ME at the studio, I am ON...THE...WAY”. In 2020, Think Twice By Nomad ft. Chardonnay went NUMBER 1 and remained on the top 5 for a month!
Chardonnay released her first single titled Stranger, which ranked #8 on the iTunes Reggae Charts and the #3 overall jam in New Zealand. Chardonnay described her blessings; “After working with Fiji and releasing Stranger, Hawaii’s Finest asked me to perform. This was a huge thing for me. I made my own merch, offered giveaways, and sold my own tickets. I was the opening act and it...was...epic! Soon after, Hawaii’s Finest offered me a contract. I have been making music with them for 2 years now”.
Chardonnay has a voice you will NEVER forget. You can catch a free and intimate performance by Chardonnay every week on her virtual show, #ChardonnaySunday. #ChardonnaySunday streams every Sunday at 6pm Hawaii time, on Instagram live. You will get to see the one and only perform while supporting local artists. Chardonnay will be available to answer your questions about life and music. In the meantime, Chardonnay admits; “I will continue to shovel pig shit at 6 am every morning and love it”. Until Next Time… Stay Golden Team!
Chardonnay Fun Facts!
1) Chardonnay may not have used her degrees in the field she expected to but, that doesn't mean it wasn’t used. Her degree in business definitely helped with her wife’s business as well as making the right decisions when performance contracts and negotiations were offered.
2) “My goal is to open a clothing line in collaboration with Hawaii's Finest, as well as to work on my first EP.”
3) Stranger, is about the time that Chardonnay met her wife and the impact she has made on Chardonnays life.
4) “I love that I am well rounded. I can sing, work a 9-5, work the food truck, and continue working on the farm; It keeps me humble to my roots.”
5) Stay Home, went viral on TikTok with many of Hawaii’s youth dancing along to Chardonnay’s music.
Advice from Chardonnay!
“When there is an opportunity to pursue your dream, take it and be open to learning as much as you can.”
“Focus on building your confidence and surround yourself with genuine people.”
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