Page 6 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - August 11 2021
P. 6

       No longer holding back, Stacie Ku‘ulei prepares for the big time with the upcoming release of her “big girl” album — the singer’s first in nearly two decades.
  Hair & Wardrobe: Ralph Malani Makeup: Arthur Wilson
(Above) Caption caption PHOTOGRAPHER CREDIT
 A s elegantly attired as Stacie Ku‘ulei often is these days, there was a time when the songbird wouldn’t be caught dead in
fessed tomboy, who as a youth preferred climbing trees and getting into her share of dust-ups over being in anything clean and exqui- site. She was, after all, raised in the red dirt-packed village of Pākalā on Kaua‘i.
end up throwing them off.” Time eventually softened Ku‘ulei’s hard stance on dresses. She credits much of what she’s since learned about acceptable wardrobes and overall presentation to fellow vocalist Nohelani
The lessons learned then continue to show forth today, and in spectacular fashion. Not only is Ku‘ulei com- fortable with her stylishness and the favorable impression she’s leaving with audiences, but she’s also content with the music she’s finally pro- ducing again.
will be my ‘big girl’ album.” Her grown-up project fea- tures 10 contemporary Ha- waiian and hapa haole tracks, including E ‘Apo Mai Kāua, a ballad about star-crossed lovers; and Rise Up E Ala E, a song written by Andra Day but repackaged “with a Hawaiian twist” courtesy of Kumu Keli‘i Puchalski, who helped the art-
of mine who’s a nurse at Ka- pi‘olani Medical Center had shared with me that when the pandemic first came out, she wasn’t able to go home to her kids, and it killed her that she could only see them from out- side a window. I felt that, and I wanted to do something for her and others.”
 a dress.
Consider the moment
when her former vocal coach, the acclaimed Eunice DeMello, suggested she run for Miss Hawai‘i. With im- ages of snug-fitting sequined outfits in mind, Ku‘ulei need- ed just two words to suc- cinctly sum up her thoughts on the proposal.
“I didn’t see myself as a Miss Hawai‘i type because, to me, they were all very dainty,” Ku‘ulei explains. “Growing up, everybody would look at me and be like, ‘You’re always in T-shirts and jeans! Why aren’t you wearing more dresses?’
“Nohe hired me to work on
“Um, no,” she answered matter-of-factly.
“Even when I was young, I hated the frilly ruffled socks and shiny shoes my mom would put on me, and so I’d
“Actually, that one was more like naughty reggae done when I was young,” confesses a laughing Ku‘ulei. “This one
to recognize our kings and queens, or our first respond- ers and essential workers,” explains the singer/songwrit- er,whoisupforaNāHōkū Hanohano Award this year for her holiday-themed song Christmas Joy. “A good friend
“I’m a psych major, so I love to observe people and talk about their relationships
Putting on a garment of grandeur was frankly un- conscionable to the self-pro-
the Atlantis Navatek cruises years ago, and she really trained me to be an entertain- er,” says Ku‘ulei. “Up until then, I was just a singer. But she took me aside and taught me what type of dresses to wear, how to put on my makeup, how to do my hair, and how to be a true mistress of ceremonies.”
Her eponymous album — which has been a year in the making — is scheduled to drop later this month. It will mark her first project released since 2003’s Stacie, which fea- tured original reggae music.
ist with the translation.
“I really wanted to do a song
As for E ‘Apo Mai Kāua, Ku‘ulei says the song was born out of her penchant for carefully watching others and honestly attempting to under- stand the complexities of their relationships.

   4   5   6   7   8