Miner kick-starts her career

Apr. 12, 2013 | 2 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Kimie Miner cites India.Arie as her biggest musical influence. (Courtesy Brooke Dombroski)

Kimie Miner cites India.Arie as her biggest musical influence. (Courtesy Brooke Dombroski)

By Gary Chun / gchun@staradvertiser.com

Singer/songwriter Kimie Miner lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a music career, but she says she’ll always be a Hawaii island girl at heart.

She’s back in Hawaii for a stint reconnecting with fans during an interisland tour in support of her new EP, “To the Sea,” with a show tonight at Stella Blues in Kihei, Maui, and tomorrow at Surfer, the Bar, on the North Shore on Oahu.


With special guests Kaipo Kapua, Imua Garza and Jenn Wright

Where: Surfer, the Bar, Turtle Bay Resort

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $15

Info: 293-6000 or iplaykimie.com (the EP is available in digital form)

Miner recorded five new songs for the EP, which also includes two popular songs from previous compilation albums: “Is This Love” and “Rooted,” featuring Irie Love.

The EP was funded through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com.

“It was such a blessing,” Miner said, calling in last month, shortly after she’d arrived in Hawaii. “I highly recommend (Kickstarter) to any local artist.

“While I’m planning to have a full-length album out by next year, I’m not quite sure if I’ll go back to Kickstarter for help. But I know that between now and then I’ll be doing as much touring and sharing my music as possible.”

MINER, 27, doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love music.

“My earliest memory of really enjoying music is of my dad and I in the parking lot in Sandy Beach, dancing along to Braddah Iz,” she said.

Despite her Japanese first name, Miner is by her account “mainly Hawaiian-Portuguese.” She was named in honor of her mother’s best friend and former business partner, who was tragically killed by a drunken driver.

During intermediate school Miner started writing songs. She was also a member of the ukulele ensemble.

“When I went to Kamehameha, my dad gave me his guitar,” she said. “The first real song that I wrote was ‘Why Can’t We’ when I was 16. That song was on an old album of mine, ‘Distant Traveler,’ that had other songs that I wrote when I was a teen.”

Now, about nine years later, Miner said a lot has changed, although deep down she’s still “the girl playing a guitar on the beach.”

“But now my lyric vocabulary is different,” she said. “I definitely have more of a songwriter mentality.”

Kimie Miner recorded five new songs for her new EP, “To the Sea,” which also includes two popular songs from previous compilation albums: “Is This Love” and “Rooted,” featuring Irie Love.

SHE CITES India.Arie as her biggest musical influence. “I learned every song from her first album, and it’s because of her that I began writing and singing in a style I like to call acoustic soul reggae. I love the way she writes,” Miner said.

“She emphasizes the positive things in life, and I try to do the same in my own way.”

Miner has done music for a living for three years now. She and her manager, Kamehameha Schools classmate Kekoa Kapua, moved to L.A. just as her Kickstarter campaign neared its end, in October.

California was familiar to her, she said: “I went to college at the University of San Diego, and I’ve lived in L.A. before.”

She’s found a few gigs so far, including at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. With L.A. as a home base, Miner said touring throughout the mainland will be more accessible.

“My music will always be rooted in our culture,” she noted. “I am looking forward in developing a different sound, however, and the EP is a transition recording. Songs like ‘Living in the City’ and ‘Haters’ are examples of that new sound that will touch upon other genres.”

‘Sea’ holds appeal for everyone

Singer-songwriter Kimie Miner, known professionally as Kimie, has her musical bases covered with her debut EP. Four songs are in the Jamaican-derivative reggae-pop style popular with “kanakafarians” here. The other three blend mainstream pop and urban elements in ways that appeal to a national audience.

The title song presents Kimie as a soulful and sensitive pop singer who can write memorable lyrics; she adds a touch of Hawaiian culture to it with an untranslated Hawaiian phrase that gradually becomes a refrain. A song titled “Shame on You” also gets some local flavor with her use of a variation of the pidgin term “hala.” Mainlanders unfamiliar with “hala” will get the meaning from the context.

A live horn section and four powerful guest vocalists boost the energy level and emotional intensity on “Haters” as Kimie cuttingly denounces chronically negative people.

Album: “To the Sea” / Artist: Kimie / Label: Kimie Miner Music

Review by John Berger / jberger@staradvertiser.com

  • KEN

    Great article! Lucky to have seen Kimie perform at a club in Redondo Beach, CA a few years ago. Good vibes, and nice interaction with the audience! Been following her music since 2006-2007 via MySpace. Awesome to see how she’s evolved as an artist since then, exploring different genres of music. Such a great songwriter and sweet vocals! Hope she gets to tour with India.Arie one day! Definitely go see her at a show if you get the chance!

  • http://limemediahawaii.com/ AniMatsuri

    Isn’t that her on those local Burger King commercials?