First Hapa Haole Vocal Contest Winner: Paul Shimomoto

Paul Shimomoto holds an impressive B.A. from the University of Denver, J.D. from Creighton University School of Law, admission into the Hawaiʻi State Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the United States District Court, District of Hawaiʻi and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Upon looking at his credentials, who would have guessed that this practicing corporate attorney from Honolulu is our first ever Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival Vocal Winner? With his cool jazz sound and his laid-back stage presence, it’s no wonder that Paul won the first Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival Vocal Contest.

The Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival is held every year and is put on by PAʻI.  It is a festival to celebrate only Hapa Haole Music.  Hapa Haole Music is a special genre of its own.  Most people associate Hapa Haole Music to the times of “Romantic Hawaiʻi”, however Hapa Haole is much more than that.  Hapa Haole music is a genre that is used by artists to express their love for Hawaiʻi even though the only way to express that love is in English and not Hawaiian.  This year, the Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival will be held on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm at the Hale Koa Lūʻau Garden.

Upon winning the Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival Vocal Competition in 2003, Paul got to record with Hula Records, and in August 2004, he released his first album entitled, “Magic Beside the Sea”.  In that same year, Paul was nominated in the 2004 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for “Most Promising Artist” and “Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year” for his “Magic Beside the Sea” album.  His album was also an entrant for the 2004 Grammy Awards for “Hawaiian Music Album of the Year”.

In 2007, Paul, under his own recording label (Leo Hano Records) released his second album entitled, “Sentimental Alibi” which was an entrant for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album”, “Album of the Year”, and “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical” for the 2009 Grammy Awards.  The same album was also a nominee for “Album of the Year”, “Island Music Album of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, “Male Vocalist of the Year”, and “Engineering, Liner Notes and Graphics” for the 2008 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

October 2010 marked the release of Paul’s third album entitled, “All That Hawaiian Jazz”.  Through this contemporary Hawaiian Jazz genre Paul has delighted audiences in Hawaiʻi and Japan alike.  Paul’s album earned him a nomination for “Best Jazz CD” for the 2010 Hawaii Music Awards.


Listening to Paul’s music is like stepping back in time to the “Romantic Hawaiʻi” that everyone has come to love.  Images of romantic sunsets that turn the sky an array of pinks, sherbets, and magentas, walking hand in hand on the beach while the full Hawaiian moon rises above to dance with stars across the sky, and palm trees that sway to and fro as the scent of salty sea air tickles your nose all dance in your head as you are intoxicated by his nahenahe voice.


Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival Tickets ($20 for adults, $15 for keiki 4-11, FREE for all keiki years 3 and under), as well as all of Paul’s CDs ($15/CD) may be purchased at the PAʻI Arts & Culture Center.  To order your ticket or CD today, please contact us at or call us at 808-237-4555.

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