In the fifth grade, I was moved to tears as I watched my school choir perform (and I immediately signed up to join them). My father was my guitar teacher and offered me his old guitar one lonely summer as I was moving from childhood to being a teenager. While I ended up studying classical guitar for 4 years in college, just like many of you, I initially started learning guitar on my own. That summer break between 8th grade and high school, I stayed inside and pounded that guitar. Sometimes 14 hours at a time. I was so passionated and dedicated, I often forget to eat. After that summer, I devoured everything and anything musical.
Today, much wiser and without the pimples, I am a professional musician, private music instructor, recording producer and engineer, and a business coach to other emerging professional musicians. I opened the doors to Curtis Kamiya Music, LLC seven years ago and, along with my business partner and wife Annie, we operate two businesses that are completely, 100% focused on music and the art of performance - Curtis Kamiya Music, our private music studio in Kaka’ako, and our live performance band Mango Season. I must say - I am pretty damn lucky!
But with that luck also came hard work and dedication to my craft. I struggled through years of figuring out the guitar on my own before it really began to make sense to me. I later augmented all of those years fumbling on my guitar with solid instruction and great mentors - I graduated from Punahou School in 1995 with 7 years of musical training in both guitar and voice, pursued my love for acting and music further at the University of Puget Sound where I earned two BA degrees in Music and Theatre Arts, and finally channeled all this learning and experience into discerning teaching and strategies uniquely geared towards the challenges facing an emerging musician. Thank you for stopping by and I’m honored to be a part of your next musical journey.
”The Big Boss”
When I was six years old, my parents gave me their old, beat-up record player. I began to collect old school Disney records and steal vinyl greats out of my parent’s collection as well like Fleetwood Mac, Ella Fitzgerald, Rickie Lee Jones. I even swiped my grandma’s Tchaikovsky! Every day after school I would steal away to my bedroom to sing at the top of my lungs, twirling around my daybed dreaming up fantastical stories of dreadful kings, swarthy pirates (I grew up in the country so I had a lot of time to kill, a wild imagination, and lots of teddy bear fans). I believed that music was simply magic.
But there was just one problem - I was painfully shy. The kid-who-can’t-let-go-of-her-mom’s-pant-leg kinda shy. And I wouldn’t leave the comfort of my bedroom to perform. As a mezzo-soprano vocalist, I would privately obsess over the performances of Maria Callas and Sarah Brightman, listening to how they elicited master control over their vibrato or projected power into their high notes. I practiced privately for years until slowly my friends and some great teachers pulled me out of my shell and onto the stage. And I blossomed.
Today, I hold a BA degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Puget Sound and a MSW degree from the University of Washington. Although I left the arts behind in the early 2000’s to get what some would consider a “real job” in wealth management, my hiatus from music wasn’t long. I was always performing, practicing, studying and learning my trade. With over 30 years experience as an entertainer (teddy bear audiences count, my friends), 15 years working in operations and marketing, and several years as an entrepreneur, my versatile business savvy and musical knowledge comes in handy as partner and co-owner of Curtis Kamiya Music. My job is to make sure that you have the best experience possible - when you visit our website, come in for private lessons, request help for billing, and so on. I partner with Curtis on creating new programming and building excellent curriculum for you. And I am foremost your musical champion. I am so happy to support you in getting your dreams. Welcome!
After moving back to Hawaii in 2008, Annie and I decided to form the band Mango Season. The band focuses on making sophisticated music with a deep groove and a whisper of Hawaiian influence. The love of vocal harmony and the easy caress of a tropical breeze inform Mango Season's unique blend of island soul / jazz. We released our first full length album called “Flying Home” in 2013.
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