On The Record: DJ Malakai
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Making it big in the music industry and the practice of setting modest goals will never be synonymous in the mind of recording engineer, DJ and entrepreneur Eddie “DJ Malakai” Ward.
Ward, who holds a degree in music business education from Orlando’s Full Sail University an MBA from the University of Phoenix, helps facilitate the needs and dreams of aspiring artists through his Decibel Recording Studios in Kapolei.
“DRS was a vision 15 years ago when I first step foot in my first recording studio as a kid,” said Ward. “Decibel Studios is not just about me. It is about serious music minded people that dream of having a quality, place to create music.”
Ward, a native of Houston, Tex., moved to Oahu in 2002 when he was stationed at Schofield Barracks. He believes a successful run in the music industry is based on 90 percent business and 10 percent talent. Helping aspiring artists reach their full potential is his current goal.
“I have always had the passion to create music,” Ward said. “Music is a universal language.”
Ward has a sincere appreciation for artists who are actively trying to make things happen and takes a particular liking to the courageous, self-driven artist. He shares the same aspirations of just about every MC to ever rep Hawaii and truly believes success outside of the confines of the 808 area code is very attainable. Such beliefs stem from working with local hip-hop artists like Moxx, J. Wiz and Tripple Los, along with island R&B crooner Kaipo Kapua.
“The most enjoyable thing about the Hawaii hip-hop scene is the pure potential that it holds and being able to be a part of a blossoming movement that will be nationally recognized,” he said.
As far as his take on the state of island nightlife, Ward, who hosts and DJs a Wednesday college night party at downtown Honolulu’s The Fix, said recent closures of clubs like Zanzabar and Pipeline Cafe have left a void that has the urban music scene shrinking in size.
“I feel like the DJs do not take enough risk and spin music they feel should be played in the general public,” he said. “I feel like DJs (should) act as liaisons for all genres and should break new records, local and nationally. When I go to the club I hear exactly what I hear on the radio or what another DJ played the night before.”
Of all the hats he wears, Ward considers songwriting and engineering his primary talents. Assisting recording artists’ missions in music while chasing his own personal dreams will forever go hand in hand.
“As a DJ and recording artist in Hawaii, my biggest triumphs are yet to be seen,” he said. “I strive everyday to reach my goals to becoming successful. Failure is not an option, no matter the obstacle.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.