A Chat With Three Time Grammy Winner Daniel Ho

 A Chat With Three Time Grammy Winner Daniel Ho

The ballots are cast, and the nominees for this year's Grammy Award in the Hawaiian Music category have been chosen. The artists (and albums) up for the coveted statue are: Keola Beamer's "Ka Hikina O Ka Hau", Tia Carrere's "Hawaiiana", Raiatea Helm's "Hawaiian Blossom", Cyril Pahinui's "He'eia" and Daniel Ho's "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar".

With two albums in among the five nominated, producer and recording artist Daniel Ho, who already has two Grammy Awards on his Los Angeles mantle, leads the charge this year. We caught up with Daniel just as he arrived back from touring Japan, where he and his fiance Lydia presented a series of slack key guitar clinics. Read on to see the secret of his success, his feelings on the significance of Hawaiian music in a global industry.

B on Hawaii: You consistently have albums nominated for (and winning) Grammy's. How do you stay on top of it?

Daniel Ho, Grammy Award-winning producer: I don't want to take too much credit for having the good fortune of working with these amazing artists. Lydia and I simply try to present them the best way we know how. We're always trying to make better sounding records, take better pictures, do better graphics. That said, in an effort to preserve the essence of the acoustic sound and allow the listener to hear every detail of the voice and guitar, "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" and "Hawaiiana", were mixed and mastered using vintage equalizers and compressors in higher than CD quality resolution.

B on Hawaii: How do you see outside (of Hawaii) influences affecting styles of Hawaiian music? Whether it's stylistic or in just the types that make it in to circulation?

Daniel Ho: I just returned from a month long tour of Japan doing slack key guitar clinics for Yamaha guitars. Were it not for the recent exposure of slack key in the Grammy's, I don't think there would be as much interest in the genre. There is the ongoing argument of the preservation of a tradition versus the evolution of a style. Because I appreciate everything from Bach to [American composer] David Grusin I tend to favor the latter.

B on Hawaii: While Tia Carrere is a very talented performer, "Hawaiiana" is her first Hawaiian album. Do you think her star-power played in to her being selected?

Daniel Ho: Tia can't get a cup of coffee without being approached by some guy trying to be cool-as they struggle to form sentences. She certainly has star power, but even without that, her voice is as beautiful as a voice could be.

"Tia can't get a cup of coffee without being approached by some guy trying to be cool-as they struggle to form sentences."