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Stroke of Success

With a sound all her own—and a new self-titled record—the music world tunes in to rising-star artist Kimié Miner.

O‘ahu’s Kimie Miner shows her grace underwater.

With the recent release of her new full-length record—a self-titled effort that earned her a Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts 2016 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award—Hawai‘i songbird Kimié Miner is spreading her wings.

On the brink of broad stardom, the O‘ahu-born artist reveals her roots not by singing her own praises, but those of the islands she still calls home. “I was raised in one of the most beautiful places on Earth,” muses Miner, “so, naturally, I fell in love with the sounds of organic instruments, like the guitar, and soothing melodies like those found in nature. … Hawai‘i created a laid-back, culturally proud environment, as well as a curiosity to navigate and explore the rest of the world. I think that’s reflected in my music.”

If Miner found her sound in her own backyard, she honed it on the road. Recorded mainly in the islands, the singer’s latest leaves, in her words, the “acoustic-driven girl with a guitar” of her youth behind to tread new territory. “This record reflects me coming in to my own,” says Miner, rattling off influences from Sade and Stevie Wonder to Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole and Bob Marley. “I’m grown, and I’ve done a lot of traveling. This record was really about coming back home. It’s a little more self-reflective and intimate.”

It also harks back to Miner’s early forays in songwriting. Her favorite track off the new record is “Lullabies” because, she says, “it’s one of the first songs I ever wrote,” at age 14—“and finally being able to share it feels good.” It also sets the feel-good tone for what is a summer breeze of an album, one with a backyard party-jam flavor finessed with world-music beats, soulful vocals and jazzy horns. All commingles with a production that brings quality attitude to Miner’s island-informed sound.

The singer up-close and personal

At home, Miner performs kanikapila style when she’s not donating her time to kids through nonprofits Mana Maoli and Nā Kama Kai. “I want to leave something of value behind after I’m gone from this world,” says the artist. “I want to leave a legacy for my children and the future generations of Hawai‘i. That’s my ultimate goal with the music I create.”