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Try Wait: Rothman goes from waves to stage
BY GARY CHUN / email@example.com
Noted surfer Makua Rothman had just finished a strenuous training session on the North Shore on Thursday morning, but he still got on the phone to talk about his music, not his wave-riding skills.
The 28-year-old has spent a fair amount of his time writing original music, and an EP of which, “Makanale Road,” was just released in digital form on iTunes last week.
The six songs — including a Hawaiian Christmas standard — are very much in the surfer lifestyle groove; “the ones with the most vibe,” as Rothman described it.
“My family has been forever jamming,” he said. “My grandma, who played in the Kodak Hula Show, taught me to play the ukulele as a kid when I was in town surfing Ala Moana Bowls.”
From backyard jams to the recording studio, Rothman, plus his backing band (all from Ocean Beach in San Diego), have recently done their fair share of gigs of late to help promote the music.
“We recently played the Surfer Poll Awards after-party and the Mauli Ola Foundation benefit with Chevy Metal, both at Turtle Bay, and we just got the opening gig at the Pepper show on Dec. 28 at The Republik,” he said.
Rothman said he’s definitely putting across the “happy vibe jam along the lines of Braddah Iz,” but hopes his music will bring him a level of the notoriety that a fellow North Shore resident, Jack Johnson, has experienced in expanding his audience worldwide, outdoors people or not. His manager, Rick DeVoe, is trying his best to develop that part of Rothman’s career.
Speaking by phone from his office in the coastal beach town of Encinitas in San Diego, DeVoe said he first met Rothman through a mutual friend earlier this year.
“Makua was in California, training and working with his band, and he played me some of his music. As surfers, we obviously connected on that level, but being in music management for about 20 years, I was intrigued with this whole ukulele thing from Makua.
“I told him get back to me when he had written more songs, and to my surprise, about a month later, he did just that, saying ‘Here, I did it, brah.’”
So DeVoe helped Rothman lay out a business plan.
“Number one, we want Makua to become the ambassador of aloha to the world.The first thing to do was to get his published music out like a business card, so that’s what the iTunes release is all about. We’re just starting the process of working radio stations to play his music, then we’ll start courting record labels.
“Makua’s very authentic. He’s the real deal. He’s got such an interesting life. Makua’s an established big-wave surfer, his father (Eddie) is well-known and he’s got some Hawaiian royalty blood on his mom’s side.”
But the proof is in the music. Click here to learn more about Rothman’s EP on iTunes.
Gary Chun is a features reporter at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.