Hawai‘i’s Sonic Exports
The Creative Lab Hawai‘i Music Immersive helps artists realize their full potentials and attain success in the music industry.
Text by: Eunica Escalante
Images by: Megan Spelman
The strumming of a bass guitar broke the silence of the Doris Duke Theatre, followed by the steady pulse of the drums and the plucking of a guitar. Then Isaac Moreno, the musician known as Izik, stepped up to the microphone and hummed an opening note. His voice, deep and soulful, filled the cavernous theater. By the end of the song—a pop-infused rumination on a past romance—Moreno had the crowd under his spell. Comprised of four acts, with a flourish of costume changes in between each, the show, which Izik titled Mimesis, fell somewhere between concert and performance art, and displayed the singer as a charismatic performer whose artistry is bigger than the stages that hold him. Yet, just a year ago, in 2016, the Molokaʻi born and Oʻahu raised artist was far from this stage, gigging nearly every night at a bar or hotel, sometimes even playing two three-hour sets in a row. All of this was done in pursuit of a music career—a dream Moreno has had since the age of 4, when he would match pitch with his mother’s vacuum cleaner. For him and many other Hawaiʻibased artists, Moreno said, this rigorous lineup of gigs seemed to be the only path to success.
Then, at the behest of fellow musician Kimié Miner, Moreno applied for, and was accepted to, the Creative Lab Hawai‘i Music Immersive, a program that aims to set up island musicians for success, teaching them the finer points of topics like songwriting, music licensing, publishing, and intellectual
property protection. Created by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division (CID)—an agency that advocates for and accelerates the growth of Hawai‘i’s creative clusters, including music, film, design, and technology—the Creative Lab Hawai‘i Music Immersive is overseen by program director Charles Brotman, a Nā Hōkū Hanohano and Grammy Award-winning producer and president of the Hawaiʻi Songwriting Festival. “Our community of music and media entrepreneurs need access to decision makers to expand their opportunities to export globally,” says Georja Skinner, chief officer of Creative Industries and founder of Creative Lab Hawai‘i. “The synergies with Hawai‘i Songwriting Festival, and with Charles and Julia Brotman at the helm, provided the rich foundation to grow this vision.”